Lebanon- The Next Weeks

Having listened to Rice today, I would offer my opinion that she knew that Israel would advance across the frontier in massive strength tonight and that she thinks they will largely be on the phase line that will define success for them by the time her talks in Rome are under way.  In that way she expects to be "dealing" with the situation from a position of strength and able to dictate terms.  (In the event the Israeli major advance did not start last night, July 21st.  This is probably related to an Israeli governmental decision process.  We will see)

An Israeli "line" on the Litani River would largely shield western Israel from rocket attacks but would do little for places like Metulla and Qiryat Shmona in the east where the Litani comes close to Metulla.  A further advance northward will probably be necessary in that area and "Voila!" we are back into approximating the old Israeli "Security Zone.

Rice says she believes that crushing Hizballah will at long last trigger the Middle Eastern version of the post Soviet Union "Velvet Revolution" which she believes is "just around the corner."  Naive?  You bet.

Bully The Israelis seem to be even more egregious fantasists operating on the basis of imitation of the kid we all remember from the school yard who announced to you that he was going to beat you (Lebanon) up until you you became his friend.  In this case there is a further refinement in that the bully (Israel) insists that you have to beat your cousin (Hizballah ) up as proof of your sincerity.

The latest newsroom fantasy insists that the Israelis will not have to occupy south Lebanon for long because the Lebanese Army is going to come down to take over the role of excluding the Hizballah (by force) from the area and that various foreign countries will contribute troops to a force to back up the Lebanese Army in keeping Hizballah fighters out of the area (by force). 

If anyone wants to bet any money on either or both of those things happening, I would be interested in discussing terms with you.

Pat Lang

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67 Responses to Lebanon- The Next Weeks

  1. mrsinger says:

    Pat, Just Questions: We cannot expect anything from the UN, but could and would the EU supply a border force that might do the job? Are you getting any estimates of what kind of damage is being done to Hizbullah? From news footage it seems they are alive and well in southern Beirut and on the border.
    Would the IDF, with a massive land invasion, be able to root out Hizbullah on the border? Michael Singer

  2. b says:

    EU supply a border force that might do the job?
    From a European: Why the f… should we?

  3. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Nobody except maybe us will contribute troops to keep HB out of the border area by force.
    Rooting them out is one thing. Keeping them out is another. pl

  4. taters says:

    Dear Col. Lang,
    Thank you for your excellent assessment.

  5. zanzibar says:

    As these political and military situations in the ME get calculated and played out by our esteemed leaders, I read your common sense assesments with much anticipation.
    Thanks for keeping us informed with your nuanced views based on deep experience.

  6. W. Patrick Lang says:

    School of hard knocks. pl

  7. jonst says:

    What the hell are they going to due? Dig up, literally, Saad Haddad, and the SLA?

  8. john in Los Angeles says:

    The IDF is doing exactly what the Hizbollah want — as indeed the United States military has done just what the Sunni and Shia religious militants wanted in Iraq.
    US and Israeli (and such extraregional forces inclined to draw fire on behalf of the Israeli invasion) will be sitting ducks.
    When Israel invades in force I would not at all be surprised to see the Shia Warlords of Iraq declare open season on the US forces in Iraq.
    Iraq and Lebanon are traps in which US and Israeli military are stupidly marching. The IDF and US Forces are fighting a mid twentieth century war against insurgents whose tactics have an almost 100% success rate against Imperial forces — for several thousand years.

  9. ckrantz says:

    It’s scary that a person living in an alternate reality is in charge of US foreign policy. But what happend to the Israelis? I have always seen them as being cold realists when it comes to their own intrests and not belivers in fiction. Now they bhave gone into a situation with no apparent out.

  10. John Howley says:

    I agree we should not discount Israeli hard-headedness too quickly. (By the way, Damascus and Teheran are pretty good chess players, too.)
    Suppose your analysts told you, in Tel Aviv, that Bush planned a Fall Offensive against the Persians (there has been some speculation about this, no?)
    One could expect, in that event, Hizballah would not sit on the sidelines but would respond by attacking Israel. So, it would make sense to pre-empt Hizballah.
    Israel cannot control the actions of its patron (the U.S.) but it can anticipate them.

  11. john says:

    Members of the Israeli Likud and Labor parties share many common points with our neoconservatives. All rely on the realistic application of idealistic policies. Hence all use or advocate the use of military force unilaterally to solve problems-change the reality to fit the ideology or create facts on the ground. They are men of action and disdain those who might suggest reasoned alternatives to shock and awe or merely suggest the possibility of unexpected consequences (such as al-Qaeda, HAMAS, Hizbullah, etc). Who knows, perhaps they (men of action) are right. Iraq is working out well for the neocons, and the southern security zone worked out well for the Israelis from 1982 to 2000. Stay the course. When the (fill in the blank) stand up, we’ll stand down. W’s third war may be just in time for the mid-term elections.

  12. liberalrob says:

    Let’s accept that the present policy, strategy, whatever is doomed to failure. The question that remains is, “what should be the strategy instead?” What can Israel do, short of mass suicide, that would stop Hezbollah from launching rockets and commando raids across the border?
    We all deplore what is happening. Let’s discuss what a winning strategy would be.

  13. JL says:

    Col. Lang,I don’t feel that there is a winning strategy with the powers that are in the White House. President Bush keeps pushing for open elections but without the necessary cultural institutes for it to take hold. After the ground invasion of Lebanon what next?

  14. Dr Slop says:

    Look at the geography and demographics – Israel in 2025 may well not be a Jewish state at all but an authentic pluralist democracy of some sort. The two state “solution” was always fairly farcical – unless you like bantustans, institutionalised squalor and perpetual food aid.

