Monday, July 31, 2006

Mario Loyola in NRO: Stop the flow of weapons from Syria

The following proposal for resolving the current crisis is preceded by analysis that attempts to show that Hizbullah missile-firing cannot be stopped by current Israeli military action. The real solution, according to Loyola, is to cut off the flow of arms from Syria:
The West must focus on the pivotal role of Syria. It is the exposed bottleneck in the Hezbollah supply chain. Its airports serve as conduits for a steady stream of missiles from Iran. And its factories are churning out many of the missiles now raining down on Israel. And attempts to control the Lebanon-Syria border won’t work. The border is too long, and too porous.

The only thing that has any hope of bringing light to the end of the tunnel is a robust Security Council resolution under Chapter VII that requires Iran to stop supplying weapons to Syria, and requires Syria to stop supplying weapons to Hezbollah. The Council should demand of Syria a transparent accounting of the weapons shipments it has received from Iran, as well as a comprehensive declaration of Syria’s missile production infrastructure, with full details of its inventories and disposition of missiles. Syria must then be required to admit U.N. inspectors at all of its military and civilian airports, as well as its missile production facilities. And finally, the resolution should authorize the use of all necessary means, including the use of force, to enforce its terms.
This proposal is interesting, but it raises an obvious question: what if the UN is unable or unwilling to deliver such action against Syria? And what options would there be for action against Syria that bypasses the UN?

AP: "Ailing Castro gives power to brother"--headline better than story

I let out a very loud "wow" when I read the headline, but the transfer of power is only temporary. I don't think Raul is any better than Fidel, but a permanent transfer of power would be more indicative that Fidel is about to be with Stalin and Mao:
Fidel Castro temporarily relinquished his presidential powers to his brother Raul on Monday night and told Cubans that he had undergone surgery.

The Cuban leader said he had suffered intestinal bleeding, apparently due to stress from recent public appearances in Argentina and Cuba, according to the letter read live on television by his secretary, Carlos Valenciaga.

Castro said that extreme stress "had provoked in me a sharp intestinal crisis with sustained bleeding that obligated me to undergo a complicated surgical procedure."

Castro said he had undergone surgery and was temporarily relinquishing the presidency to his brother and successor Raul, the defense minister.

He said the move was of "a provisional character."

Huffington Post--Multiple posts on the Lebanon War, all of them useless

Deepak Chopra:
We aren't here to make the world evolve. We are here to evolve as individuals and then to spread that influence. In the wisdom tradition of Vedanta, the stream of evolution is known in Sanskrit as Dharma, from a root verb that means 'to uphold.' This gives us a clue how to live: the easiest way for us to grow is to align ourselves with Dharma. We don't have to struggle to grow--that would be unproductive, in fact. The Dharma has always favored non-violence. If we can bring ourselves to a state of non-violence, and connect with others who are doing the same thing, we have done a huge thing to reinforce Dharma.
Mark Levine:
The Arab and larger Muslim worlds are becoming blind with fury and the desire for revenge against an enemy that with Qana will seem even more cruel and heartless. Israel had to know the reaction that would happen if it attacked Qana like this, especially civilian buildings (it has "precision" munitions, so if it was attacking buildings with civilians like this, it wasn't by accident).
Ellis Weiner:
It is not too much to suggest, then, that the Mormon Church is almost as anomalous within “the Christian nation” of the U.S. as is Israel within its Arab and Muslim environs—an observation which leads to the following surprising--and tempting!--suggestion:

The Jews in Israel and the Mormons in the state of Utah should trade places. All Mormons go to Israel. All Jewish Israelis go to Utah.
Peter Laarma, attacking the one reasonable poster:
Israeli spokespeople have been saying that civilians in Southern Lebanon should simply get out of the way, adding that those who remain may be presumed to be assisting Hezbollah.

One variant of this is repeating over and over how Hezbollah shamelessly uses civilians as human shields. The redoubtable Alan Dershowitz, never at a loss to make Israel blameless, has gone furthest in developing the theory of the fake civilian.
Eric Boehlert:"Fox News' Oliver North Questions Whether Israel Bombed Qana"

IRIB discovers word "pogrom"

This item is entitled "Sistani urges ending Lebanon pogrom":
Iraqi leaders, including grand Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Sayed Ali al-Sistani called Monday for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon while women and children demonstrated against the Zionist regime in a Baghdad Shiite neighborhood.

"The international community should put forward an initiative for an immediate ceasefire and an end to this horrible tragedy," said a statement from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf.

"This aggression has reached an unbearable level and patience has run out -- it is no longer possible to stand by with hands tied," Sistani added.
It is interesting to see the Iranian press quoting Sistani, who is likely to be seen as the spiritual leader of any future pro-US government established in Iraq.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

IRIB: "IRI, at climax of power and majesty"

So it's downhill after this?
The Islamic Republic of Iran is today at the climax of power and majesty both internally and externally despite enemies' efforts to keep it backward, said the Intelligence Minister on Saturday.

"Since Iran's growing progress and development is worrisome and hard-to-believe for the enemies, they are making maximum efforts to impede its progress," said Intelligence Minister Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejeie in Zahedan, Sistan-Baluchestan on Saturday.

Addressing a group of provincial officials, Ejeie said Islamic Iran is now in a high position and is shining in the world, including the world of Islam.

He referred to the geographic position and young population as two advantages of Iran, saying the Iranian nation is the most powerful and zealot nation on earth.
Only the state-controlled presses of nightmarishly oppressive countries write like this.
Ejeie defended Iran's nuclear rights and said, "Nuclear technology is an indigenous science for Iranians and no one can deprive them of the right."

Weekly Telegraph: "The tall story we Europeans now tell ourselves about Israel"

The author, Charles Moore, is responding to Tory MP Peter Tapsell's description of Israeli operations in Lebanon as "a war crime grimly reminiscent of the Nazi atrocity on the Jewish quarter in Warsaw":
You could criticise Israel's recent attack for many things. Some argue that it is disproportionate, or too indiscriminate. Others think that it is ill-planned militarily. Others hold that it will give more power to extremists in the Arab world, and will hamper a wider peace settlement. These are all reasonable, though not necessarily correct positions to hold. But European discourse on the subject seems to have been overwhelmed by something else - a narrative, told most powerfully by the way television pictures are selected, that makes Israel out as a senseless, imperialist, mass-murdering, racist bully.

Not only is this analysis wrong - if the Israelis are such imperialists, why did they withdraw from Lebanon for six years, only returning when threatened once again? How many genocidal regimes do you know that have a free press and free elections? - it is also morally imbecilic. It makes no distinction between the tough, sometimes nasty things all countries do when hard-pressed and the profoundly evil intent of some ideologies and regimes. It says nothing about the fanaticism and the immediacy of the threat to Israel. Sir Peter has somehow managed to live on this planet for 75 years without spotting the difference between what Israel is doing in Lebanon and "unlimited war".
Read it all. (Hat Tip: RCP)

SeattlePI: "Shooting suspect was baptized"

I am not complaining too much about this story. It is all newsworthy. The story is pushing the "the guy who just couldn't get things together" angle, and note Haq's reappearance at the Islamic Center two weeks ago.
Those who knew Naveed Haq said Saturday that to them he was an enigma, a puzzle that they wish they could have solved before his deadly rampage in a Seattle Jewish center.

Stunned and saddened by the news, some of Haq's acquaintances recounted many of what they saw as the contradictions of his life.

He held a degree in electrical engineering and was the son of a successful engineer, yet he couldn't keep a regular job. He was smart, creative and skilled as a writer. He recently won an essay contest for a U.S. Institute of Peace scholarship.

