Monday, July 31, 2006

Israel's cabinet votes to increase offensive and deploy reserves..while the French and Iranian foreign ministers hold a secret meeting in Beirut

Looks like your friend FF called this in advance.

In spite of all the noises about what would have been at best a temporary `ceasefire', the Israeli government appears to have come to its senses. The security cabinet voted unanimously to deploy the 30,000 Israeli reserves who were called up yesterday and widen the offensive against Hezbolah.

This move came after Israel's unilateral 48 hour ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid into Lebanon was answered by Hezbollah rocket fire into Israel and the shelling of an Israeli tank.

"The war will end when the threat to the Israeli people ends and the kidnapped soldiers are returned. And we will win." Olmert made this declaration to an audience of mayors, rabbis and civic leaders of the beseiged northern Israeli towns today, July 31.

Addressing the Knesset Monday, July 31,Defence Minister Amir Peretz said, "A truce now would let the extremists raise their heads anew."

Perhaps, now, having seen that a small, selective use of boots on the ground and an overreliance on airpower was not the way to win, Israel's leaders may be ready to commit to the major offensive General Dan Halutz wanted from the beginning and let the IDF win this war.

In Beirut, Lebanese officials said Lebanon would accept nothing but an unconditional immediate Israeli ceasefire before any further discussions. At this point, I'm sure that's fine with the Israelis.

Also in Beirut, there was a very interesting behind the scenes meeting between Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki and French foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy in Beirut Monday.

Remember that the proposed `multinational force' that will supposedly police the borders and disarm Hezbollah will consist mostly of French troops..and the draft language for the proposed ceasefire came from France....most likely after the French conferred with Hezbollah, with whom France has very close relations.

The French are not only opening up face to face contact with Tehran and Hezbollah to negotiate their conditions for accepting a multinational force, ..but are directly acknowledging Iran’s part in the Lebanon war and Iran's control of Hezbollah, something Iran has consistently denied.

Aside from the multinational force and any ceasefire that results, Iran's activity in Iraq and Iran's nuclear weapons program are also likely a part of negotiations.

Iran may very well try to barter a decrease in the violent activity of the Iran trained and armed Shiite militias in Iraq and a ceasefire in Lebanon for concessions on its nuclear weapons program.

Iran is reportedly considering arming Hezbollah with missiles that are heavier and of longer range than the Katyusha rockets and which can be fired from the Lebanon-Syria border..which of course would widen the regional conflict and bring Israel into open war with Iran.

They may be hoping to leverage this threat and the threat of increased violence in Iraq in exchange for non-interference with Iran's nuclear program.

The next week or so will be interesting.

Stay tuned...

Just a couple of words for Mel Gibson

As my ol' pal Ian, the bartender at one of my favorite watering holes used to say...`Laddie, when the liquor's in, the truth comes out.'

I don't kick somebody when he's down, I wish Mel a swift recovery and the non-specific apology issued through his PR spokesman is fine..but if Braveheart really wants to make amends, I recommend he put in a call to Governator Arnold Schwartznegger and get a referral to a few worthy Jewish charities.

Actions always speak louder than words.

Operation Mountain Thrust ends in Afghanistan as NATO takes over.

Operation Mountain Thrust, the US-led offensive in southern Afghanistan -- which has led to the killing of 600 to 700 Taliban and other opposition fighters - is being wound up overnight as control of the region is transferred from the Americans to NATO.

The US 10th Mountain Division and other forces carried out an effective attack against the jihadis on their home ground under unbelievable conditions in what was supposed to be impassable terrain.

This offensive, part of which involved landing fully loaded CH-47 heliocopters on top of a mountain , in hostile territory and in an area that was 60 miles away from the nearest ground forces, where no one had been for years was designed to outflank the mujahadeen and was carried out almost flawlessly.

Absolutely un-freaking-believable, and an amazing feat of arms by some amazing men.

The British commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force, Lieutenant General David Richards, took over command of southern Afghanistan in stage three of NATO's expansion in the country, during a ceremony in Kandahar yesterday.

NATO will take over security in six Afghan provinces in the south of the country..a Taliban stronghold until the American led forces got through with it.

"NATO is here for the long term, for as long as the Government and people of Afghanistan require our assistance," Lieutenant General Richards said.

Until yesterday NATO had been in charge of security in the capital Kabul and the safer north and west of the country.

"Today's transfer of authority demonstrates to the Afghan people that there is a strong commitment on the part of the international community to further extend security into the southern region's provinces," said Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, the commander of the coalition forces.

"This is a seamless transfer of responsibility and authority from the US-led coalition to NATO-ISAF. Having NATO committed to Afghanistan's future is good for the Afghan people and the entire international community."

Lieutenant General Eikenberry will remain in charge of eastern Afghanistan until NATO takes over in the east in about a month.

Uhh..we mean it this time...just like last time..Iran gets August 31 deadline from UN

The UN Security Council passed a weakened resolution giving Iran until Aug. 31 to suspend uranium enrichment or face the threat of economic and diplomatic sanctions.

American UN Ambassador John Bolton

Notice the emphasis...the threat of sanctions rather than actual sanctions.

Iran immediately rejected the resolution.

"All along it has been the persistence of some to draw arbitrary red lines and deadlines that has closed the door to any compromise," said Iran's U.N. Ambassador Javad Zarif. "This tendency has single-handedly blocked success and in most cases killed proposals in their infancy.

"This approach will not lead to any productive outcome and in fact it can only exacerbate the situation."

Zarif told the council it had no legal legitimacy to demand Iran suspend uranium enrichment and reprocessing. He repeated Iran's claim that it has every right to pursue nuclear technology

The watering down of the resolution was the product of Russian and Chinese demands; earlier drafts would have made the threat of sanctions immediate. The resolution now only requires the UN Security Council to hold more discussions before taking any action.

The resolution calls on the International Atomic Energy Agency, headed by our old pal Inspector Clouseau Mohammed el-Baradi to report back by Aug. 31 on Iran's compliance with the resolution's demands.

The resolution passed by a vote of 14-1. Qatar, which represents Arab states on the council, cast the lone dissenting vote.Now, there's a surprise.

As readers to this site know, Iran has said it would reply to the incentives package offered as a carrot by the west on August 22nd. The special significance of that date for Iran can be seen here.