  15. john in Los Angeles says:

    Neither the IDF nor the Neo Cons are “idealists” — this business about invading to create democracies is transparent B.S. The Israelis want a race war against
    Muslims and they’re going to get it. Ditto the neocons. One Persian missile strike across the straight and the spot price of oil goes to $100 a barrel. The U.S. will be able to do precisely nothing about it.
    Israel had 50 years to make the occupied territories a wealthy, prosperous Republic of Palestine. But they did everything they could to subjugate, humiliate and eviscerate the Palestinian political entity.
    The United States – for reasons that we may never understand — rolled all its dice with Israel – in both Dem and Republican administrations.
    And now – what do we have?
    The U.S. can’t supress Anbar province — to say nothing of Iraq.
    No security zone will help Israel — the Arabs will be able to launch missiles from well within neighborhing countries.
    Gaza is a killbox with artillery and amoebic dysentery the weapons of choice.
    China will cut a separate peace with Iran and directly import gas and oil from Iran w/out American oil companies. Unless the Americans wise up, they’ll take the Central Asian ‘Stans as well.
    It was this blog that revealed to me the blindingly obvious notion that if the IDF invades the Hizbullah Shia-Stan, Muqtada al-Sadr can effectively cut the US supply line from Kuwait to Baghdad.
    This will end very badly for the US and Israel — and probably very badly for the Arabs as well

  16. PrchrLady says:

    Thank you Col Lang, for your insight, and mostly for sharing it with us here, as well as on CNN… As usual, you make sense when so many around you do not…
    I pray that you will continue to be available to our Nation when we finally have leaders who will listen and understand, and will really work towards a peaceful solution. Thank you once again for your service. You are one of my heros…

  17. Spooky Pete says:

    The imminent Israeli offensive up through Lebanon must increase tensions with Syria.
    Tensions would be partly caused by an increase in the stream of Lebanese refugees fleeing over into Syria.
    Col Lang do you think the Israeli offensive may trigger some Syrian military or unofficial militia activity against Israeli forces?

  18. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I think that they will probably limit themselves to allowing re-supply to continue to the extent that it can be done by infiltration. pl

  19. Karen M says:

    Col. Lang:
    I just found your site via Larry Johnson’s post at TPMCafe. What a gift! Without cable, I only get to see you on Lehrer’s NewHour.
    Moving past my initial reaction to this invastion as being completely insane, and trying to think constructively…
    My question is about our admin’s arguments against a cease-fire. I seem to recall Rice (but maybe someone else) saying something about how difficult it would be to include Hezbollah in any agreement. Probably, but wouldn’t a more creative mind think about what we have learned in Iraq about the danger of trying to completely eliminate internal parties, and instead try to think of a way to include them sooner, rather than later?
    For example, it is pretty clear that there is going to be a lot of work required to rebuild Lebanon, too. Is it crazy to think that Hezbollah could be negotiated/ recruited into helping with this effort? Their organizational skills should count for something, if only they could be used “for good.” And, at this point, they would likely have more credibility with the Lebanese than anyone else we could (according to recent history) try to put in there. There’s also something to be said for spending the money where it would really count, rather than allowing it to be scooped up by multinational contractors. So, is it a completely nutty idea? (I can’t tell what’s sane any more, after taking in the news.)

  20. ikonoklast says:

    A probably unintended side effect of the “chess game” has been that the Iraqi parliament has finally found an issue they can agree on wholeheartedly:
    “The Iraqi parliament earlier passed a motion *unanimously* condemning the Israeli offensive and urging the U.N. Security Council and Group of Eight leaders meeting in St Petersburg to intervene ‘to stop the … Israeli criminal aggression.'” (my emphasis)
    http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/COL644892.htm (Reuters)
    Maybe positive news for the Iraqis, but problematic for the other players in the region, starting with the US.

  21. King Colbert says:

    “The United States – for reasons that we may never understand — rolled all its dice with Israel – in both Dem and Republican administrations.”
    See this paper entitled “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” by John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen M.Walt of Harvard University for one possible
    reason for the foreign policy stance of the US in the ME.

  22. ali says:

    I see (via Juan Cole) Sistani has issued a Fatwa condemning not just the Israeli attacks on Lebanon but the support of them by DC and London:
    “The oppressions suffered by the nations of the region, among them the Lebanese, will increase the nations’ anger and rage towards the international policies supporting and/or condoning such actions – which will naturally intensify the tension and hinder peace and security throughout the region.”
    No call for Jihad but think about how this plays in Sadr City and Basra. Al Sadr visited Nasarallah a couple of months ago; one wonders what was said.
    A sterner Fatwa issued in Karbala set Iraq into revolt back in 1920. We are headed the same way now only with far less able colonial management.

  23. john in Los Angeles says:

    Stunningly ironic that the United States will now be seen as the oppressor of the Shia — even as it midwifed the rise of the first Shia Arab State in Iraq.
    It is difficult to comprehend the incompetence of the US strategy — so inept that it has left both Sunni and Shia hating us, and only the contempt of the Israelis — who are themselves busy with self-destruction

  24. Babak Makkinejad says:

    john in Los Angeles:
    Not that ironic; reminds of the Lebeanese Civil War which was a war of all against all and saw all sorts of little ironies as you descibed.

  25. jonst says:

    Karen M,
    Other than a few segments(i.e. The Col’s slot or Sy Hersh) a week, and many times NO segments a week, I don’t think you are missing very much.
    I get my news on the web.

  26. Karen M says:

    Thanks, jonst! Still, I could use a bit of levity, via Stewart & Colbert. Instead, I catch snippets of them via C&L.

  27. john in Los Angeles says:

    CHARLIE ROSE: Thank you. Undersecretary for political affairs at the State Department. We`ll come back and we`ll hear from Rami Khouri, who is a Palestinian Jordanian and who is in Amman Jordan and will talk to us by telephone. Thank you again. Back in a moment.
    There`s been a lot of focus on people trying to get out of Lebanon, but there are also people who`re trying to return to their country. One of those is Rami Khouri, editor-at-large of the newspaper the “Daily Star.” He joins me now by phone from Amman, Jordan. Thank you for doing this.
    RAMI KHOURI: My pleasure.
    CHARLIE ROSE: I have two big questions. Number one, do you think the Israelis, if they continue these attacks will be successful in doing great damage if not destroying the capabilities of Hezbollah?
    RAMI KHOURI: I am pretty certain that they will fail in doing that, and the reason I say that is because they`ve tried this three or four times with various groups in Lebanon and failed. Over the last 25 years, they did it with the Fatah guerillas in the late `60s, they did with the PLO in the `70s, they did it with Hezbollah five — 10 years ago. They occupied south Lebanon for almost 20 years. They had free fire zones. They had no- go zones, they had red lines, blue lines, green lines. Killing zones. Interdiction zones; international troops. They tried every possible trick in the book. They even funded an armed – a surrogate army in south Lebanon. Every single thing they have tried, including long-term military occupation, has failed.
    And the reason it has failed is that you cannot provide a military solution to a political problem. And you cannot win with overwhelming military force against a determined guerrilla group fighting for its national sovereignty and its human dignity. This is a lesson that every major military power in the world has learned and the Americans learned it in Vietnam. The Russians in Afghanistan, the French in Algeria, the Americans are learning it again in Iraq. And the Israelis are obviously not learning it over and over and over in Palestine and Lebanon, so it will not succeed. There`s no question about that.
    CHARLIE ROSE: Why do you think the Israelis have not learned the lesson you think they should have?
    RAMI KHOURI: I think Israel fundamentally as a nation has never been able to come to grips with two central notions in its modern history. One is the idea of a viable legitimate Palestinian state, and the other one is with the nature and the identity of Arab national identity, which also includes national identity in Lebanon for the country of Lebanon itself. The Israelis have been so obsessed with the idea of their own security and certainly, you know, rightly so, given their modern and ancient history of being persecuted and subjected to pogroms and holocausts. But they have allowed their over-focus on their security to blind them to the fact that they can never have security if their neighbors don`t have it. And I think this has been an irrational strain in – in modern Zionism. And unfortunately, the irrationality seems to have expanded into the White House now as well.
    CHARLIE ROSE: I`ll come to that in a moment. It seems – because Nick Burns is on our show tonight. It seems to me that the Israelis or I would assume the Israelis will argue that we were prepared to make a giant bargain at Camp David when, first, with Sadat and then later with Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak. It didn`t happen. We were prepared to take – to retreat from and withdraw from Gaza; we were prepared to try to create boundaries by withdrawing. We had plans on the board for withdrawing from the West Bank. But Palestinians could not control — this is not Hezbollah. Palestinians could not control the most extreme elements within their population who continued to assault us across their border.
    RAMI KHOURI: Well, I think that is – that`s a pretty good representation of – of Israeli spin. But it is not an accurate reality of the politics and the nationalism and the forces on the ground in the Middle EaSt.
    The reality is that the Israelis most recently did unilaterally withdraw from south Lebanon and from Gaza, but unilateral withdrawals do not bring about peace if you don`t negotiate the peace settlement that responds to the legitimate – and I stress the word legitimate — needs of both sides. So just pulling out of Gaza, while continuing to expand settlements in the West Bank, assassinating Palestinians, surrounding Gaza, destroying the airport, blockading the seaport, controlling the entry points, suffocating the population, I mean all the things that Israel continued to do to make Gaza unviable made this inevitable.
    So, there was — and the same thing pulling out of south Lebanon certainly solved one part of the problem, which was the direct Israeli occupation, but the occupation of south Lebanon was a function of a wider Palestinian-Israeli and Arab-Israeli conflict that has been going on since 1948.
    There is a solution; there is a diplomatic and peaceful solution that responds to the needs of the Israelis and to the surrounding Arab countries. The Israelis have never attempted that, which is to enter into a peace negotiation that genuinely and legitimately and legally responds to the simultaneous needs of the Arabs and the Israelis. The Israelis have been focused primarily on Israeli security. And it`s understandable from their point of view, but it is not a recipe for a peace treaty.
    And so if they want to — and we`re at the same position again. They keep — I mean, the words they`re using now are surrealistic in terms of repeating what they`ve said so many times before, that they want to destroy Hezbollah`s infrastructure, they want to push them back from the border, they want to make north Israel secure. They said that three or four or five times in the last 20 years and have never been able to achieve it.
    The response has been that the Hamas and Hezbollah and the Iraqis a few years ago developed long-range missiles and just sent them over the security zone. So there is no security in geography or the occupation or the pulverizing your neighbor. The solution is to engage the Lebanese and the Palestinians and the other relevant Arabs — in this case Syria primarily and the Lebanese government– to engage them in a truly comprehensive peace negotiation this takes away the root cause of these problems of the last 30, 40 years, which is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They got close to it at one point at Camp David, but they never really got to the root cause, which was the original cause of the `48 war, the Palestinian refugees, the statelesness of Palestinians.
    CHARLIE ROSE: The right of return and all of that.
    RAMI KHOURI: Well, I didn`t use the word right of return on purpose because it`s a red flag. What I`m talking about is.
    CHARLIE ROSE: The red flag for the Israelis or the red flag for the Palestinians?
    RAMI KHOURI: For the Israelis. It would drive them nuts.
    CHARLIE ROSE: Right, OK.
    RAMI KHOURI: What I`m talking about is U.N. resolutions, legitimate international law, complying with Security Council resolutions.
    I mean, it`s very ironic that Israel and the Bush White House now — and I assume Nick Burns will say this as well — say well, all they want is the implementation of Resolution 1559 of the Security Council.
    CHARLIE ROSE: I`m sure.
    RAMI KHOURI: Well, that`s fine. I accept that. But you can`t choose the Security Council resolutions that you want. If you — and I`m saying let`s apply 1559. Hezbollah is perfectly happy to apply 1559, but only if we apply the other U.N. resolutions, which call for Israel to stop Jude- izing Jerusalem, expanding its settlements, subjugating the Palestinians to a terrible ordeal, annexing the Golan Heights.
    Security Council resolutions are not boxes of cereal on a supermarket shelf, where you choose the ones you like and you leave the ones you don`t like. So what we have never had in this process is a diplomatic negotiation that is based on the principle that the Israelis and the Arabs have identical and simultaneous rights. If we can get to that point — and I think we can — I`m still an optimiSt. There`s not many of us left in this region, but I still think you can negotiate a kind of Arab-Israeli peace that gives the Israelis what they deserve and what they want, which is security and recognition in their own Jewish majority state, but you`ve got to give those same things to the Palestinians and the Lebanese and the Syrians and everybody else.
    CHARLIE ROSE: But let me ask you this. Why do you — because I want to come to more of — put this thing in the context of history which you have been doing, of history in a different way. But you are constantly saying that the Israelis and the Palestinians and the Arabs have to negotiate on an equal basis and understanding the respective rights of each other. And that`s the way you get to a two-state solution. I`m not sure Hezbollah and Hamas wants a two-state solution.
    RAMI KHOURI: Well, my sense is — and unlike American diplomats who don`t even talk to these people, let alone engage them in negotiation, my sense living here and knowing Hezbollah and Hamas and all the other groups for many years, my sense is that these are relatively pragmatic political organizations.
    These guys didn`t exist 20 years ago. Hezbollah and Hamas did not exist 20 years ago. So where did they come from? They didn`t come from the moon. These are political responses to populations that have been degraded and occupied and bombed and killed and humiliated repeatedly by the Israelis, and often with the direct or indirect acquiescence, or, as we see now, the direct support of the United States.
    So my sense that we have to go back to the root. We have to keep going back to the root cause, which is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. If you have a negotiation that responds to the needs of both sides, my own feeling is that Hezbollah and Hamas will be pragmatic and will in the final analysis accept the peace agreement that responds to their needs, their people`s needs, that`s rooted in international law and U.N. resolutions.
    And most importantly, these are political organizations that are accountable to their own people. So if the majority of Palestinians, which is the case, say they were prepared to live with an Israeli state in peace and recognition, Hamas ultimately will accept that. There`s no doubt about it. And they`ve shown some clear signs of this or at least signals about this. But they`re not going to do it unilaterally.
    CHARLIE ROSE: All right. Tom Friedman, a columnist that you know, wrote a piece today — and I`m going to read you the first paragraph, because I have a follow-up question. “Profiles of the Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah always describe him as the most brilliant or strategic Arab player. I beg to differ. When the smoke clears, Nasrallah will be remembered as the most foolhardy Arab leader since Egypt`s Gamal Nasser miscalculated his way into the Six-Day War.” Do you share that view or not?