Yet Haq was frustrated at his lack of friends and female companionship.He told friends he felt alienated from his own family, in part because his career had disappointed his father and also because he had disavowed Islam last year, converting to Christianity.

Haq had begun studying the Bible, attending weekly men's spiritual group meetings, only to stop coming a few months after his baptism.

He had told the group's leader that he seen too much anger in Islam and that he wanted to find a new beginning in Christianity.

Yet in the midst of his shooting spree in Seattle Friday, he declared himself an angry Muslim.

Acquaintances said he never seemed the fanatic religious extremist he played out on Friday. Instead some think his anger was really directed at problems in his personal and professional life.

"Naveed had the profile of the guy who just couldn't get things together," said Erik Neilsen, a Richland resident who let Haq live with him for three months in 2004. He said he thinks several problems compounded for Haq, and he just exploded . . .

At the Islamic Center of Tri-Cities, a senior member, Muhammad Kaleem Ullah, said that Haq stopped attending regularly after he graduated from Richland High School in 1994. He said Haq would attend off and on while visiting his parents and that he surprised members on a Friday two weeks ago with a visit.
Another SeattlePI story about this incident proclaims: "Interfaith community expresses solidarity." That's nice.

Friday, July 28, 2006

US to send money to Lebanese military?!?!

How do they know the Lebanese Army won't help Hizbullah? From Ha'aretz:
The United States is stepping up its aid to the Lebanese military to help it enforce government sovereignty in southern Lebanon, now the bailiwick of the Hezbollah guerrillas, the State Department said Friday.

Current allocations for the Lebanese are slightly more than $1.5 million, department spokesman Tom Casey said, and the department has notified Congress it wants to send urgently another $10 million.

"What we are trying to do here is finish the work of Resolution 1559," Casey said, speaking of the UN Security Council resolution that rid Lebanon of Syrian troops for the first time in almost 30 years. The resolution also demands the disarming of militias in Lebanon, which meant Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah.

Casey said the United States wants "to make sure that the government of Lebanon does have full sovereignty and control over the complete length of its territory."
The Lebanese Government includes Hizbullah. I understand that there is a significant block of Lebanese people with no love for Hizbullah, but this is extremely reckless. Lebanese government officials have made statements suggesting that the Lebanese Army could join Hizbullah against Israel.

Al-Ahram: "The Iranian lesson"

The "Iranian Lesson" in the eyes of the writer, Salama A Salama, is that nukes equal respect. This essay raises the interesting point that while there is a "Muslim bomb," there is no Arab bomb:
. . . we should learn something from this war, and from the way in which the US is standing behind Israel as it pummels its opponents into obliteration. We should look again at our helplessness and humiliation and ask ourselves how much of our condition can be blamed on the machinations of the world's sole superpower. We should compare our conditions and actions with those of Tehran. Iran has doggedly pushed on with its nuclear programme in the face of fierce US and European opposition. Iran has been cajoled and threatened, offered carrots and sticks, and it refused to listen. Iran refused to trade its nuclear programme for a bag of poisoned sweets. We, on the other hand, buckled at the first temptation. Egypt and other Arab countries gave up their nuclear programmes in the 1970s and 1980s, because we were told to do so or else were frightened in the wake of Chernobyl. Whatever the motives, Arab populations were duped and now have to pay homage to a scientifically and militarily superior Israel.

I don't know how far Iran is from having nuclear weapons. Suffice it to say that whatever progress it has made, it has scared its foes. Iran is standing up to the international forces of evil and terror. Iran is standing up to the US and Israel and because it is doing so has a chance to escape the tragic fate of Lebanon. Had one Arab country, say Egypt, refused to bow to threats and listen to temptations, we would have had nuclear weapons, just as Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea do. And things would have been different in this region. We would not have been watching the rape of Lebanon. We would not have seen the US throwing its weight around the region. We would have had nuclear parity, and with it some respect. The humiliation and helplessness we now feel could have been avoided, had we acted in a timely manner, had we had more foresight and had the strength to stand up for our rights.

Iran saw it all coming and prepared itself. Iran learned the lesson that we had failed to learn and held on to its legitimate rights. Iran has a nuclear programme, one that many of us have criticised. But perhaps Tehran was right all along. Perhaps Egypt and the Gulf states should rethink their position on Iran's nuclear programme. The way things are going, Iran may turn out to be our only friend.

MENL: Imad Mughniyeh killed in July 19th strike?

Mughniyeh is one of the vilest terrorists to ever blemish the face of the Earth. This is very good news if true:
Israeli military intelligence has assessed that Hizbullah's intelligence chief could have been killed in a massive air strike on the movement's headquarters in Lebanon.

Israeli sources said Imad Mughniyeh was believed to have been seriously injured or killed in a July 19 strike on Hizbullah headquarters in Beirut. The sources said Mughniyeh was in Hizbullah's command and control bunker during an Israeli air bombing that damaged the facility.

"There are things we know and things we don't know," an Israeli source said. "We know their top people are out of commission."

The sources said about 12 senior members of Hizbullah attended a meeting at its command headquarters in Beirut's Dahya neighborhood on July 19. They said Israeli F-15I fighters dropped 23 tons of munition that damaged but did not destroy the underground bunker, concealed under a mosque and constructed by Iran.

IRIB: "the world must develop a new United Nations"--hard to argue with that!

Tehran's Friday Prayers Leader, Sayed Ahmad Khatami in his first sermon to thousand of worshipers, called on the faithfull to cherish precious time of Rajab, the month of forgiveness.
Rajab? Something-Av?
Addressing the worshipers in the Tehran University, the Prayers Leader also referred to fasting as a worthy deed in this holy month, invoking a quotation of the Noblest Messenger of Allah Hazrat Muhammad pecae be upon him and his successors.

In his second sermon, Khatami described Hezbollah's resistence in front of the Zionist regime's aggression as an obstacle to usurper regime's will to bring the regional counteries under its reign.

Referring to the West and Zionists' stance regarding the onset of Crusades, Khatami stressed that Hezbollah is defending the whole Islam, adding, "Hezbollah's defence is not a matter of Shiia or Sunni and all of the Muslim countries must defend its resistence."
Crusades references are reminiscent of Al Qaeda.
The Friday Prayers Leader also criticized the silence of international community and UN Security Council, calling them an instrument in the hand of the super powers.

"In order to achieve its rights, the world must develop a new United Nations" he added.

Admiring Iranian nation's spiritual support of Hezbollah's resistence, Khatami called on people to attend the Tuseday (August 1)'s demonstrations to show their allience with the oppressed Lebanese and Palestinian nations.

Khatami told the worshippers that Hezbollah proved the Zionist regime is defeatable and it will soon achieve victory over the fourth modern army in the world (the Zionist army), because it's following a school which enjoys and hails martyrdom.

Commenting on the American officials' statements and conduct, Khatami said, " America desires Middle East to be totaly in its hands for which Hezbollah is an obstacle, consequently they want its disarmament."
More from IRIB, a story which refers to Israel's defeat as something already accomplished, chas veshalom:

Hezbollah stands on its own - Asefi:
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi announced Friday the Islamic Republic of Iran only provides humanitarian, political and diplomatic support for Lebanon's Islamic Resistence Movement, Hezbollah, adding that the Zionist regime would have been defeated sooner if Tehran had given military backing to the popular movement.
I wonder whether Fajr-5 missiles are humanitarian, political, or diplomatic?
Asefi also said that the Zionists-Lebanon conflict had badly damaged the credibility of the UN Security Council, which is unable even to condemn its sbservor's murder by the regime's usurper forces.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran's support to Hezbollah is open humanitarian, political and diplomatic support. We do not have anything hidden," Asefi told IRIB Friday.