The frustrating part is that after all the diplospeak and delay, sanctions are a remote possibility since Russia and China have already said they would veto them. And even if that little hurdle was jumped, sanctions would be meaningless since Russia and China along with certain nations in the EU would not abide by them. We saw how that worked with Iraq, where UN members simply ignored the sanctions to trade with SaddamHussein and sell him weapons.

Talk is cheap, and it's especially cheap at the UN.

And meanwhile, a nuclear armed Iran gets closer and closer.

The Qana strike..the making of a Hezbo-wood production

As I wrote yesterday, I'm more and more convinced that the death of civilians at Qana was a Hezbo-wood production.

We know that the Israelis attacked Qana because 150 rockets per day were being shot at Israel from Qana, and that the Israelis leafletted the town telling people to leave because a strike was imminent.

We also know that Hezbollah had deliberately set up missile launchers near civilian dwellings and that they deliberately prevented civilians from leaving, using them as human shields.

The building itself collapsed collapsed a full 8 hours after the Israeli airstrike, which occurred at 1AM on July 29th. What's more, the media was called at dawn before the building collapsed and there was no rescue attempt made until after the journalists got there.

We also know that the civilian dead were almost exclusively women and children, that no wounded were brought out and that no Hezbollah fighters or equipment were unlikely occurance after an IDF airstrike on a major Hezbollah base.

Did Hezbollah remove its dead and wounded from the building and then deliberately detonate explosives to bring it down? Did they use the time gap to bring bodies from other locations who could be re-used as fresh `victims' for those cooperative photographers? Wouldn't the normal human response be to immediately flee a building that had suffered an attack of that kind...unless the civilians and particularly the children were prevented from leaving?

Smells like Hezbo-wood to me.

And it gets smellier.

EU Referendum has a superb story showing how two dead children were dragged from the rubble, their bodies deliberately covered with dust for maximum effect. And how, under the direction of a `rescue worker' who appears to be a Hezbollah fighter, they were photographed and put in different dramatic poses for hours, with the connivance of Arab journalists and photographers from AP and al-Reuters.

(Warning: these are graphic pictures of dead children being used like Hollywood prop dummies by Hezbollah and the Main Stream Media.)

Seeing these pictures, looking at the timeline provided by EU Referendum and the way the dramatic shots were set up and milked for maximum propaganda effect eliminates whatever doubt I had left that this was a deliberate propaganda ploy on Hezbollah's part. In any event, by deliberately placing their military in the midst of civilians, Hezbollah has incurred the responsibility for those deaths.

One would expect such tactics from Hezbollah.

But the Main Stream Media's willingness to unquestionably cooperate in disseminating Hezbollah propaganda, even to the extent of being a pawn in a ghoulish sham using the bodies of dead children is beyond despicable.

They appear to be perfectly ok with allowing people like Hezbollah and the Palestinians to use them as long as they continue to receive `access'. We had the spectacle a few days ago of a well known CNN correspondant admitting that his entire broadcast was stage managed by Hezbollah. Eason Jordan at the same network resigned after admitting that CNN whitewashed Saddam Hussein's atrocities so they could keep `reporting the story.'

In the Palestinian Authority, no journalist is allowed any access unless he's approved by the regime - which in practice, means that the reporters and photographers the wire services use are usually Palestinians and subject to direct retaliation if they report `wrong'.

Hezbollah are people who, like the Palestinians, have proven themselves willing to murder their own children if it means scoring in the propaganda war against the hated Jews. Moreover, they make a point of brainwashing their children about the glories of martyrdom..especially if you can take some infidels with you.

The idea of a `ceasefire' with such people is ludicrous on the face of it.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Hezbollah `Houseguests'


Members of Joshua's Army have an assignment. It is to devote one hour and 17 minutes to clicking on the link below and watching the acclaimed documentary `Obsession: Radical Islam's war against the West.' And then foward this to everyone you can think of who is the least bit confused about the nature of the War Against Jihad.

This film, a superb capsule treatment of this subject features comentary by experts like Steven Emerson, Noni Darwish, Walid Shoebat and a host of others. It was circulated mostly by private distribution and was pretty much blackballed by polically correct theater chains and public broadcasting outlets, for obvious reasons..most likely because they didn't want their theaters or TV stations blown up by adherants of the Religion of Peace.

Now you can see what they were afraid of having you see. I urge that you do so.

Obsession: What The War on Terror Is Really About - Google Video

Ceasefire?? Or are things heating up?

Condi Rice cut short her mission in the Middle East after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and attempting to come up with a realistic basis for a ceasefire.

The Lebanese government refused to hold any diplomatic discussions without an immediate unconditional ceasefire by Israel. Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Seniora bluntly told Rice not to bother coming to Lebanon without that unconditional ceasefire. And Seniora than called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, appealing to the UN to 'put an end to the violence in Lebanon.'

At that emergency session in New York, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan severely criticized Israeli actions (what a surprise..), saying: 'We must condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. I am deeply dismayed that my earlier calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities were not heeded.'

Maybe Kofi should try talking to his pals in Hezbollah if he really wants a cessation of hostilities.

The proposition on the table Rice and Olmert were discussing involves a
multinational force for south Lebanon hinging on an armed French force (!!) to work with Lebanese troops and guard Lebanon’s borders with Israel and Syria, forming a buffer against the entry of armed militias to the border region. The deal includes the release of the two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah.Israeli concessions I've heard mentioned are a prisoner swap and the handover of the Shabaa Farms and strategic Mt. Dov to international control.

In other words, the deal Israel made with the UN in 2004 wasn't worth the paper it was written let's just forget that it happened and write a new deal in response to the attack on Israel's sovereign territory...with the same people who didn't honor the terms of the original deal!

The French have already released the draft to be presented to the UN Security Council calling for an immediate ceasefire and the deployment of a multinational force under the UN. The text states the resolution is subject to the approval of "both parties"..unfortunately it doesn't specify whether they are talking about the Lebanese government or Hezbollah! Maybe they're one and the same...

Just for the record Nasrallah has openly said that Hezbollah will not allow themselves to be disarmed under any circumstances. And Hezbollah religious leader Sheikh Nabulsi was quoted as saying that if international troops come to South Lebanon, `we will attack them in the same way as we fight Israelis'.