    RAMI KHOURI: Generally, I don`t share that view, but we really can`t make a verdict. We can`t give a verdict until we see what happens in the current fighting and in the months and years ahead.
    I know Tom Friedman well. He`s a friend. I respect him greatly. I think his analysis of the Middle East for years and years was actually quite incisive and brilliant, but I think he`s actually wrong on this point.
    I think the general tendency in Israel and in the American political establishment is to fundamentally and almost completely misunderstand, misdiagnose the significance of Hezbollah and Hamas and the wider Islamist movements that are now winning elections all over the Middle EaSt. And not just in the Arab world, but in Turkey and Pakistan and other places.
    I think there`s a fundamental misreading of who these people are, what they represent, why they came into being, what they want and what they will agree to negotiate for. And of course, most of the Arab leaders are also making the same mistake.
    I`m not saying that Hezbollah and Hamas are wonderful groups. I have a strong criticisms of some of the things they do. But I think I understand them correctly for what they are, which is an organic, natural response from Arab societies and political cultures and countries and populations that have been repeatedly degraded by Israeli occupations and attacks, and also let down by established Arab political leadership.
    So these groups emerged finally in the last 15 years as very serious, very effective in many cases resistance movements. Remember, these are resistance movements. They`re not proselytizing religious groups. They`re not mainstream political parties. They`re resistance movements that are fighting for their national liberation and their national dignity.
    If they can achieve their goals of liberation, my suspicion is that they will strike a pragmatic deal ultimately and co-exist with Israel, but only if Israel in return gives the Palestinians and the other Arabs, Lebanese, their rights as well. Statehood, security, sovereignty. And that requires solving the original 1948 Palestine refugee issue. You can`t get away from it. It`s the core issue. And because we haven`t solved it over the last 50 years, this is what we`ve ended up.
    CHARLIE ROSE: What is the national liberation that Hezbollah is dedicated to?
    RAMI KHOURI: The liberation of all the territory of Lebanon. They are also…
    CHARLIE ROSE: From whom?
    RAMI KHOURI: From Israel. And they are also committed to having Israel stop other propagations as well.
    Let me just answer the question. There are several things that Hezbollah wants, which I think many other people want. They make to make sure that every inch of Lebanon is liberated, because there are still some territories that are disputed. They want the prisoners that Israel took from Lebanon to be returned. They don`t want Israel to keep threatening Lebanon with overflights and attacks. And they are also in solidarity with other Arabs who are fighting Israel, like Syria, like the Palestinians.
    But I`m saying that my personal sense is that if there is a comprehensive negotiation, that these Islamist groups ultimately will co- exist with an Israeli state. They won`t love it. They won`t be very happy about it perhaps in the first instance, but like the Americans finally came around and accepted what they used to call red China, now they call the People`s Republic of China — people change. People evolve.
    You have to see these groups as political movements. And you have to see their political grievances and their political demands, and respond to those, and not to trump up Israeli spin and propaganda, which unfortunately has permeated the American political establishment.
    CHARLIE ROSE: All right. Having said all of that, and you help us with the context, where do you think Israel`s actions this time — will it be viewed as an historic moment in which Israel overextended itself, and in the act of pursuing Hezbollah destroyed too much of Lebanon and never was able to overcome these events of the last few days?
    RAMI KHOURI: Well, I think Israel has clearly repeated the excessive use of its military force, especially against civilian and infrastructural targets. I mean, when they go around bombing roads and bridges and power plants and civilians and families and trucks, and stuff that is clearly not related to any kind of security threat, I think this is doing what they`ve done before, but they`ve done it in a much more vicious way this time, because the aim is to so pulverize Lebanon that the Lebanese people turn against Hezbollah.
    The reality is that it`s probably not going to work. Now, if they — it`s possible that they might actually be able to hit most of Hezbollah`s capabilities. My guess is that that is not going to happen. Hezbollah has been prepared for this for many years. They have proved themselves over the years to be extremely effective in military resistance and attacking Israel. And you know, here they are eight days after Israel started, and they`re still firing missiles all over northern Israel. The Arab countries collectively were defeated in seven days in 1967. But here you have Hamas and Hezbollah still firing rockets into Israel.
    Some people, of course, will say, well, this is because these guys just want to kill all the Jews. Well, that`s not correct, in my view. I think these guys want to hit back against an Israeli state that has humiliated and occupied them for years and years and has been destroying their countries.
    And it`s no accident that Israel simultaneously now has destroyed civilian airports in Beirut and in Gaza, knocked out power plants and destroyed governments. And one of the reasons that the Lebanese government is so weak and why Hezbollah has become so strong is precisely because for the last 25, 30 years since the late `60s, Israel has been repeatedly bombing and shelling and killing, displacing Lebanese and destroying the national economy, to weaken the Lebanese government so much so that there is no Lebanese government, effectively.
    And people will not live in a vacuum. So you`ve got these resistance movements that have developed and have not only support in their own countries, even though some people, of course, criticize Hezbollah for doing what they did and for triggering this massive Israeli assault, but there`s strong support for Hezbollah in Lebanon.
    More importantly and I think more worryingly for Israel and the U.S. is there`s now much, much stronger public opinion support all over the Arab world for Hezbollah and Hamas. And this is a catastrophe for Israel and particularly for the United States.
    CHARLIE ROSE: Notwithstanding what the Saudis and the Egyptians have said in criticizing the Hezbollah?
    RAMI KHOURI: Well, the Saudi and the Egyptian governments are not fully representative of their people, I would argue. I think these are governments that have mixed credibility at home. And of course, they say these things, and the Jordanian governments and others, because they`re very worried about this expanding wave of Islamist political sentiment. Even through democratic political elections, Islamist groups are winning — Muslim Brothers and Hamas and Ebola — and this terrifies the Saudi and Jordanian and Egyptian and other governments, so this is — of course they`re going to say this. They`re also worried about links now with these groups with Iran.
    So — but I think what the governments of these countries say is not necessarily what the majority of their people think. And this is one of the phenomena that I think people in Israel and the United States have completely misunderstood. The widespread public opinion, support in the Arab countries, as well as many other countries around the world, the support for Hezbollah and Hamas in standing up to Israel and delivering the punishment that they are — I mean, you know, most of the — the top third of Israel, the population of the third of — the northern third of Israel has been living in bomb shelters for the last two or three days. This is not happy sight for Israelis clearly, but for the first time, you have a balance of civilian terror.
    CHARLIE ROSE: Well, they say that`s why they`re trying to wipe out Hezbollah, because Hezbollah has — I`m going on too long, but that`s why they`re trying to wipe out Hezbollah, because Hezbollah has that capability because of its support and encouragement of Syria and Iran whose very missiles it is launching into Israel.
    RAMI KHOURI: Well, the reality is that Hezbollah has developed these capabilities and widespread public support in response to the fact that Israel has been bombing and terrorizing civilians in Lebanon for the last 25 years. I mean, you have to understand the real cause and effect in this situation. We`re at a situation now where for the first time probably since Saddam Hussein lobbed his missiles into Israel in the war back in what was it..
    CHARLIE ROSE: `91.
    RAMI KHOURI: . `91. For the first time, you have widespread fear among civilian populations in northern Israel and possibly in other places in Israel to come.
    I don`t say this with any glee. I say this with great sadness. I mean, this is a tragedy that you have now Lebanese, Palestinians and Israelis all suffering the consequences of this cycle of militarism and barbarism. So this is a cycle that we have to understand it as a war between two different people.
    The Israelis are trying to project this as peace-loving Israel making all these brave, bold gestures, and the Arabs just want to kill it. What happened to the last, you know, 30 years of Israeli occupation and subjugation and killing of Palestinians and Lebanese? Do we just forget about that? We don`t forget about it. History doesn`t work like that. Human nature doesn`t work like that.
    People finally in Palestine and in Lebanon developed resistance movements that stand up to the Israelis and deliver some punishment, even though they`re small pinpricks maybe, a missile here and a kidnapping soldier there. But it has developed a certain amount of deterrence, these two groups have developed a certain amount of deterrence, that I think has driven the Israelis mad. They simply cannot handle this, other than with their military punishment.
    CHARLIE ROSE: OK, Rami, I have to go, but I thank you so much.
    RAMI KHOURI: All right. Glad to talk to you. And I hope you`re well. How is your health?
    CHARLIE ROSE: Much better. Thank you for asking. Much better.
    RAMI KHOURI: All right. Take care of yourself. Bye-bye.
    CHARLIE ROSE: Rami Khouri from Amman, Jordan, who lives in Beirut, where he`s editor at large of “The Daily Star.”