"If there was military support, we would have announced it," he said.

"Besides, if there had been military support, the Zionists would have been defeated much sooner. They know this."

"The main question is that why America supports the terrorist regime and its crimes of killing young and old innocent people. They (Americans) are suspects of backing state-sponsored terrorism and they have no right to question us," Asefi said in his interview.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Huffington Post on those bomb-decorating photos

I think this issue was disposed of some time ago:
Maybe the bombs that destroyed the home of the 8-year-old girl in the southern Lebanon village of Ayta Chaeb, quoted by an AP reporter from her hospital bed in Tyre, were autographed by little Israeli girls. Maybe they were decorated with hearts and Stars of David. Maybe they said “from Israel with love.”

The Jerusalem Post confirmed the authenticity of the photos of Israeli children autographing shells destined for Lebanon. More collateral damage: the corruption, the militarization, of the young. The photos, making the rounds online, brought to my mind, in their sweetly innocent horror, pictures from a book called Without Sanctuary. This coffee-table book from hell, published six years ago, is a stunningly graphic compilation of old lynch mob postcards from the American South, some of which showed little white children dressed up in their Sunday best, smiling at the camera while a black man dangled from a tree limb or lamp post several feet away.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Same War?

Israel claimed victory in Hezbollah's southern "capital" yesterday after a battle in Lebanon that uncovered Iranian-made weapons and electronic equipment and left 150 guerrillas dead.

Israeli forces found "war rooms" equipped with Iranian surveillance and eavesdropping gear in Bint Jbail, the main Hezbollah stronghold just inside the border.

"The town is completely controlled by us," an Israeli colonel said.

Caches of weapons were also found in Bint Jbail, Israeli officials said.
Guardian: "The summit fails. War rages":
Israel yesterday suffered its worst day since the Lebanon conflict began when 14 of its soldiers were believed to have been killed in fighting with Hizbullah, a military calamity that could prove to be a turning point in the war

The setback appeared to unnerve Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister. Less than a day after he had vowed to fight Hizbullah to the end, he yesterday spoke for a need for a quick end to the conflict. The Israeli military has been taken by surprise by the ferocity of Hizbullah's resistance and may have to rethink its strategy.

Arutz Sheva: "Hizbullah Used Civilians, Mosques in Attack on IDF"

The truth is starting to come out about the killing of the UN observers:
Hizbullah refused to allow civilians to leave their village and used mosques in their ambush on IDF soldiers at Bint Jbiel Wednesday. Names of the nine fallen soldiers were released. Morale is high.

Hizbullah stored ammunition and weapons in mosques, knowing that the IDF does not attack religious sites. Civilians were not allowed so that Hizbullah could use them as cover. IDF officers said they ordered pilots not to strafe Bint Jbiel in order to spare civilian casualties.

A United Nations peace keeping officer from Canada told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that Hizbullah used the same tactic to draw fire on the UNIFIL post which resulted in the death of four U.N. observers. "This is their favorite trick," he said. "They use the U.N. as shields."

IRIB: "Hezbollah crushes Zionist brigades"

Gotta love those IRIB headlines. Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting is not the most reliable of sources, obviously, but this does reflect the intensity of the current fighting, no doubt:
Lebanese Islamic Resistance Movement Hezbollah on Wednesday engaged in bloody clashes with the Zionist regime's forces and repelled their military attempts around the Lebanese border village of Bint Jbeil.

A Hezbollah statement said heavy exchanges are ongoing between the heroic Mujahedeen of the Islamic Resistance and the Israeli enemy forces which are trying to advance from Tallet Masoud on the southwestern outskirts of Bint Jbeil.

"There are also heavy exchanges around Aitarun, Marun al-Ras and Bint Jbeil," to the southeast of the town, it said.

Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah rejected the regime's claims that it had taken control of Bint Jbeil.

"They do not control Bint Jbeil. All the city of Bint Jbeil is still in the hands of the resistance," he said.

Zionist regime forces conceded to the reports, adding its forces are trying to rescue Zionist soldiers entangled in Bint Jbeil village.

Meanwhile, special forces of Hezbollah Wednesday arrested forty spies of the Zionist regime around Beirut. The arrest took place after Hezbollah announced that the Netaniya port will be the next target of the movement's resistance missiles.

Netaniya port city needs missiles with double range of the missiles hitting Haifa.

The announcement brought a heavy state of alert to Tel Aviv few miles away from Netaniya.

According to reports released from Zionist regime army's censor office, 13 Zionists soldiers have been killed during Wednesday clashes.
Here is Ha'aretz on the fighting in Bint Jbeil:
Some 30 Israel Defense Forces soldiers were wounded Wednesday in fierce gun battles with Hezbollah in the southern Lebanese town of Bint Jbail.

The IDF later successfully retrieved its wounded, even as the heavy clashes continued.

The troops became involved in close-quarter fighting with Hezbollah guerillas in the early hours of Wednesday, despite taking control of the town a day earlier. The fighting has been going on since . . .

On Tuesday, IDF infantry and armored corps soldiers surrounded the Hezbollah stronghold, but decided against seizing the entire town.

Military officials said Golani Brigade infantry troops initially surrounded the village Tuesday, imposed a closure and took some houses on the outskirts.

Eight IDF soldiers were lightly wounded in fighting in the area early Tuesday and seven of them were evacuated to hospitals in Israel. Fifteen soldiers remain hospitalized in Nahariya from earlier battles with Hezbollah.
Here is Ha'aretz on the "spy" story. (h/t: Meryl Yourish)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

IRIB: "Iranian Jews condemn Zionist regime"

A different article with the exact same title appeared on July 10th.
The association of Jews in Iran's southern city of Shiraz on Monday condemned Zionists' crimes in attacking the defenseless Lebanese and Palestinian civilians.

In a statement, a copy of which was made available to IRNA on Monday, the Jews said, "we Iranian Jews, like our compatriots voice hatred and resentment against the crimes committed in the region, southern Lebanon and the Palestinian occupied lands, condemning such actions."

The Jews hoped for an end to all wars, bloodshed and invasions in the world and for the restoration of peace and calm instead.
You have to wonder if condemning Israel is a kind of ritual that is constantly being forced on Iranian Jews.

Libya almost had nukes

From Middle East Newsline:
For the first time, Libya has acknowledged the extent of its former secret nuclear program.

Libyan ruler Moammar Khaddafy said its nuclear program advanced to the point where Tripoli nearly produced a nuclear weapon. Khaddafy did not elaborate.

"It is true that Libya came close to building a nuclear bomb," Khaddafy was quoted by the official Libyan news agency on Monday. "This is no longer a secret."
We have a limited amount of time to win the War on Terror.

Eugene Robinson on the Lebanon War

The Washington Post does it again. I've deleted all but the key parts of Robinson's editorial:
. . . disproportionate . . . indiscriminate . . . cleansing southern Lebanon of its civilian population . . .
I read the whole editorial several times, trying to locate anything else of interest, but that's about it.

IRNA: New horizons in invective: Israel "infectious gland"

Silver-tongued Mahmoud speaks:
Iran's visiting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here at a gathering of the Iranians residing in Turkmenistan's Capital at al-Zahra Mosque, "the UN Security Council is mainly concerned about ensuring the Zionist regime's security." He added, "Upon hearing the slightest criticism against the Zionist regime they issue dozens of resolutions, but now, thirteen days after that regime's massive attack against Lebanon using most fatal weapons they even refrain from asking for a truce!"