The French, by the way have excellent relations with Hezbollah. They've maintained close contacts with Hezbollah government figures and with Hezbollah leader Sheik Nasrallah. And in 2004, French President Jacques Chirac invited Nasrallah to a conference of Francophone Arab leaders. They shook hands and the Hezbollah leader had the place of honor seated beside Chirac at the top table. France may well have gotten Hezbollah's consent on the language in the draft resolution. Which could be why disarming Hezbollah in accordance with UN Resolution 1559 is not in the draft and nowhere in the picture of any negotiations so far.

This draft, if adopted would give Nasrallah and his Iranian masters a major win and give Syria, Iran and the Palestinians an object lesson on the use of brute force to obtain results.

I've heard some speculation that the US push for a ceasefire is in response to Saudi pressure. I don't buy that.

The Saudis would have actually liked nothing better than for Hezbollah to be destroyed, in my opinion..they, like the other Sunni autocracies are concerned about Iran and a Shiite power bloc.

The problem is that Israel has the MILITARY capability, but the IDF was sent in piecemeal, in small units and airpower was supposed to make up the slack. Given the prediliction of people like Hezbollah to use civilians for human shields, today's carnage at Qana was inevitable, sooner or later.

When Sharon invaded Lebanon to take out the PLO, he sent in 30,000 troops and 4-500 tanks. The Olmert government sent in 3,000 or so and about 100 tanks, against an entrenched, heavily armed enemy.

Any wonder the IDF was unable to break Hezbollah's back in 18 days of combat?

The Israelis have curtailed air strikes in Lebanon for the next 48 hours...which amazes me,during wartime.

The ceasefire will come about if the Israeli government wants out and lacks the will to allow the IDF to finish its job...the only thing that will ultimately bring peace.

Oddly enough, there are some conflicting signals that could indicate that things could change rapidly, especially since the ceasefire efforts have collapsed thus far.

Olmert might have just been talking, but he made a point of saying that `This war was not started by us and we did not want it, but we will finish our counter-offensive until northern Israel is safe from Hizballah attack.' He spoke of continuing the offensive for another 10 to 14 days.

And I know for a fact that those 30,000 reservists that were on stand by have received their callups and have now been activated.

And that the US has stepped up the pace of airlifts of arms and munitions to Israel,including concrete bunker busters.

The Qana strike...the real and the unreel of a Hezbo-wood production?

Looking at the headlines today,the Main Stream media is gorging itself on a particularly juicy story of an Israeli `atrocity'.To read the headlines, particularly in Europe and the Arab world, you would think that the Wicked Jooos simply reconned the area looking for a building with kids in it to blow up and cause maximum civilian casualties.

Here's the real skinny.

Qana was, in fact a Hezbollah stronghold, launching over 150 rockets at Israel per day. After leafletting it and warning civilians that a strike was imminent, Israel lauched an air strike, during which an Israeli chopper sent ordnance into a three-story building in Qana which apparently still housed civilians as well as a Hezbollah site for shooting rockets against the Israeli towns of Haifa and Nahariya. The death toll was horrible – 57 deaths aparently including 37 children.

As one examines it in detail, certain things become apparent. The first and most obvious, is that Hezbollah prevented civilians from leaving Qana, even after the Israelis warned that an attack was coming..and used them for human shields and as propaganda tools.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman, made that very point while issuing a staement deploring and regretting the loss of innocent lives.

(BTW..we haven't heard from Hezbollah, any Arab governments, the EU or the UN expressing any concern or regret over the deaths of Israeli civilians killed by Hezbollah. The outrage, as always flows in just one direction.)

The folks at Hezbollah are very aware that maximizing Lebanese civilian casualties is the most effective way to disarm Israel and its military, using international 'outrage' and the media as its instrument. Hiding its combat operations among helpless civilians is an old and proven tactic for Hezbollah and its fellow jihadis.

Another curious fact is the time lag between the attack and the building's collapse, and the fact that no Hezbollah fighters bodies were found in the wreckage.

The attack took place at about 1 AM on Saturday, July 29th...but the building didn't collapse until six or seven hours later, according to Israeli reconnaisance cited in a statement by Israeli Air Force Staff chief Brig-Gen Amir Eshel.

Did Hezbollah remove its dead and wounded from the building and then deliberately detonate explosives to bring it down? Wouldn't the normal human response be to immediately flee a building that had suffered an attack of that kind...unless the civilians and particularly the children were prevented from leaving?

This smells to me like another Pallywood production..this time produced by Hezbowood.

As with all such propaganda ploys like `The Mohammed Dura Story',`Gaza Beach Blanket Bingo' or the `Jenin Massacre', the full details may come out later..after this latest `atrocity' becomes part of Arab folklore as a justification for Jihad against the Evil Jooos.

Stay tuned....

Day 19 of the war; 160 Hezbollah rockets hit northern Israel

More than 160 Hizballah rockets hit Israel July 30, as Hezbollah steps up its attacks.

The Israeli city of Kiryat Shemona took over a hundred Katyusha rockets in the attacks, setting fires all over the city and injuring 9 people. Since the war started, apartments and shops have been wrecked, factories and infrastructure damaged and almost all of the population have either been forced to flee or exist in shelters in the Galilee town..none of which you will see in the Main Stream Media.

Haifa was attacked again and is trying to recover from two weeks of constant rocket attacks.

Hezbollah has fired more than 3,500 rockets at Israel's civilians since the war began.

Oddly enough, I don't see anyone calling for humanitarian aid to help the thousands of Israelis injured, displaced or made homeless by Hezbollah's attacks on Israel.

And by the way, that's why the Lebanese town of Qana was hit...over 150 Hezbollah missiles per day were being launched out of there. Of course, unlike Hezbollah, the IDF leafletted Qana before they struck..not that it bought them any good will in the `international community'.

Hezbollah leader Sheik Nasrallah threatened to send more rockets into central Israeli cities after Afula was hit Friday night. In response Israel has reportedly deployed the joint US/ Israeli made Arrow anti-missile batteries and Patriot anti-missiles bought from the US in northern and central Israel. While not effective against the Katyushas, they may very well be able to take out Hezbolla's Iran-made Zilzal-2 long-range missiles before they reach Israeli air space.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Jihad Recruiting!!