  28. b says:

    Col. Lang. Your CSM pice on supply lines is right on target.
    Bush is pulling a “Pauli” on the US forces in Iraq.
    Well, there they go ….

  29. W. Patrick Lang says:

    You mean Paulus? pl

  30. McGee says:

    John in Los Angeles,
    Thanks for the transcript of the Rami Khouri interview on Charlie Rose – I caught the last half of it that night but hadn’t heard or read the whole interview anywhere. Rami Khouri has long been one of the best-informed and most pragmatic and sensible journalists in the region. What didn’t come across in the transcript was the typical, US media tone of Charlie’s questions – he was clearly taken aback at Rami’s blunt answers and seemed at times to be almost spluttering – but, but, but Hezbollah is BAD – they need to be eliminated, don’t they? – they fire missiles at Israeli civilians, don’t they? – etc., etc.. My sense, anyway.
    Thanks for the post!

  31. john in Los Angeles says:

    Yes – I was at the UN for a decade and it really does feel to me that the US public/media/academia etc. is living in a bit of an alternative universe.
    What they seem most unable to grasp is the simple fact that different people look at the same object and perceive different things.
    There has been such an unsubtle drumbeat of racist, simplistic self-righteousness here. And we have to accept that there is a relationship between AIPAC and the media and the major think tanks and etc. that is in part responsible.
    How many Americans know that Israel killed 30,000 civilians in Lebanon in the 1980s? How many Americans know that at least 500,000 Iraqi children and sick etc. died indirectly as the result of Iraq sanctions?
    How many really understand the hell of Gaza and life under occupation?
    How many understand that we gave Israel our best nuclear technology and that they sold it to the Chinese?
    The answer seems to be that no one here knows this or understands this. And so both Dems and Republicans are left flat-footed, uncomprehending when the rest of the world is revolted by our policies

  32. Dr Slop says:

    Perhaps Casey will get a Field Marshall’s baton – wrapped in the traditional promises of airlift supply and no-retreat-no-surrender-no-cut -and-run orders.

  33. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Anyone got anything about what the Sunni governments ACTUALLY said about Hizballah? pl

  34. Peter vE says:

    I thought I was the only one who has started to look at our army in Iraq in terms of General Paulus. The interdiction points on the supply line are obvious even to a rank civilian like me. When Casey gets the Marshall’s baton, will he be expected to commit suicide insteasd of fleeing?

  35. zanzibar says:

    PL, below maybe something related to your question about what Sunni governments have actually said.
    Faisal press conference
    Comments from Saudis, Egypt and Jordan as the conflict escalated

  36. John Howley says:

    Attacks provoke mixed international reaction
    Thursday 13 July 2006 10:58 AM GMT
    Bush says Lebanon’s government must not be weakened
    The US has reacted to Israel’s attacks on Lebanon by saying Tel Aviv has the right to defend itself, but the action has drawn criticism from Europe and the Arab world.
    Arab anger
    The attacks drew criticism from Arab and Muslim nations, with Saudi Arabia on Thursday blaming “elements” inside Lebanon for the situation, seemingly criticising Hezbollah and Iran.
    “A distinction must be made between legitimate resistance and uncalculated adventures undertaken by elements inside [Lebanon] and those behind them, without recourse to the legal authorities and consulting and co-ordinating with Arab nations,” a statement on the official news agency SPA said.
    Malaysia, the current leader of the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference, condemned Israel and urged other nations to take action.
    Meanwhile, Iran warned Israel against attacking Lebanon’s neighbour Syria.