Pointing out that the Security Council is a means at big powers' hands, he said, "These countries are merely after securing their own interests, forgetting all about the prestige, respect, and rights of the human beings, that are falling on dusts of the rubble of this war in their blood with the passage of each new day."

He added, "Resorting to most advanced weapons, they are trying to exert their political hegemony over the entire region, and to sell as much weapons to the regional countries as possible."

The IRI President said, "They have been busy looting the regional nations for sixty years resorting to the pretext of World War II crimes."

Ahmadinejad added, "By the establishment of an illegitimate, fake regime called Israel in the region they try to halt the process of all other countries' scientific and economic development and advancement, on the pretext of ensuring that regimes's security."

He added, "They implanted an infectious gland in the heart of the Middle East so that the regional nations would not taste a day's length of peace and stability."
What is an "infectious gland" anyway?

IRIB: "Zionists face great economy loss"

Iran gloats:
The Zionist regime's economy has slowed down in the past 13 days due to the resistance of Lebanese Islamic Resistance Movement, Hezbollah, a Mideast analyst said on Tuesday.

Ruyvaran added that the Zionist regime has witnessed a great economic loss in various parts including oil refineries, petrochemical factories, and harbors.

"Moreover, the regime has also faced huge social problems," he asserted.

"More that half a million people are living in the Zionist shelters which has mounted pressure over the regime," the analyst noted.
Is that a new name for bomb shelters?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Some war-related excerpts

Richard Cohen--"A Proportionate Response is Madness":
The dire consequences of proportionality are so clear that it makes you wonder if it is a fig leaf for anti-Israel sentiment in general. Anyone who knows anything about the Middle East knows that proportionality is madness. For Israel, a small country within reach, as we are finding out, of a missile launched from any enemy's back yard, proportionality is not only inapplicable, it is suicide. The last thing it needs is a war of attrition. It is not good enough to take out this or that missile battery. It is necessary to re-establish deterrence: You slap me, I will punch out your lights.

Dennis Prager--"Israel's War Separates Decent Left From Indecent Left":
Amos Oz and James Carroll are men of the Left who have been tested and passed the most clarifying moral litmus test of our time -- Israel's fight for existence against the primitives, fanatics and sadists in Hezbollah and Hamas and elsewhere in the Arab/Muslim world who wish to destroy it. Anyone on the Left who cannot see this is either bad, a useful idiot for Islamic terrorists, anti-Semitic or all three. There is no other explanation for morally condemning Israel's war on Hezbollah.

Judeosphere--" We apologize for the inconvenience":
It's official. In the United States, it is now considered legitimate discourse to term Israel "a mistake."

First, Richard Cohen got the ball rolling with his Washington Post editorial. Then, last week on C-Span, Steve Scully was interviewing Congressman Steve Chabot, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. As they were discussing the war between Israel and Hezbollah, Scully asked Chabot whether "after all things considered, looking in hindsight," was it "a mistake to create Israel in that part of the world?"

And now, New York Magazine has just published an article by Kurt Anderson, titled "Truly Inconvenient Truths."
The blogging cliche applies to each of these--read it all.

Cuba "Book Ban"

Today somehow ended up being Cuba Day here at Judeopundit. From the BBC:
A judge has temporarily barred Miami schools from banning a children's book about Cuba from libraries.

US District Judge Alan S Gold ruled in favour of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida (ACLU), which wanted to keep the book, A Visit to Cuba.

Last month, the Miami-Dade school board voted to remove the book from libraries after a parent complained it was too positive about life under Fidel Castro.

The ruling may keep the book on shelves until the case goes to trial.

The school board had removed all 24 books in the series, dealing with children living around the world.

The Miami-Dade Student Government Association and the ACLU said removing the book was violated students' constitutional right of access to information under the First Amendment.

"By totally banning the Cuba books and the rest of the series, the school board is in fact prohibiting even the voluntary consideration of the themes contained in the books by students at their leisure," said Judge Gold.

"This goes to the heart of the First Amendment issue," he said.

Judge Gold gave the school until the end of the day to put the books it had removed from the shelves back in the library.

Juan Amador Rodriguez, the parent who had complained about the book, said he was surprised and disappointed at the judge's decision.

"The book has errors. It has errors of omission, omission about the reality of the country," Mr Amador said.
At first glance this is a muddled ruling. Obviously there are books which are protected by the First Amendment which are nevertheless inappropriate for school libraries. What if the school board had acted to remove copies of "My Awakening" by David Duke? Freedom of speech and of the press relates to the ability to publish and circulate books in the world at large. Children don't have the full rights of adults and school boards are supposed to make decisions governing school systems.

Of course, in my mind pro-Castro propaganda and the writings of David Duke are similarly beyond the pale. In some people's minds, evidently in Judge Gold's, a ban on a pro-Castro children's book is analogous to a ban on the New York Times. To even characterize the school board's action as a "ban," as the BBC story does, is to confer implied respectability on pro-Castro literature.

That's what it comes down to, and somehow this should not pit a school board against a judge. Let parents, teachers, and voters--by means of school boards--decide what is and isn't appropriate.

US to lose oil to Cuba?

It is bad enough that we are not drilling in ANWR. This is worse. From Newsmax:
With Congress deadlocked over allowing oil drilling in presently restricted areas of the Gulf of Mexico, communist Cuba is already drilling for oil 60 miles off the coast of Florida.

Republicans in Congress have tried repeatedly in the past decade to open up the outer continental shelf to exploration. There are an estimated 45 billion barrels in oil reserves and 232 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves in banned drilling areas of the Gulf, and Florida's waters hold the promise of major energy finds.

They have been strenuously opposed by Florida and environmental-minded legislators from both parties. Florida's powerful tourism and booming real estate industries fear that oil spills could hurt their business.

Meanwhile Cuba "is exploring in its half of the 90-mile-wide Straits of Florida within the internationally recognized boundary as well as in deep-water areas of the Gulf of Mexico,” the Washington Times reports.

Two Canadian companies are presently pumping more than 19,000 barrels of crude oil each day from fields in the straits about 90 miles from Key West, and a Spanish company has announced an oil strike in deep-water areas of the same region, according to the National Ocean Industries Association . . .
Can you guess what comes next?
"Since pools of oil do not respect international boundaries, it is almost certainly true that Canada and Cuba will be accessing oil that could otherwise be developed by and for the benefit of Americans."

JTA: Non-peace Plan

In the coming days you can expect to see a number of Arab peace "plans" and "proposals" that include capitulations to Hizbullah demands. This plan calls for Israel to "give up the Shebaa Farms"!
Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan reportedly are putting together a proposal for ending the Israeli-Lebanese crisis.
The London-based newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported Monday that the three influential Arab countries want Israel to end its Lebanese offensive in exchange for the disbanding of Hezbollah.

Under the reported proposal, which is expected to be submitted at a Rome conference on the crisis Wednesday, Israel also would give up the Shebaa Farms area of the Golan Heights and end overflights of Lebanon, and the Lebanese army would deploy along the border instead of Hezbollah.

Asharq al-Awsat said such a resolution could pave the way for an exchange of prisoners and a possible non-belligerency pact between Israel and Lebanon.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Is he soon going to be with Yasser, Hafez, and Joseph Vissarionovich?