Tony Blair comes to Washington to pressure Bush to support an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon

British prime Minister Tony Blair came to Washington today to confer with President Bush and to lobby for a ceasefire in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah.

Of course, that would leave Hezbollah armed, victorious and in place with rockets capable of hitting Israel...but that is hardly Blair's concern at this point. He's under severe pressure at home for siding with Bush and Israel against Hezbollah, however tepidly. Almost all the other EU countries and the UN have been pushing for an immediate ceasefire.

They talked and then appeared for the usual press conference.

President Bush announced that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will return to the Middle East tommorow for additional attempts at diplomacy.

"Her instructions are to work with Israel and Lebanon to come up with an acceptable U.N. Security Council resolution that we can table next week," he said.

Blair said he and Bush agreed a U.N. resolution is needed as soon as possible to stop hostilities in Lebanon.

Blair said it was important not only to get a cessation of violence but to use the opportunity to set out and achieve a "different strategic direction for the whole of that region."

"We've got to deal with the immediate situation" but also realize that the violence in recent weeks is part of a bigger picture that must be addressed, said Blair.

They also agreed on the idea that an international force for southern Lebanon should be sent quickly in order to help facilitate shipments of humanitarian aid.

"We agree that a multinational force must be dispatched to Lebanon quickly to augment the Lebanese army as it moves the south of that country. An effective multinational force will help speed delivery of humanitarian relief," Bush said.

Ahhh, the UN and a `multinational force'. That worked so well in the past.

I can hear Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad laughing and high-fiving each other from here.

Hezbollah fires missiles deeper into Israel...Afula hit by Khaibar-1 rockets.

The war between Israel and Hezbollah has escalated to a new level.

The Israeli city of Afula was hit by a new, more powerful rocket identified by Hezbollah as the Khaibar-1. Afula is located about 30 miles south of the Israel/Lebanon border.This is the furthest south that a Hezbollah missile has hit. The Khaibar-1 is actually an Iranian Fajr-5 with a payload of 100 kilos (220 pounds) and a range of 45 miles.

(Khaibar was the scene of Mohammed's slaughter and enslavement of the Jewish city of Medina in Saudi Arabia.)

Hezbollah is also in possesion of a number of Iranian Zelzal-2 missiles whose range easily covers Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Israeli intel is reporting that Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has received permission from Tehran to fire missiles at central Israel and that this could start over the weekend.

It still astounds me that Israel apparently is wondering about the niceties of `world opinion' when its very existence as a nation is threatened.

Olmert may need to do a full scale invasion of Lebanon whether he wants to or not...

`Europe, Thy Name Is Cowardice'

Below is an article by Mathias Derfer, CEO of the Axel Springer Verlag, in Die Welt, Germany's largest reprinted in the New Republic. It is proof that at least some Europeans are beginning to awaken to the monsterous danger they face.The emphasis on certain parts is mine.

"A few days ago Henry Broder wrote in Welt am Sonntag, "Europe--your family name is appeasement." It's a phrase you can't get out of your head because it's so terribly true. Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives as England and France, allies at the time, negotiated and hesitated too long before they noticed that Hitler had to be fought, not bound to toothless agreements.

Appeasement legitimized and stabilized Communism in the Soviet Union, then East Germany, then all the rest of Eastern Europe where for decades, inhuman suppressive, murderous governments were glorified as the ideologically correct alternative to all other possibilities.

Appeasement crippled Europe when genocide ran rampant in Kosovo, and even though we had absolute proof of ongoing mass-murder, we Europeans debated and debated and debated, and were still debating when finally the Americans had to come from halfway around the world, into Europe yet again, and do our work for us.

Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European appeasement, camouflaged behind the fuzzy word "equidistance," now countenances suicide bombings in Israel by fundamentalist Palestinians. Appeasement generates a mentality that allows Europe to ignore nearly 500,000 victims of Saddam's torture and murder machinery and, motivated by the self-righteousness of the peace movement, has the gall to issue bad grades to George Bush. Even as it is uncovered that the loudest critics of the American action in Iraq made illicit billions, no, TENS of billions, in the corrupt U.N. Oil-for-Food program.

And now we are faced with a particularly grotesque form of appeasement. How is Germany reacting to the escalating violence by Islamic fundamentalists in Holland and elsewhere? By suggesting that we really should have a "Muslim Holiday" in Germany?

I wish I were joking, but I am not. A substantial fraction of our (German) Government, and if the polls are to be believed, the German people, actually believe that creating an Official State "Muslim Holiday" will somehow spare us from the wrath of the fanatical Islamists. One cannot help but recall Britain's Neville Chamberlain waving the laughable treaty signed by Adolph Hitler, and declaring European "Peace in our time."

What else has to happen before the European public and its bigger political leadership get it? There is a sort of crusade underway, an especially perfidious crusade consisting of systematic attacks by fanatic Muslims, focused on civilians, directed against our free, open Western societies, and intent upon Western Civilization's utter destruction.

It is a conflict that will most likely last longer than any of the great military conflicts of the last century--a conflict conducted by an enemy that cannot be tamed by "tolerance" and "accommodation" but is actually spurred on by such gestures, which have proven to be, and will always be taken by the Islamists for signs of weakness.

Only two recent American Presidents had the courage needed for anti-appeasement: Reagan and Bush. His American critics may quibble over the details, but we Europeans know the truth. We saw it first hand: Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War, freeing half of the German people from nearly 50 years of terror and virtual slavery. And Bush, supported only by the Social Democrat Blair, acting on moral conviction, recognized the danger in the Islamic War against democracy. His place in history will have to be evaluated after a number of years have passed.

In the meantime, Europe sits back with charismatic self-confidence in the multicultural corner, instead of defending liberal society's values and being an attractive center of power on the same playing field as the true great powers, America and China. On the contrary--we Europeans present ourselves, in contrast to those "arrogant Americans," as the World Champions of "tolerance," which even (Germany's Interior Minister) Otto Schily justifiably criticizes. Why? Because we're so moral? I fear it's more because we're so materialistic so devoid of a moral compass.

For his policies, Bush risks the fall of the dollar, huge amounts of additional national debt, and a massive and persistent burden on the American economy--because unlike almost all of Europe, Bush realizes what is at stake--literally everything.