  37. parvati_roma says:

    Re: “We cannot expect anything from the UN, but could and would the EU supply a border force that might do the job?”
    As it’s not being reported much in the US, here’s the agenda of the international conference to be held in Rome next Wednesday:
    “AGI/REUTERS) – United Nations, Jul 22 – During the international conference on Lebanon next Wednesday in Rome one of the issues on the agenda is the creation of a possible interposition force along the border to Israel. This was reported by UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen who underlined that the meeting’s objective is to elaborate projects to stop military escalation. The Norwegian diplomat explained that the Roman agenda listed topics as how to organise “an interposition force” and whether to “reconfirm” and integrate Unifil forces already on site or rather replace them with a new international presence. UN sources stated that France or Turkey could command such an international force while Italy, Brazil and Greece figure among the countries ready to make troops available.”
    Russia has also said it would consider sending troops for a UN mission.
    From what I’ve read in the European press, what is envisaged is a force with a strong mandate numbering at least 10,000 (current UN mission has observers-only mandate and only 2000 men).

  38. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Do you understand that the force under discussion wouod have to fight? pl

  39. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Col. Lang:
    There is absolutely no chance of a UN force with a mandate to fight Hizbollah.
    What is it for the countries that are going to contribute the troops.
    This must be an EU fantasy.

  40. Dan O'Donnell says:

    ISTM that Israel would not have attacked (and now invaded) Lebanon if the Syrian army was still there in Lebanon. Not that the IDF couldn’t have won a war against the Syrian army, but it would have been expensive in terms of lives and money. So I wonder if part of the goal of the US diplomacy with the Lebanese government and the worldwide PR campaign that pressured Syria and eventually resulted in that army withdrawing was discussed between the US and Israel at the time as the opening gambit in the eventual invasion. The counterpoint of course is that the Israelis were provoked by the killing of eight and the kidnapping of two soldiers, but this response by the Israelis is rather oversized with respect to the instigating incident.

    I know this borders on conspiracy theory, but the pressure on Syria and their withdrawal happened such a short time ago – and was under such intense US pressure – that perhaps the events could be linked. Just a thought…

  41. Dan O'Donnell says:

    Any UN force inserted into Lebanon would probably have to fight the IDF, and would be bloodied. Further, I don’t see any European country willing to risk the political fallout of a fight with Israel and the perceived open defiance of the US will for Israel to have its way with Lebanon and Hezbullah.

  42. W. Patrick Lang says:

    More like a White House/ Olmert/AEI/Wolfowitz fantasy. pl

  43. parvati_roma says:

    “Do you understand that the force under discussion wouod have to fight? pl”
    Yes of course. Probably get fired at by both sides. UN positions have already been fired on 3 times by Israel since it started attacking Lebanon… unfortunately they can’t fire back…yet.

  44. zanzibar says:

    U.S. will give Israel a week to complete offensive
    “On the eve of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s visit to Jerusalem, senior officials believe Israel has an American nod to continue operations against Hezbollah at least until next Sunday.
    Rice will first explore ways with Israel’s leadership to end the crisis and begin to shape a new order in Lebanon. She will return next Sunday to try to implement a cease-fire.”
    Who is calling the shots? Is this a Cheney plan that Israel is carrying out? With rush order deliveries of jet fuel and precision munitions from the US, it seems that the US maybe more deeply involved in the operational decision making than meets the eye.
    And after the week is over Hizballah is very likely still standing and firing rockets while the Lebanese infrastructure is completely devastated. What exactly would the Israelis/Cheneyites have accomplished? What if Hizballah is in no mood for a cease-fire? Or the cease-fire is broken immediately by Katyusha’s landing in Haifa?

  45. parvati_roma says:

    “Further, I don’t see any European country willing to risk the political fallout of a fight with Israel and the perceived open defiance of the US will for Israel to have its way with Lebanon and Hezbullah”.
    Take a look at France.

  46. parvati_roma says:

    French Defense Minister: France Ready to Join in Global Force
    France would be ready to contribute troops to a proposed international force in war-battered Lebanon under certain conditions, Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said Saturday.
    “President (Jacques) Chirac will probably decide that France will participate in an international force that would be formed to ensure an end to hostilities and (promote) stability … provided this is part of an agreement and a number of conditions guaranteeing its effectiveness are met,” she told reporters in Abu Dhabi.
    Alliot-Marie was due to call on French military personnel in Cyprus helping the evacuation of French citizens from Lebanon after ending her visit to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday.
    She held talks with the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy commander in chief of the UAE armed forces, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, as well as with the UAE’s vice president, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed al-Maktoum.
    The proposal for an international stabilization force for Lebanon was made by leaders of the G8 nations at a summit in Russia a week ago, but its composition and mandate remain to be worked out.
    France contributes to a 2,000-strong UN force currently deployed in south Lebanon, which is known as UNIFIL and is led by a French general, but the new force is supposed to be larger and more “robust.”
    Alliot-Marie stressed the need for an end to the fighting in Lebanon, which has been the target of a massive Israeli onslaught since Hizbullah captured two Israeli soldiers on July 12 with the stated aim of swapping them with Lebanese held by Israel.
    The proposed international force is expected to be discussed at a meeting on Lebanon slated for Wednesday in Rome which will be attended by several Western countries, including the United States and France.
    Washington has ruled out participating in the force.

  47. Babak Makkinejad says:

    pravati roma:
    There is nothing in that statement that indicates a fighting force. In fact, the reference to the phony UAE armed forces is an indication of the French being not serious.

  48. Dr Slop says:

    Watch “old Europe” have a go at out-dancing the Bush Administration — foxes versus hedgehog.

  49. parvati_roma says:

    Wait and see. Feeling in Europe – particularly in France and Italy -is very high indeed, and France still has close ties with Lebanon. So does Italy. The whole point of that article is that the previous UN force was/is way too small and its rules of engagement prevent it from being effective. Lesson learned. If Europen countries don’t act, leave Lebanon at Israel’s mercy yet again the chaos in the ME and Muslim world in general will spiral totally out of control. We “live here” – at this point, too dangerous NOT to act.

  50. zanzibar says:

    What do you think this force of French and Italian soldiers will accomplish? Disarm Hizballah? Prevent overflights, incursions and attacks by Israel? The US and Israel will only want removal and disarming of Hizballah militia from southern Lebanon. They will not agree to much more.
    What happens when French & Italian soldiers get killed “accidently” by either IDF or Hizballah militia?

  51. b says:

    @pl – Paulus/Pauli
    Yes, I did mean Paulus, but then the plural may be appropriate.