I guess he was starved for attention. From the AP:
Saddam Hussein was hospitalized Sunday on the 17th day of a hunger strike, the chief prosecutor in his trial said.

Jaafar al-Moussawi said he visited the prison Sunday where Saddam and the seven other co-defendants were being held and was told that the ex-president's health "is unstable because of the hunger strike."

"We took him to the hospital and he is being currently fed by a tube," al-Moussawi told The Associated Press. He refused to identify the hospital.

Asked if Saddam's health had improved, al-Moussawi replied: "No, it is not stable yet."

And the moonbats seethe . . .

James Wolcott:
The war crimes of the United States compound by the minute, the hour, the day. I predict that George Bush, upon leaving office, will be the most despised president in American history. He will have his core support, the clotted, stunted brains that collect at sites like and Powerline, but he will enjoy no Reaganesque orange sunset afterglow (or Nixonian self-rehabilitation), so deep, lasting, and tragic is the damage he's done, a damage abetted by a craven, corrupt political class and a press that even now, as the full dimensions of the disaster unfold before us, is unable to sound alarm, so accustomed as they've become to their role as sponges and clever snots. History will not forgive Bush or the United States, nor should it, for raising and destroying the hopes of the Iraqi people, and presiding over the dissolution of their nation into a failed state.
Paul Craig Roberts:
Muslim genocide in one form or another is the professed goal of the neoconservatives who have total control over the Bush administration. Neocon godfather Norman Podhoretz has called for World War IV (in neocon thinking WW III was the Cold War) to overthrow Islam in the Middle East, deracinate the Islamic religion and turn it into a formalized, secular ritual . . .

The complicity of the American public in these heinous crimes will damn America for all time in history.
Jonathan Cook:
The true reasons for these deaths are concealed from credulous observers by Israel's use of Orwellian language. When it says it is destroying the "infrastructure of terror," Israel means it is crushing all Arab resistance to its territorial ambitions in the region. The "infrastructure" includes most Arab men, women and children because they continue to support – against Israel's wishes – their peoples' rights to self-determination without interference from the Israeli army.

Mehr News: "A rogue state goes on a rampage"

This is a more polished and comprehensive propaganda piece than most of what has come out of the Iranian press so far. The whole article is extremely interesting, with lots of borrowing from Western leftists, but the following is especially notable since it seems to take the new approach of threatening Jews, as distinct from Israelis:
The Israeli rampage this time will also intensify Arab and Muslim antagonism towards Israel, Israelis, and even Jews. Since the British-initiated Balfour Declaration of 1917 increased the tempo of Zionist colonization of Palestine, Arab and Muslim antipathy towards Jews has been on the rise. It reached a crescendo with the creation of Israel in 1948. Since then, the insolence and arrogance with which Israel has sustained and expanded its power and territory has generated even more anger and hatred towards Zionists and Jews among Muslims everywhere. With the latest act of aggression -- the disproportionate use of force is so blatant -- Muslim-Jewish/Zionist relations may have deteriorated to a point of no return.
And what does it mean to be at "a point of no return"? If I were an Iranian Jew, I would be trying my best to get out of the country.

Arutz Sheva: "BBC Admits Many Lebanese Casualties are Terrorists"

As far as the BBC admission part goes, I read this story and come up a little short. The idea seems to hang on the phrase "difficult to quantify." It would be nice to have a link to whatever BBC story this is talking about. Nevertheless, this raises an important point: the numbers we keep hearing about "civilian casualties" may (probably?) include many terrorists:
The British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) has admitted that many of the victims of Israeli retaliation in Lebanon are terrorists and not innocent civilians. A BBC reporter said he saw Hizbullah terrorists using a private home and added, "It is difficult to quantify who is a terrorist and who is a civilian."

Media reports have emphasized that Israeli air strikes have killed more than 350 Lebanese civilians, prompting accusations that the IDF is carrying out "collective punishment" on the country.
(Hat Tip:

Early Sunday Links

Haveil Havalim 79 is up!

Alan Dershowitz: "The predictable condemners"

Mark Steyn: "Failure to solve Palestinian question empowers Iran"

Binyamin Netanyahu: "No Cease-Fire" (h/t: RCP)

Sever Plocker: "Jenin massacre syndrome" (h/t: LGF)

Cross-Currents: "Anti-Zionism Equals Anti-Semitism"

Youssef Ibrahim: "The Hyenas and Maggots Who Feed Off Our World"

(No longer "early") Sunday Links Continued:

Amir Taheri: "God's army has plans to run the whole Middle East" (h/t: LGF)

Judeosphere: "Summer Daze"

Got a letter this mornin', how do you reckon it read?

IRNA, the Islamic Republic News Agency, has a lot of predictable attacks on Israel today, but also the news that Ahmadinejad has sent another of his wacky letters to world leaders, this one to Jacques Chirac:

"Asefi: Ahmadinejad's letter to Chirac different from 2 previous ones"
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi here Sunday confirmed that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has sent a letter to the French President Jacques Chirac, adding that its content is different from his letters to the US president and German chancellor.

Speaking to domestic and foreign reporters in this week's briefing session, he said that Ahmadinejad's letter was submitted to Chirac by Iran's new Ambassador to Paris Ali Ahani on the sidelines of a meeting in which he presented his credentials.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman said that Ahmadinejad's letter deals with issues of significance.

In response to a question about the aim of such letters, he said that Iran intends to convey its views on world problems to the heads of other states in a documented and tangible way.
More from IRNA:

President urges Islamic states to adopt anti-Zionist stance
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday urged all Islamic states to defend rights of the oppressed Palestinian and Lebanese peoples and adopt a stance vis-a-vis crimes of the Zionist regime.

The president made the remark while addressing the 23rd nationwide meeting of heads of education bureaus.

Pointing to stance adopted by different countries on crimes of the Zionist regime against innocent civilians in Palestine and Lebanon, he said, "Certain states and the Europeans in particular adopted good stance and condemned the crimes against humanity." "But certain other indifferent states had no good stand and even were happy with the event (Israeli aggressions)."

"The world arrogance set up a base for itself in the region through ignorance of regional nation to threaten and plunder them," he said in reference to establishment of the occupying regime of Israel in the Middle East 50 years ago.

"But today the occupying regime, which exists just for threat, massacre and aggressions on peoples, reaches its end (demolition).

Referring to brave resistance of the Iranian nation against enemies in different fields, he stated that enemies failed to defeat the Iranian nation and their aggression on Lebanon was to hide the failure.

President: Zionists triggered their extinction by Lebanon attack
The Zionists made their worst decision and triggered their extinction by attacking Lebanon, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here Sunday.

The president made the remark while addressing the 23rd nationwide meeting of heads of education bureaus.

"The Zionist regime's attack on Lebanon was a pre-planned scheme to save the regime.

"The usurper Zionists thought attack on Lebanon will create a new atmosphere for them in the region.

"They (the Zionists) have committed a big mistake," said Ahmadinejad.
Related: Dhimmi Watch has two interesting items about Iran today.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Linkim Motza'ei Shabbos 7/22/06

BTB: "Real News"

Sandbox: "Kramer on Israel vs. Hezbollah"

Alan Dershowitz: "'Civilian Casualty'? It Depends" (Captain's Quarters responds.) (Juan Cole loses it.)

Ralph Peters: "Can Israel win? Not the way it's fighting" (h/t: Real Clear Politics)

Elder of Ziyon: "Mosques used to store weapons. But don't touch the Korans!"