While we criticize the "capitalistic robber barons" of America because they seem too sure of their priorities, we timidly defend our Social Welfare systems. Stay out of it! It could get expensive! We'd rather discuss reducing our 35-hour workweek or our dental coverage, or our 4 weeks of paid vacation. Or listen to TV pastors preach about the need to "reach out to terrorists. To understand and forgive."

These days, Europe reminds me of an old woman who, with shaking hands, frantically hides her last pieces of jewelry when she notices a robber breaking into a neighbor's house.

Appeasement? Europe, thy name is Cowardice. God Bless America."

Watcher's Council results, 7/28/06

The Council has spoken! Complete results can be found here on the site of our fearless leader, Watcher of Weasels.

The winner for Council posts was ShrinkWrapped: A Perspective on Tribes and Anti-Semitism Shrinkwrap's well written exploration of this subject.

Second place went to Dymphna for Gates of Vienna: As Old as the Garden of Eden,a heartfelt examination of the status of women in India and China.

For non-Council posts the winner was Solomonia:Mayhem at the Defend Hizballah Rally! an excellent goof on Hezbollah/Palestinian groupies abusing themselves in public.

In second place was Bill Roggio's article on the Counterterrorism Blog: Worst Case Scenario: Hezbollah's Conventional Forces, a must read piece on the true nature, tactics and capabilities of Hezbollah.

Hearty kudos to tall the winners!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

al Qaeda's Zawahiri calls for Holy Jihad against Israel.

`Watch my finger now..don't blink are getting sleepy..'

In the message broadcast by Al-Jazeera JihadTV Ayman al-Zawahri, second in command to Osama bin Laden, called for a Holy Jihad against Israel and said that al-Qaeda now views "all the world as a battlefield open in front of us."

(Tell us something we didn't know...)

The Egyptian-born mullah said that the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah and Palestinian militants would not be ended with "cease-fires or agreements."

"It is a Jihad for the sake of God and will last until (our) religion prevails ... from Spain to Iraq," al-Zawahri said. "We will attack everywhere."

Gee, I guess the recent dhimmi-itis of the Spanish government just excited the jihadi's appetite.

He also said that Arab regimes were complicit in Israeli fighting against Hezbollah and the Palestinians. "My fellow Muslims, it is obvious that Arab and Islamic governments are not only impotent but also complicit ... and you are alone on the battlefield. Rely on God and fight your enemies ... make yourselves martyrs."

This is interesting in that it allies the largly Sunni al Qaeda and their offshoots to Shiite Hezbollah and Syria. The lines are being drawn.

Al-Zawahri had an interesting set director for this little production; a picture of the burning World Trade Center was on the wall behind him along with photos of two other jihad `martyrs'. One appeared to be a bearded Mohammed Atta, Zawahiri's fellow Egyptian and the ringleader of the 9/11 attacks. The other was Mohammed Atef, also known as Abu Hafs al-Masri, another bin-Laden lieutenant who got onthe wrong side of a US hellfire missile in Afghanistan back in November 2001.

al-Jazeera decided not to transmit the entire tape..they just used the jucier bits, interspersed with commentary from an anchor. Jihad TV said the tape was eight minutes long, but they only aired about half of it. They also wouldn't say how they got the if that's a mystery.

"The shells and rockets ripping apart Muslim bodies in Gaza and Lebanon are not only Israeli (weapons), but are supplied by all the countries of the crusader coalition. Therefore, every participant in the crime will pay the price," al-Zawahri said.

"We cannot just watch these shells as they burn our brothers in Gaza and Lebanon and stand by idly, humiliated."

Al-Zawahri said Muslims everywhere must rise up to attack "crusaders and Zionists" and support jihad (holy war) "until American troops are chased from Afghanistan and Iraq, paralyzed and impotent ... having paid the price for aggression against Muslims and support for Israel."

Yadda Yadda.

On the serious side, al Qaeda's little jihad version of MTV gives the formal OK to `volunteers' from throughout the Muslim world to flow into Lebanon (and Iraq, don't forget) through Syria, and I had at least one report of a company of Iranian Republican Guards who did exactly that, disembarking out of uniform at the Homa military Airport. They won't be the last.

Both sides pause for breath in the Lebanon war...

There were some very interesting developments today in the Lebanon /Israel war. In my view,both sides are taking a slight breather to regroup a bit..though the war itself shows no signs of stopping.

Nasrallah and his chief aides are in Damascus, meeting with Syrian leader Basher Assad and Iran’s national security adviser Ali Larijani. The meeting was designed to discuss ways to maintain supplies and Iranian Republican Guard troops to Hezbollah.
According to excerpts from captured documents the Israelis released, Hezbollah has suffered tremendous casualties and is badly in need of reinforcements and resupply.

The Israelis also continue to be resupplied by the US. In an interesting sidebar, British Foreign Secetary Margaret Becker had the temerity to make a formal complaint to the US because some transport planes stopped at a US base in Scotland to refuel en route to Israel. The planes were carrying GBU-28 bunker busters for bombing Hizballah’s tunnel fortresses.

In a move I find hard to understand, the Israeli security cabinet apparently decided against significantly widening the IDF's operations in southern Lebanon at this time, rejecting a recommendation by Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz to escalate the offensive against Hezbollah. They also apparently issued a statement that the IDF had no plans to attack Syria.

Instead, they okayed the mobilization of three combat division to hold in reserve as needed. Or to quote General Halutz, `if things change in the future, we will have the troops we need.'

Halutz apparently wanted to insert larger forces to sweep through the Hezbollah bases in the area. As a result of the cabinet decision, the IDF said the operation would retain its current level utilizing brigade and battalion-level forces - not divisions as Halutz had requested -to carry out attacks on specific targets.

I see two possible explanations behind this decision.

One, continued friction between the various components of the Kadima coalition, particularly the Labor parts like Israel's inexperienced defence minister Amir Peretz.

It's a tradition in Israel to come together and avoid criticizing the government during wartime, but more than one IDF general has quietly talked about Peretz's lack of command military experience and suggested that Olmert appoint a temporary cabinet officer in Peretz's place - which Olmert can't do, because he needs Labor as part of Kadima's coalition. Olmert also lacks military command experience.