  52. b says:

    “Who is calling the shots? Is this a Cheney plan that Israel is carrying out? With rush order deliveries of jet fuel and precision munitions from the US, it seems that the US maybe more deeply involved in the operational decision making than meets the eye.
    And after the week is over Hizballah is very likely still standing and firing rockets while the Lebanese infrastructure is completely devastated. What exactly would the Israelis/Cheneyites have accomplished?”
    The plan is of course bigger and the obvious target is Iran. To attack Hezbollah now will relief a bit of pressure from Israels northern front when the air runs on Teheran begin.
    It will not work that way, but then …

  53. ali says:

    I doubt if there will be much enthusiasm for a UN force in Europe. The British are sitting on a ticking bomb in Basra and increasingly hard pressed in Afghanistan. The Germans are a little squeamish about facing up to the Israelis. The French are deeply attached to Lebanon but are not going to play smurf in the KZ between Hezbollah and the IDF. The Italians, the Dutch, the Polish etc… the Girl Guides are more intimidating.
    There is a more obvious solution: the Lebanese invite the Syrians back into the South. The Syrians are not popular but the Israelis have closed the brief window of optimism that was the Cedar revolution. Many of the million displaced Lebanese must be thinking they Syria’s departure has left them defenseless against Israel and at risk at the whim of Hezbollah. The Syrians are the only ones who can reign back Hezbollah and enforce a peace; they have much influence but also a history of lining them up and shooting them when they fail to obey. They are also the only force Hezbollah will accept and even the IDF respects their ability to control a population.

  54. parvati_roma says:

    “I doubt if there will be much enthusiasm for a UN force in Europe. The British are sitting on a ticking bomb in Basra and increasingly hard pressed in Afghanistan. The Germans are a little squeamish about facing up to the Israelis. The French are deeply attached to Lebanon but are not going to play smurf in the KZ between Hezbollah and the IDF. The Italians, the Dutch, the Polish etc… the Girl Guides are more intimidating.”

    European papers are reporting that Israel, which previously strongly opposed the idea, nows says it will accept the presence of an “interposition force” but wants it to be under NATO command. So there’s active haggling going on. Point of Israel wanting NATO under UN mandate is obvious: it gives US some kind of indirect power over the force and rules out Russian troops. But the haggling will continue as non-EU troops will be needed (India Pakistan Brazil…)for numbers.
    European line-up: Brits had said they’re over-extended so unless they change their minds they’re not “in” – they’re heavily involved elsewhere. Germany will stay out and Poland isn’t interested unless paid.
    France and Italy are the countries pushing for intervention backed by the other Mediterranean countries, and have already volunteered forces. Italy is currently withdrawing its last thousand or so from Iraq so should potentially have some 3000 troops available. France isn’t involved in Iraq so should have no problem.
    What happens if we get attacked, take casualties in lebanon? Same as in Iraq and Afghanistan, where we’ve taken plenty – maybe you didn’t notice? We fight to repel attacks, restore control of the area. What we don’t do is raze cities.

  55. parvati_roma says:

    (…) Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Sunday that Israel would agree to the deployment of a multi-national force in Lebanon, and suggested that NATO troops be deployed to lead such a force.
    “Israel’s goal is to see the Lebanese army deployed along the border with Israel, but we understand that we are talking about a weak army and that in the midterm period Israel will have to accept a multinational force,” he said, according to his office.

  56. sophia says:

    “The Israelis seem to be even more egregious fantasists operating on the basis of imitation of the kid we all remember from the school yard who announced to you that he was going to beat you (Lebanon) up until you you became his friend.”
    Israelis don’t want to make friends. They want to hurt Hizbollah.
    Why do they want to hurt Hizbollah? This might provide an answer:
    “This was all the more rational in that for a Shi’a group like Hizbollah, the most immediate enemies within its own society were not Christians, but radical Sunnis of the kind inspired by Saudi Arabia, for whom Shi’a are apostates and polytheists who (as in Iraq, Pakistan and formerly in Afghanistan) can be attacked and killed without compunction. Hence Hizbollah’s hostility to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, including their adoption of the theory of the “clash of civilisations”.
    This tone of tolerance and flexibility did not, however, extend to the discussion of Israel or of Jews in general. The military struggle of Hizbollah against Israel was officially confined to their expulsion from Lebanon and was incomplete only because of Israel’s continued occupation of a small part of southern Lebanon, the Shebaa farms, near the Syrian frontier. Sheikh Qassem, and military commanders of Hizbollah I later met, confirmed that they were helping Hamas and Islamic Jihad inside Israel and Palestine; but they appeared to want to limit their own (at that time sporadic) armed activities to the Shebaa issue.
    However, there was no margin of doubt in the sheikh’s view that Israel was an illegitimate state and that it should be abolished. This position was bolstered, as evident in his book, by the deployment of quotes from the Qu’ran denouncing Jews and calling for a struggle against them.
    I put it to the sheikh that this use of the Islamic tradition, in a context of modern political conflict, was racist, a point he evidently did not accept. An alternative, open and respectful, attitude to Jews can also be derived from other parts of the Islamic tradition, but this, like the racist reading, depends on contemporary political choice.

    The next day I was taken on an intense field-trip by one of the Hizbollah military commanders to the key installations and battlesites of the Lebanese south. Beyond a certain stage, there was no sign of the Lebanese army or police, only Hizbollah roadblocks with the yellow flag of the organisation fluttering above. The Hizbollah flag was also much in evidence at Chateau Beaufort, the Crusader castle long occupied by the Israelis, as it was at Khiam, the abandoned prison used by the South Lebanese Army to detain Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners in terrible conditions. Khiam was abandoned in Israel’s final departure in May 2000, with several thousand SLA taking refuge with their families in Israel.
    Amid all these sites of killing and heroism, and the massed heaps of detonated Israeli military fortifications that dot the south, there was at first sight an air of near-normality, even optimism: in Marjayoun, the Christian district from which many SLA had come, shops and hairdressers were open and people strolled easily in the streets; some of the Hizbollah people were building homes near the frontier. We lunched in an outdoor country cafe by a river, within a short distance of the Israeli lines. “They will never dare to return here”, was the refrain of my militant guide.
    Towards the end of the day, my guides took me a hill overlooking the Israeli frontier, and the town of Metulla. There, I sensed that another perspective, and another future, was equally contained within these seemingly peaceful hills.
    From one roadside vantage-point, they had pointed to the still unresolved Shebaa area to the southeast. As we looked over to this Israeli town, with people clearly visible walking in the streets, the chief guide turned to me with an unambiguous message: “It took us twenty-two years to drive them out of here [Lebanon]”, and it may take us up to forty years to drive them out of there [occupied Palestine]”.
    I long ago decided, in dealing with revolutionaries and with their enemies, in the middle east and elsewhere, to question their motives and sense of reality, but to take seriously what they stated to be their true intentions. Those words, spoken on the hill overlooking Metulla in 2004, were sincerely meant, and carried within them a long history of fighting, sacrifice and killing. In light of recent events, it would be prudent to assume that much more is to come.
    LINK: http://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization/hizbollah_3757.jsp
    Read the whole thing.