Abu Aardvark: "Al-Jazeera's war coverage"

City of Brass: "the attempt to create a 'muslim daily kos' has failed"

The Hashmonean: "Special delivery please: Israel requests ‘Iran Busters’"

IRIB: "War will end in favor of Lebanese"

Friday, July 21, 2006

A balanced assessment from Juan Cole

At his worst, Cole approaches Ward Churchill's level. Here he really hits bottom:
So let's get this straight. The Israelis warn the small town Shiites of the south to flee their own homes and go hundreds of miles away (and live on what? in what?). But then they intensely bombing them, making it impossible for them to flee. The Lebanese have awoken to find themselves cockroaches.

I repeat, this is nothing less than an ethnic cleansing of the Shiites of southern Lebanon, an assault on an entire civilian population's way of life. Aside from ecology, it is no different from what Saddam Hussein did to the Marsh Arabs of southern Iraq, and the Israelis are doing it for exactly the same sorts of reasons that Saddam did.

The economy of downtown Beirut has been murdered by the Israelis.
Just think: Cole was considered for a faculty position at Yale. (Hat Tip: Mere Rhetoric)

Update: Jewlicious makes the following great point, not in response to Cole particularly, but putting things into perspective:
Those are leaflets being dropped by the “disproportionate and indiscriminate” IDF warning residents of S. Lebanon villages to evacuate. Of course, Hizbullah fighters can also read which means that this advance warning to civilians puts IDF soldiers in greater jeopardy. Gosh, how disproportionate and indiscriminate.

Arutz Sheva: Nasrallah to use dirty bombs?

If this happens, it will really illustrate the folly of past and contemplated future withdrawals:
Unlike leaders of other terror groups, Nasrallah is known for speaking in plain language and following up on his threats soon after they are made. Just hours after threatening to bombard Haifa last week, Katyusha rockets began raining on Israel’s northernmost metropolis.

With regard to additional surprises, London's MI6 reports that Hizbullah may be planning to fire "dirty bombs" with spent nuclear rods enclosed in the nose cones of rockets, according to WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein. Click here to listen to Klein explain the dirty bomb threat on
I don't think the radioactivity unleashed from a dirty bomb represents anything remotely close to the threat posed by a real nuclear weapon, but it would be an incredible step to take for a proxy of Iran. I wonder what Israel's actual anti-missile capability is at the moment. (Hat Tip: BTB)

Der Spiegel: "The full text of [Ahmadinejad's] letter will not be published."

Nothing surprising, evidently, in the letter itself:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government has dismissed a letter from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The missive contains no references to Tehran's nuclear program or the current conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. But there are "unacceptable" remarks about Israel's and the Holocaust.

Iran's leader had sent a 10-page letter to the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday. It contains "many claims that are not acceptable to us, in particular about Israel, the state of Israel's right to exist and the Holocaust," government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said on Friday in Berlin. In the past, Ahmadinejad has made comments in which he labelled the Nazi Holocaust a myth and called for the destruction of the state of Israel. "Our position on these questions is known," Wilhelm said, noting that Merkel has repeatedly identified Israel's right to exist as a cornerstone of German policy and that "it is in no way acceptable to us to question it."

Ahamdinejad's letter says nothing about the ongoing international dispute over Iran's nuclear program. Nor does it state the Iranian president's position on the current conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, Wilhelm said.

The letter does, however, expresse Ahmadinejad's strong interest in "cooperation" with Germany, according to Wilhelm, who refered to the diplomatic offer that the five members of the UN Security Council and Germany have made to help resolve the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program. The diplomatic offer consists in a package of incentives drawn up to persuade Tehran to suspend its uranium enrichment program. Wilhelm said the cooperation desired by Ahmadinejad would be possible only if Tehran meets the conditions outlined in the diplomatic offer -- most importantly, the imposition of a long-term moratorium on uranium enrichment.

Wilhelm explained that Ahmadinejad's letter was translated, analyzed and "carefully evaluated." The full text of the letter will not be published.
Why not? It isn't newsworthy? It might make Iran look bad? This is an extremely annoying development.
Asked whether Merkel intends to reply to the letter, Wilhelm said: "The German government does not have the intention of entering into correspondence with the Iranian president."
These letters should be replied to. Letter-writing is a very stupid move from Ahmedinejad and his letters provide a ready-made opportunity to make the case for Western civilization and call attention to Iran's misdeeds.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Late Thursday War Round-up

City of Brass responds to this diary at Daily Kos.

Abu Aardvark: "Power Ploy or Spot the Setup"

Fouad Ajami at Opinion Journal: "Hostage to Hezbollah"

Lazer Beams: "A Ceasefire with Hashem"

Elder of Ziyon 24-hour Tzedakah Matching Challenge

Seraphic Secret: "The Evil Call for Peace"

Daled Amos: "The Difference Between Bolton and Annan"

AbbaGav: "What is the virtue of a proportional response?"

The Thought Mill: "Anti-Semitism In Guardian"

(North) Korean News: "U.S. Termed Ringleader of State-sponsored Terrorism"

I was wondering when the Juche Gazette would take notice of current events in the Middle East. The article is careful to frame this in terms of Israel and the Palestinians. The word "Lebanon," not to mention "Hizbullah," does not occur in the article despite the reference to "the grave situation prevailing in the Mideast":
The United States is the ringleader of state-sponsored terrorism. Rodong Sinmun Wednesday observes this in a signed article accusing it of defending Israel in its state-sponsored terrorism against Palestine under the motto of "anti-terrorism". The article says:

Israel's military invasion against Palestine was an inevitable product of the double-dealing policy now being pursued by the U.S. under the pretext of "anti-terrorism".

Israel's state-sponsored terrorism against Palestine would have been unthinkable without the U.S. backing and patronage.

It is the U.S. Mideast policy to help Israel boost its position in the region and thus retain its grip on it. By exercising its influence on the Mideast issue the U.S. seeks to expand the sphere of its influence on the region and create conditions favorable for using Israel as a shock brigade for carrying out its strategy to dominate it.

The U.S. has always stood by Israel in the Mideast issue while putting pressure on Palestine, instructing it to do this or that under the pretext of "aid." It is the demand of the U.S. that Palestine lay down arms, recognize Israel and submit to its fate.

The U.S., while acting a "mediator" of Mideast peace, took much pain to make sure that a Palestinian government that might join hands with Israel emerges in Palestine. However, its hope was snuffed out. As Hamas, a hard-lined military outfit of Palestine, took power, the U.S. resorted to a sinister trick.

The U.S. has worked hard overtly and covertly to bring down Hamas by branding it as "a terrorist organization" though it came to power through a democratic election.
Our Songun friends are no sillier than any other leftist attempting to make this point. It is almost as if Hamas did not exist before it won an election.
The U.S. has supported and protected its allies and other followers in their actions against independence and peace, applying double standards over a series of issues including "human rights issue." But it has put blatant pressure, sanctions and threat and blackmail upon those countries incurring its displeasure. This is clearly proven once again by the grave situation prevailing in the Mideast.

Some related items in today's Korean News:

Anniversary of Diplomatic Ties between DPRK and Syria Marked:
Muhammad Adib Al Hani, charge d' affaires ad interim of Syria here, hosted a reception Tuesday on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the DPRK and Syria.
Songun Politics Praised:
The North American Committee against Zionism and Imperialism posted a photo of President Kim Il Sung standing together with General Secretary Kim Jong Il and special write-ups praising the Songun politics on its Internet homepage "Songun Korea". The homepage in an article entitled "Springboard from which to make leap forward in building great prosperous powerful nation" noted that Kim Jong Il more dynamically pursued the independent Songun politics in the period of stern ordeals, foiling the imperialists' moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and defending socialism.
Have a Juche day.