Alternatively,there may be some diplomatic moves going on behind the scenes between Condi Rice and Syria that have yet to fully play out.

Or the Israelis may simply be in the process of regrouping and planning an offensive to openupthe war in a different area.

In any event,it wasn't a total breather for either side: Hezbullah fired at least 75 Katyushas at towns and villages throughout the Galilee on Thursday, lightly wounding two people in Kiryat Shmona..and the Israelis continued heavy airstrikes against Hezbollah positions in Lebanon.

Wars seldom stay in a state of stasis..stay tuned... (and try saying that three times quickly!)

`What we have here is..a failure to communicate.'

Poor ol' Abbas. He is fast becoming the jihadi version of Rodney Dangerfied, who gets no respect.

Rather than hang out at the terror squats back home, Abbas usually spends his time in 5 star hotels overseas, nuzzling up to EU Palestinian groupies and enablers, playing at diplomacy and making financial deals on an `if and when' basis.

Today, hanging out in Rome with his old buddy Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, Abbas implied that he had engineered the imminent release of kidnapped Israeli hostage Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

"I told the prime minister that as far as the question of the abducted Israeli soldier is concerned efforts are undergoing continuously that lead us to believe that the solution will be imminent," he said.

Except Hamas had a different take on their conversation. They claimed not to know what Abbas was talking about, and that Shalit would go free only after all the demands of the kidnappers were met.

“Nothing has changed in the case of the Israeli soldier,” said Abu Ubaida, spokesman for the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' so-called armed wing.

“The file remains in the hands of the resistance factions and not in the hands of any politician, even if that politician is Abu Mazen,” Ubaida said. `Abu Mazen' is what some of the wiseguys at home call Abbas sometimes..kinda like calling certain mobsters Bugsy, or Scarface.

Abbas had to blame the `miscommunication' on a faulty translation.


Actually, Hamas and the Palestinians are kind of caught in the middle, the way I see it. Given the fact that the Hamas government has suffered serious damage, I have a feeling that Haniyeh and some of the other gang members would actually be willing to consider turning Shalit over to the Israelis at this point...but doing so would anger their buddies in Hezbollah and Hamas' patrons in Iran. And Hamas capo del tutti Khalid Meshaal in Damascus and his allies are adamant about hanging on to the Israeli hostage.

Stay tuned...

American Muslim activists agitated over FBI probe of Hezbollah supporters..and the FBI goes `sensitive'.

A number of terrorist symphathizers umm...Muslim `activists' appear to have their turbans and kefiyas in a knot over FBI investigations of Hezbollah activities and supporters on American the wonderful folks pictured above.

Twenty-five groups, including the Islamic Society of North America and the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee,(James Zogby's little group of Islamist shills) urged FBI Director Robert Mueller in a letter to instruct field offices and agents to avoid unwarranted profiling and to respect legal protections during questioning. I'm certain CAIR, the ACLU, and MPAC are along for the party.

The letter to Mueller noted that since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the FBI had launched a number of interview programs that targeted Arab and Muslim men in particular. I can't imagine why.

"During these interview efforts, it quickly became apparent that FBI agents were frequently engaging in harassing, unduly burdensome and improper questioning," the letter says.

"We want the FBI, obviously, to protect our nation from those who do us harm, but we want them to focus on actual credible evidence of wrongdoing and not target people based on their ethnicity or religion or . . . political expression," said Farhana Khera, head of Muslim Advocates, the lead drafter of the letter.

"We want to avert any kind of raw fishing expedition-type initiative," he said.

Apparently the FBI has decided to increase its scrutiny of Hezbollah after its attack on Israel and some of the rather florid rhetoric expressed by Hezbollah groupies here in America.

Now, here's the part that surprises me.

Hezbollah is officially designated a terrorist group by the US government. Before the 9/11 attacks, Hizbullah was responsible for killing more Americans than any other terrorist organization, including the 1983 attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 US servicemen.

Several US servicemen and diplomats have been tortured to death by this gang of murderers and they are a wholly owned subsidiary of our avowed enemy, Iran.

And anyone defending them, especially American adhereants to a certain religion of peace could very credibly have their loyalty to this country put into question.

So how does Mueller respond to this letter that directly accuses the FBI of `racism' towards jihadis and their supporters here in America?

First, he gives a PC press conference yesterday emphasizing the FBI's cultural sensitivity and stated that is his opinion that there was no evidence of the group planning an attack in the United States or on US interests though its never happened before.

Then, he put FBI spokesman Stephen Kodak in front of the assembled reporters to say that the agency planned to reach out to the groups that sent the letter,and that there were no plans to launch large-scale investigation regarding Hezbollah and its allies here in the USA!

"We are sensitive to the cultural differences in dealing with the Muslim community," Kodak said. "Whether or not there's going to be special, additional guidance, that I don't know at this time."

Damn straight, infidel. Cultural sensitivity. And don't you forget it...that's a good dhimmi!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Israeli `spies' arrested by the Lebanese government - and its Hezbollah partners

In yet another example of how much Hezbollah is a legitimate part of the Lebanese government Lebanese military intelligence and Hezbollah agents have arrested around 40 'Israel spies'.

The arrests have taken place mainly in Beirut and are concentrated (of course!) in the Druze and Christian communities.

Tell me again the Hezbollah and the Lebanese government aren't one and the same.

Hezbollah HQ in Tyre destroyed

The IAF took out a seven story building today which housed offices of Hizbullah leader Sheikh Nabil Qaouk.

The IDF has been concentrating on flattening Hezbollah positions in Tyre lately ,which leads me to believe that we may see some action on the ground here before too long.

Iraqi Prime Minister al -Maliki adresses US Congress

The WAPO, among other sources had good coverage of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's speech to a joint session of Congress today.

As I speculated, most of the real action went on backstage, mano a mano with President Bush.

Maliki said, "Do not imagine that this problem is solely an Iraqi problem because the terrorist front represents a threat to all free countries and free people of the world."

He presented Iraq as a crucial front in the War against Jihad, compared the violence there to the Sept. 11 attacks and of course asked for more money and troops.

One bit I personally found humorous was when al-Maliki complained about money that has wound up "in the hands of security contractors and foreign companies that operate with enormous profit margins," rather than in the hands of needy his friends and cronies!