  57. ali says:

    “What we don’t do is raze cities.”
    With the US, German and British govenments supporting Israel’s, unpopular depredations, a NATO based force will just be seen as easier meat than the IDF. I doubt they’d last 3 months.
    Peretz should consider that doing the IDF’s heavy lifting is not what Europeans have armies for.
    The Syrians on the other hand do raze cities.

  58. parvati_roma says:

    “With the US, German and British govenments supporting Israel’s…”
    You’re behind the times: UK has semi-switched – now joined UN-EU calls for immediate ceasefire. Yesterday their foreign minister condemned Israel for “collective punishment” excesses.
    “British split with Bush as Israeli tanks roll in
    Minister attacks ‘disproportionate’ raids
    Britain dramatically broke ranks with George Bush last night over the Lebanon crisis, publicly criticising Israel’s military tactics and urging America to ‘understand’ the price being paid by ordinary Lebanese civilians.
    The remarks, made in Beirut by the Foreign Office minister, Kim Howells, were the first public criticism by this country of Israel’s military campaign, and
    placed it at odds with Washington’s strong support
    Britain’s shift came as Israeli tanks and warplanes pounded targets across the border in southern Lebanon yesterday ahead of an imminently expected ground offensive to clear out nearby Hizbollah positions, which have been firing dozens of rockets onto towns and cities inside Israel.
    Downing Street sources said last night that Blair still believed Israel had every right to respond to the missile threat, and held the Shia militia responsible for provoking the crisis by abducting two Israeli soldiers and firing rockets into Israel. But they said they had no quarrel with Howells’s scathing denunciation of Israel’s military tactics.
    Speaking to a BBC reporter before travelling on for talks in Israel, where he will also visit the missile-hit areas of Haifa and meet his Israeli opposite number, Howells said: ‘The destruction of the infrastructure, the death of so many children and so many people: these have not been surgical strikes. If they are chasing Hizbollah, then go for Hizbollah. You don’t go for the entire Lebanese nation.’ The minister added: ‘I very much hope that the Americans understand what’s happening to Lebanon.’
    Germany was at “best” middle of the road- with UK switched, it will now line up with the rest of the EU but with weaker language, make noises of humanitarian deprecation on need for conflict cessation and prevention – but without saying anything VIVIDLY negative about Israels’s doings.
    So in this conflict, the US (plus usual Palau-Marshall Islands appendix) is the one-and-only country that unquestioningly supports Israel.

  59. sophia says:

    So what? It doesn’t matter what people say. It only matters what they do.
    And, I think that the facade of Lebanese unity is cracking.
    “this time Israel did not start the violence, Hezbollah did and they have to make the first step to find a solution.”
    Bob goes on to say:
    ” Does this mean that I support Israel!! Not at all, as I repeatedly said earlier, I condemn all kind of violence, especially when it target civilians, no matter what are the reasons. And Israel methods of using excessive violence, targeting innocent and destroying infrastructure have been one of the reasons, among many others, that we are in this mess that keeps getting messier…”
    He’s critical of Israel but he BLAMES Hizbollah.
    I think there are more of his kind than the media are reporting.

  60. Dan O'Donnell says:

    I long ago decided, in dealing with revolutionaries and with their enemies, in the middle east and elsewhere, to question their motives and sense of reality, but to take seriously what they stated to be their true intentions.

    When Hezbollah declared they wanted their prisoners returned and that’s why they snatched the two Israelis soldiers, perhaps that is exactly what they meant?

  61. zanzibar says:

    “The plan is of course bigger and the obvious target is Iran. To attack Hezbollah now will relief a bit of pressure from Israels northern front when the air runs on Teheran begin.” – b
    As the “air runs” on Teheran begin so will the “land runs” on the US military supply chain running from Kuwait through southern Iraq to Baghdad and points north. PL has posted on the impact of that scenario. Now unless Bush’s faith-based policy disregards completely the 140K US troops in Iraq, it would be sheer nuttiness to escalate into Iran. Now if the polls show a decisive defeat for the Rovian armies in Nov then anything is possible. Note how the Lebanon conflict and the Israeli position has no dissent among the Repubs and Dems, both are in lock step.

  62. sophia says:

    Among other things, such as “As Sheik Nasrallah said in October 2002, “if the Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”

  63. Mary says:

    And with this mess in Lebanon raging, the plight of the Palestinian people has been forgotten. The media that I see, hasn’t been reporting that Israel is still bombing the hell out of Gaza, and has been doing so non-stop for the past month.
    Col. Lang, any thoughts on the current conflict in Gaza?

  64. b says:

    Sophia, I recommend to you this blog entry
    The Making of a Terrorist

  65. ikonoklast says:

    “Anyone got anything about what the Sunni governments ACTUALLY said about Hizballah? pl”
    I had hoped someone could find a translation of the Arab League statement from the summit – or statements, as some sources say there were three issued – but in the absence of that:
    Most news reports from the region play up condemnation of Israel and the futility of the meeting. The censure of Hizballah seems to be restricted to US outlets.
    “The Arab League “condemns the Israeli aggression in Lebanon which contradicts all international law and regulations,” read the final statement …
    The League also stressed “unconditional support for Lebanon and its steadfastness in the face of this brutal aggression which affects civilians and leads to innocent deaths and huge financial and economic losses,” the statement continued.
    On Friday, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak condemned Israeli military aggression in Lebanon but also indirectly criticised Hezbollah for harming Arab interests.
    The leaders warned of the risk of “the region being dragged into ‘adventurism’ that does not serve Arab interests”, according to a joint statement published by the Petra news agency after the leaders met in Cairo.
    Similar language was used earlier by Saudi Arabia, which indirectly accused Hezbollah of “adventurism” in provoking the Israeli onslaught and putting all Arab nations at risk.”

  66. sophia says:

    Read it. A gay Shiite, eh?
    May his tribe increase.

  67. W. Patrick Lang says:

    The Israelis will persist until they destroy the Hamas government. pl

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