BBC: "Q&A: Mid-East war crimes?"

A recent statement from UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour has not gone unnoticed in the blogosphere. The inevitable BBC article has the charming title "UN warning on Mid-East war crimes." Now the BBC has a supplemental article from its "World Affairs correspondent," Paul Reynolds, in the form of questions and answers.
What international law applies in this conflict?

Although this is not a war between states, and only Israel is a party to the Geneva Conventions, it is generally reckoned that the conventions and other humanitarian law should apply, and that in any case what is known as "Common Article 3" of the 1949 Conventions, which outlaw attacks on civilians, should be followed.

Strictly speaking this article covers an internal conflict where one party is not the government but again most lawyers say it should apply in this case. Its main provision aims at protecting civilians. "Persons taking no active part in the hostilities... shall in all cases be treated humanely," it says.
Did they mean to write "does not cover"? This is very sloppy writing, but it goes with the sloppy moralizing.
Is Israel committing war crimes by causing civilian casualties?

The 1949 Geneva Conventions aimed to end attacks purely or mainly against civilians, a tactic used heavily in World War II. Article 51 of the First Protocol to the 1949 agreements states: "The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack."

Article 52 adds: "Attacks shall be limited strictly to military objectives..."

Therefore, there is a war crime if civilians are specifically attacked as civilians. However, it is different if they are killed as a result of a strike against a military or a "dual-use" target.

Precautions to minimise casualties should be taken and one argument is about whether such precautions have been sufficient.
Nobody on the anti-Israel side of this argument ever gives any criteria for whether "precautions" are "sufficient" or not. We live in a time when there is no excuse for failing to distinguish normal warfare from the wanton targeting of civilians. The recent Mumbai bombings killed or mortally wounded over 200 civilians, not in several days, but in about 10 minutes.
What about "dual-use" targets?

This is a more complex area in which the target might have dual use. For example, are airports, roads, bridges and power stations military targets or are they civilian? And what about houses and apartments claimed by the attacking side to be used by fighters yet with civilians in or near them?

Article 52 tried to resolve this: "Military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action..."

Precautions should be taken. And if there is doubt, the decision should be that the target is civilian.

The question is whether the target is making an "effective" military contribution. If it is a justified attack, then the killing of civilians as a result is not a war crime. However, there might be a case if it can be shown that the attack in fact became principally or largely one in which civilians turned out to be the targets and that the attacker should have known that.
And the whole question dissolves into vague goo. It isn't such a complex issue. "Are airports, roads, bridges and power stations military targets or are they civilian?" he asks. A person who cannot see the military application of an airport, a road, or a bridge is beyond hope.
What about Hezbollah's attacks on Israel?

Hezbollah is sending rockets into Israeli populated areas without accurate guidance systems and is therefore reckoned to be attacking civilians. According to Human Rights Watch: "Deliberately attacking civilians is in all circumstances prohibited and a war crime."
This question is of very little interest, but we try to be thorough here at the BBC.
And Hezbollah's capture of the two Israeli soldiers?

The "taking of hostages" is prohibited under Common Article 3.
Not to mention ordinary morality.
What defines "proportionality"?
This is a key question. Plan to be underwhelmed by its treatment here.
International law recognises that a state cannot take unlimited action in response to some incident. In the 19th Century, the British tipped an American boat, the "Caroline", over the Niagara Falls as they said it was helping Canadian rebels. It was subsequently agreed that retaliation was permissible but had its limits. In another case, in 1928, a tribunal held that German retaliation against some Portuguese troops for opening fire on them by mistake had been disproportionate.

In this case, the issue is whether Israel's actions following the capture of its soldiers were justified by their scale and tactics.
And what would be some criteria for determining that? The left doesn't care.
What is Israel's response?

An Israeli official said: "We feel that proportionality should be judged in terms of the threat we face. This is not just an issue of the kidnappings. Hezbollah has a huge arsenal and has fired 1,000 missiles at us. We are acting in self-defence.

"We are targeting only military objectives, including transport facilities that Hezbollah can use, but you have to remember that Hezbollah often hides in civilian areas. We sent flyers and gave other warnings to civilians to leave before our attacks.

And the BBC's Hezbollah's reaction?

Hezbollah has argued that its initial raid was to capture the Israeli soldiers to be bargained for and that it has retaliated with rockets because of strikes against Lebanon and its civilians. The Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said: "When the Zionists behave like there are no rules and no red lines and no limits to the confrontation, it is our right to behave in the same way."
Hizbollah opened up another front in Israel's war against its ally Hamas. All the rocket and missile attacks in the last year are part of the over-all picture.
What has the UN Human Rights Commissioner said?

The Commissioner, Louise Arbour, has raised the possibility of prosecution. "The scale of killings in the region, and their predictability, could engage the personal criminal responsibility of those involved, particularly those in a position of command and control," she said.

"International humanitarian law is clear on the supreme obligations to protect civilians during hostilities.

"Indiscriminate shelling of cities constitutes a foreseeable and unacceptable targeting of civilians.

"Similarly, the bombardment of sites with alleged innocent civilians is unjustifiable."
The quote as it appeared in the earlier BBC story that this BBC story supplements was "Similarly, the bombardment of sites with alleged military significance, but resulting invariably in the killing of innocent civilians, is unjustifiable." Sloppy.
Does this mean that there could be a war crimes trial?

That would not be easy. Israel is not a party to the International Criminal Court and nor is Hezbollah. There would have to be a separate procedure agreed by the UN.
"Agreed to by the UN." Kofi Annan could be the judge!
Has the International Committee of the Red Cross spoken?
Just what I was about to ask! Is that question-and-answer format getting to be a bit limiting, Paul?
Yes. The Head of ICRC Operations, Pierre Kraehenbuehl said: "The civilian population is bearing an extremely heavy burden and consequences of the military action that is under way.

"The high number of civilian casualties and the extensive damage to essential public infrastructure does raise, in our view, serious questions regarding the respect of the principle of proportionality in the conduct of hostilities."
Tikkun Olam states:
I have stated a number of times here that I believe that at some point in the future both IDF officers and Arab militant leaders should face international justice for their crimes against humanity.
The BBC's kind of guy!

Further thought: Send pizza to an IDF war criminal!

Lebanese Army to the rescue!

LGF points out that this would be a "big mistake." From
The Lebanese Minister of Defense warned Israel Thursday that if IDF ground forces are sent into southern Lebanon, Lebanese troops will fight along with the Hizbullah against Israel.
This development also sheds some light on Hizbullah's position in Lebanon over-all. There are undoubtedly Lebanese who hate Hizbullah and who are powerless to do anything about the war, but Hizbullah did not achieve its current strength and role in the government without the acquiescence of the rest of the country.

IRIB: Ahmadinejad writes to Angela Merkel

This should prove very interesting. Ahmadinejad has already indicated that he plans to follow up his letter to President Bush with letters to other world leaders. The obvious question is whether he had enough sense to avoid his holocaust theories. The content of the letter will be available in time, I'm sure.
A letter from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the German chancellor Angela Merkel was handed over to a German embassy official in Tehran on Wednesday.

A report released by the Foreign Ministry media department said that in the absence of the German ambassador to Tehran, the letter was submitted to the German charge d'affaires in his meeting with Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Late Wednesday War Links

Dershowitz issues a challenge, which provokes a non-response.