"There needs to be a greater reliance on Iraqis and Iraqi companies with foreign aid and assistance to help us rebuild Iraq," he said.

Show me da money, infidels!

Notably absent from the speech was any mention of amnesty for jihadis who've killed Americans, subjecting US troops to Iaqi shria based law or Iraq's support for Iran and Hezbollah.

What discussion there was on these topics was undoubtedly done privately.

Al-Maliki generally recieved a warm response from Congress, but a number of Democrats boycotted the speech. The official reason given was al-Maliki's strident criticism of Israel and support for Hezbollah.
Given the way some of the people who boycotted the speech normally vote when Israel is concerned, I think for some of them it was mostly just another attempt to insult the Bush Administration and earn brownie points with the Angry Left as much as anything else.

For instance, I loved this bit. Sen. Dick Turban uh.. Durbin, (d-Ill) apparently cornered al-Maliki directly at a breakfast on Wednesday to ask whether he considered Hezbollah a terrorist group. "He questioned whether I had the right to ask him that" Durbin said. According to Durbin, all al-Maliki would do is to generally condemn terrorism in all its forms.

Keep in mind, this is a sitting US Senator who compared US troops to the Nazis and the Khmer Rouge! At the very least, you have to wonder whether Durbin even knows what a terrorist is..let alone at his stupidity is asking al-Maliki a question like that in public.

To be fair, al-Maliki is in a difficult spot, and I'm honest enough to recognize that, no matter how I might personally feel about the Iraqi government's cheerleading for its Shiite pals in Hezbollah and in Iran.

As I've written before, al-Maliki's Dawa party is directly dependent for political and street muscle on none other Moqata al-sadr's Iranian armed and trained Mahdi Army. No matter how he might feel about Hezbollah and Iran, he had better say the right things if he wants to keep his government together and avoid an unfortunate fatal accident when he returns home.

That's the way the game is played where he lives. Ask Baysher Gamal, Anwar Sadat and a host of others.

From the standpoint of the Bush Administration, their choices are somewhat limited as well. Having bought into the fallacy of `Arab democracy' this is what they're stuck with, and he and his party are beholden to the Mullahs in Iran. it didn't have to be that way, but thanks to the way the post war government was set up, that's what there is.

Short of dissolving this govenrment, allowing Iraq to split into its natural divisions and/or admitting that the whole nation building thing was a mistake and leaving, the only choice they have is to keep whacking the jihadis, strengthening the existing government and hope for the best.

And that might actually work out, provided the US is prepared to forcefully confront Iran and give the Iraqis an excuse to ally themselves with the perceived winners in this war.

Watcher's Council nominations, 7/26/06

Every week, the Watcher's Council nominate two posts each, one from the Council members and one from outside for consideration by the whole Council. The complete list of this week’s Council nominations can be found at our fearless leader's site Watcher of Weasels

This week, we have something very special, the debut of AbbaGav as a member of the Watcher's Council. I checked out his site and he is a worthy addition to the you will see below.

1.J O S H U A P U N D I T: Richard Cohen soils himself You know, if there's one thing Judeophobes and Israel bashers absolutely love, it's a self-hating, attention craving smarmy Jew who can be relied on to provide cover for their malignant psychosis and racism. Up pops WAPO columnist Richard Cohen...and as you can imagine, I had a couple of things to say to him.

2. Done With Mirrors: Of vice and men - I love the way Callimachus dissects he examines the idea of the view of people who feel `victimized' by circumstance as opposed to those who become determinists for change.

3.Gates of Vienna: As Old as the Garden of Eden Dymphna talks about the Achilles heel of the emerging economic powerhouses of China and India - their abysmal treatment of women. A fine read.

4. ShrinkWrapped: A Perspective on Tribes and Anti-Semitism In a fascinating post, Shrinkwrapped examines the relationship between tribalism, envy and Jew hatred.

5. Presidential signing statements II: So that's why he hasn't been vetoing stuff : Socratic Rhythm Method inthe second of a three parter, Matt Barr examines the controversy over overuse of Presidential signing statements, "interpretations" of new laws the President issues upon signing bills which supposedly indicate how and whether he intends to enforce certain provisions.

6. The Glittering Eye: Dysfunctional neighborhood Dave Schuler provides an excellent analogy to understand the conflict in the Middle's about the neighborhood.

7.The Education Wonks: Redefining Parental Rights: The Latest Battle I found this fascinating...what happens when you have a 16 year-old Virginia cancer patient who wants to stop chemotherapy, with his parents support...and a judge refuses to allow it, orders a resumption of treatment, strips the parents of full custody, and charges them with neglect?

8.The Strata-Sphere Did The CIA Block NSA Leads To FISA? AJ examines the possible dysfunctional relationship between the NSA, the CIA and FISA that may have affected the efficiency of collecting US intel...

9. Rhymes With Right Greg's excellent take on Richard Cohen's nonsense. Well done, Greg!

10.Right Wing Nut House: WHO WILL “DISARM” HIZBULLAH? Rick writes a very interesting piece and speculates on the problems of defanging Hezbollah. My answer? The Israelis will either totally disarm them by force or fight them to the point of marginalization, whatever it takes..simply because they no longer have a choice. I really see it as that simple.

11.The Sundries Shack: Just When He Thinks He’s Out, the Dems Keep Pulling Him Back In! Jimmie Bise tackles a topic that I and Greg went around on a couple of weeks ago..the possibility of Tom DeLay being re-electeed to congress. I'd L O V E to see that happen!

12. AbbaGav UN Observers Wouldn't Know a Hizbullah Missile if it Hit Them Last but certainly not least, the debut of new Council member AbbaGav. Here he talks about UNFIL, the so called Hezbollah enablers ummm.`peace keeping force' about totally useless! The Israelis have made it clear that the UN is the last entity they're ging to trust to keep the 2000 UN brokered security agreement between Lebanon and Israel..and they're 100% right.

Eight Israeli soldiers killed as fighting continues in Bint Jebeil

The IDF suffered a setback today as eight soldiers were killed early this morning when elements of the Golani battalion were ambushed when they tried to enter the surrounded Hezbollah stronghold at Bint Jebeil.

The battles took place primarily in a strip of 15 houses, as IDF troops moved in among the buildings, with backup forces covering them from various points within the structures.