Israel Matzav: " IDF tells South Lebanese to evacuate northward; Hezbullah trying to force them to stay"

Boing Boing: "Audio: Beirut musician/blogger records improv to bombs falling"

Steven Plaut in Arutz Sheva: "Why the Katyushas Are Falling" (h/t: BTB)

SerandEz: "Israel Drops 23 Tons of Explosives on Hizbollah Leaders?"

The Hashmonean: "All Hail the Bureaucrats"

Captain's Quarters: "How Deeply Are Iran And Syria Involved In Lebanon?"

neo-neocon: "Terrorists and the nations that harbor them" "New web games: Take out Nasrallah"

Dar Al-hayat Talks Sense

Very interesting. We get one paragraph of overblown excoriation of Israel and then actually quite a lot of common sense. The title is "Putting an End to this Catastrophe."
Israeli revenge is horrendous. It may only be described as severe and radical collective punishment. In the crushing confrontation that is taking place, the Jewish State shows an instinctive inclination to regard its people as the super human.

What is more horrifying is the act that has awakened this inclination and that Israel can really take Lebanon 20 years back, as it had threatened to do.
That was the obligatory Israel-bashing. Now look at what comes next:
The fact is that Hezbollah has been 'reading the situation intelligently', as some commentators are in the habit of saying. But the quantitative accumulation of its intelligence has led to a qualitative leap toward stupidity. Now, finding a reasonable way out is the party's only chance to preserve what remains of the virtues ascribed to it; it is also the only means to maintain what is left of Lebanon's infrastructure.

Has Hezbollah actually agreed to the deployment of the Lebanese army in The South, as those who interpreted the recent Cabinet meeting believe? Would it accept the Lebanese government as an umbrella for a settlement, akin to what happened in Beirut in 1982 when the militants put themselves under the canopy of what was called at the time the Republic of Saeb Salam in Beirut? Or will Hezbollah continue to depend on the missiles it launches into northern Israel, indifferent to the mass destruction of the country and to itself?
Good questions.
It should be noted that the war that was triggered by the kidnapping of the two Israeli soldiers is a tragedy which the overwhelming majority of the Lebanese people hates and finds repulsive.

Politically and nationally, it is difficult to say that turning Lebanon into a scorched land for the benefit of an Iranian-Syrian project is a praiseworthy effort that enjoys popular approval.

Economically, it is also hard to say that causing the destruction of the infrastructure and ruining the summer tourist season encourages the support of the masses; especially since Hezbollah has its own economy that is independent from Lebanon's, and is not affected by the economic situation in the country.

On the military level, it is difficult to convince the majority of the Lebanese that the rockets fired into northern Israel on the one hand and the ruinous disaster that is striking Lebanon on the other, manifests an equal balance of power. Consequently, it is difficult to hope for an Arab or international initiative that could bridge the huge gap between the military capabilities of the belligerents.

Finally, we could add that Hezbollah symbolizes a cultural element that is, for various reasons, totally unattractive to most Lebanese. It would be no exaggeration to say that the Shiite intellectuals themselves constitute a majority of those who are averse to the cultural model provided by the party.

All this cannot be made up for by enthusiastic, adolescent cries when the country is on the verge of devastation. The situation incessantly clamors for putting an end to this adventure called 'protecting ourselves from Israel'. It is hoped that putting an end to this adventure, which must take place as soon as possible, will help put the needed pressure on Israel to stop its brutal campaign.
I'm not happy about the use of the word "brutal" in this context, but as for all the middle paragraphs, I hope someone is paying attention.

IRIB: "Nations' rage on verge of eruption"

Ahmadinejad's speeches often include vague threatening references to something which is about to happen "soon." I often wonder if it involves Iran's nuclear program:
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Tuesday referring to the crimes of the Zionist regime in the region said that the volcano of the rage of nations facing the tyranny of the arrogant powers is on the verge of eruption.

Speaking at the 8th gathering of the nationwide university and higher institute officials as well as members of Basij organization's scientific groups in Razavi Khorasan of Mashhad province, he said that the present conditions are quite abnormal and the scenario of aggression is about to end.

"The Zionists themselves have realized that they have launched a risky move and are aware that the flame of the fury of the regional states will set them ablaze," he added.

Stressing that the enemies of Muslim nations are approaching the end of the road and are about to drown, the president said that for this reason they have subjected Muslim nations to their rage and hatred.

"The day on which the regional people will rejoice will definitely come soon and the world is standing on the threshold of great development and the Muslims are expected to overcome their aggressive enemies," said the president Ahmadinejad addressing the Zionist regime as well as their supporters proposed, "Just as you created such a situation you had better put an end to it yourself."
I often think that Iran's behavior with a nuclear-tipped ICBM, chas veshalom, would be like Hizbullah's behavior with one of its upgraded missiles: get it and fire it. Sorry to offer such a depressing thought. There is, G-d willing, still time to stop Iran.

Suggested Chants for Counter-Protesters

Yesterday reports of a pro-Hizbullah demonstration in San Francisco outside the Israeli Consulate appeared at various blogs. The chants reportedly included the following:
Black, red, brown, white!
We support Hezbollah's fight!
We support Hezbollah's fight!
We support Hezbollah's fight!
We support Hezbollah's fight!
Black, red, green, blue!
Black, red, green, blue!
Black, red, green, blue!
Black, red, green, blue!
We support Hamas too!
We support Hamas too!
We support Hamas too!
We support Hamas too!
It is conceivable that chants of this sort will occur again, and some of us might even find ourselves in the role of counter-protesters. Therefore I am suggesting the following counter-chants:

Four, three, two, one--they're a fifth column!

One, two, three, fo'--send those guys to Git-mo!

Osama clones, Osama clones--FBI, tap their phones!

If anyone wants to suggest other counter-chants, feel free to comment.

Hizbullah kills two Arab children in Israel

Somehow I don't think we are going to see photos of these children at the MPAC-UK site:
Two brothers, three year-old Muhammad Taluzi and nine-year-old Rabiya Taluzi, were killed on Wednesday evening when several Katyusha rockets fell on the Arab Israeli town of Nazareth.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Do you know Iran has its own Hizbullah?

From Reuters:
Iran's Hizbollah, which claims links to the Lebanese group of the same name, said on Tuesday it stood ready to attack Israeli and U.S. interests worldwide.

"We have 2,000 volunteers who have registered since last year," said Iranian Hizbollah's spokesman Mojtaba Bigdeli, speaking by telephone from the central seminary city of Qom.

"They have been trained and they can become fully armed. We are ready to dispatch them to every corner of the world to jeopardise Israel and America's interests. We are only waiting for the Supreme Leader's green light to take action. If America wants to ignite World War Three ... we welcome it," he said.

Iranian religious organisations have made great public show of recruiting volunteers for "martyrdom-seeking operations" in recent years, usually threatening U.S. interests in case of any attack against the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme.

But there is no record of an Iranian volunteer from these recruitment campaigns taking part in an attack.
It's the thought that counts. (Hat Tip: Vos iz Neias)

Those lovable humanitarians at Hizbullah

The IDF has found that Hizbullah is preventing civilians from leaving villages in southern Lebanon. Roadblocks have been set up outside some of the villages to prevent residents from leaving, while in other villages Hizbullah is preventing UN representatives from entering, who are trying to help residents leave. In two villages, exchanges of fire between residents and Hizbullah have broken out. (Hanan Greenberg)
This isn't surprising at all. Without civilian deaths to blame on Israel, Hizbullah's ability to hypnotize Guardian editorialists and other useful idiots will significantly diminish. (Hat Tip: Meryl Yourish)