According to an IDF spokesperson, there are still a few hundred Lebanese citizens in Bint Jebeil, and therefore the IAF cannot simply obliterate the positions from the more ground troops are on the way in.

In other words, just like in Jenin, the IDF is acepting casualties and allowing Hezbollah to use civilians for human shields.

That's a serious mistake, in my opinion. Especially as they will not get any credit for it anyway.

In spite of the success of the ambush, it wasn't a great day for Hezbollah either. IDF sources estimate that at least 50 Hezbolah fighters were killed in today's fighting.

Some quotes from Lebanon's leaders: `Hezbolah freed our country'

One of the fictions being promulgated during the war between Israel and Hezbollah is that the sovereign Lebanese government is a disinterested, neutral bystander caught in violence not of its own making.

This is a blatant lie, frankly.if nothing else, major elements of the Lebanese government fully supported Hezbollah's actions...until there was a price to pay.

Today, Der Spiegel published an interview with Lebanese President Emile Lahoud. The entire interview is rife with falsehoods, but here are a few of the jucier excerpts:
SPIEGEL: Should the kidnapped soldiers, as Israel demands, be returned without conditions? Or do you consider it legitimate to use them as a bargaining chip?

Lahoud: The exchange of prisoners has always worked perfectly in the past. The Germans above all were very helpful in this process. It is unclear whether that will happen this time. It's a charged atmosphere.

(In other words, Lahoud approves of the attack on Israeli territory by Hezbollah. Kind of like the thief that isn't sorry he stole, but is very indignant at being caught and having to pay the penalty!)

SPIEGEL:Please explain your relationship to Hezbollah. What do you think of Hassan Nasrallah?

Lahoud :Hezbollah enjoys utmost prestige in Lebanon, because it freed our country. All over the Arab world you hear: Hezbollah maintains Arab honor, and even though it (Hezbollah) is very small, it stands up to Israel. And of course Nasrallah has my respect.

(Now, wouldn't you think that the people responsible for starting the war and the violence and for getting so many people killed would enjoy less than `respect and utmost prestige' from Lebanon's president?)

And it's not just Lahoud. As I reported earlier, Lebanon's foreign minister Fawzi Salloukh made a point of telling the UAE based Khaleej Times that the Israeli hostages are 'in good health and in a safe place'.

Which means Sallkouh obviously knows where the soldiers are being held.

Which makes him and major elements in the Lebanese government complicit, no matter how you try and spin it.

Six years ago, Israel withdrew from Lebanon under what was supposedly an iron-clad peace deal brokered by the UN and accepted by the Lebanese government. The agreement was was that Hezbollah would be disarmed and that U.N. forces would aid the Lebanese government in both disarming Hezbollah, eliminating terrorist attacks and controlling its internationally recognized borders with Israel.

Israel honored that commitment, even in the face of extreme provocation. Lebanon, aided and abetted by the UN did not.

Hezbollah deliberately started this war - most likely at the behest of Iran to take the spotlight off of the controversy with Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions- by launching an attackkidnapping Israeli soldiers inside Israel’s borders, and has been launching rockets against Israeli civilians that Hezbollah is not even supposed to possess under the terms of the 2000 agreement.

The UNIFIL pewcekeepers and the Lebanese government did absolutely nothing to disarm Hezbollah or stop them from building up their arsenal, importing heavy weapons and rockets from Iran and Syria, and essentially creating what has become the de facto Lebanese army and a law unto themselves.

Plainly, neither the Lebanese government nor its friends in Hezbollah were expecting the heavy Israeli response. But sometimes, when you open a door, you get what you ask for.

No agreement on Lebanon ceasefire in Rome conference

Israeli children hiding in a shelter during Hezbolah rocket attacks, Kiryat Shimona

As the fighting in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah goes on representatives from 15 nations convened in Rome to discuss the crisis and draft potential solutions.

The conference mood was diplomatically reported as `difficult'...diplospeak for a major shouting match. No concensus or decisions were made on ceasefire proposals or the deployment of a multi-national peacekeeping force to the Israel-Lebanon border to ensure the disarmament of Hizbullah.

Not exactly surprising, especially given the antipathy against Israel by some of the participants and the sympathy for Hezbollah by the Lebanese government.

During the meeting, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora made the usual dramatic appeal to stop the killing as soon as possible. “In the past 15 days we are being bombarded daily. Dozens of civilians are being hurt. Lebanon is being torn to shreds,” he said.

I guess that's what happens in a war when you enable and support one of the participants.

It's actually pretty simple. Israel is not going to stop its offensive unless the threat of Hezbollah is eliminated and its hostages are returned. Anything short of that is a waste of time for all concerned.

Iran and Syria were not invited to the conference.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

4 UNFIL observers killed as Kofi Annan accuses Israel of a deliberate attack;IDF has large Hezbollah force trapped in Bint Jubeil

An Israeli air strike in south Lebanon killed four UN military observers yesterday, in an attack that Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary-general, said was "apparently deliberate". (!)

The four observers were part of the UNFIL Hezbollah enablement peacekeeping mission.

Speaking after the the UN site was hit, Milos Strugar, a spokesman for the UNIFIL peacekeeping force, said: "One aerial bomb directly impacted the building and shelter in the base of the United Nations Observer Group in Lebanon in the area of Khiyam."

Kofi Annan, neutral party that he is didn't waste any time in placing the blame where it always belongs as far as he's concerned, no matter what - on Israel.

In a statement issued at UN headquarters in New York, Mr Annan said: "I am shocked and deeply distressed by the apparently deliberate targeting by Israeli defence forces of a UN observer post in southern Lebanon."

"This co-ordinated artillery and aerial attack on a long-established and clearly marked UN post at Khiyam occurred despite personal assurances given to me by prime minister Ehud Olmert that UN positions would be spared Israeli fire."

In Jerusalem, an Israeli army spokeswoman said the military was investigating the report of yesterday's deaths,but Israeli diplomatic sources claim to have been shocked that Annan would accuse Israel of deliberately targeting the UNFIL post, which after all was in a battlezone.

The Israeli government issued a statement regretting the accidental deaths. And I'm certain that the IDF is as upset at the apparent error as the UNFIL troops were a couple of years ago when Hezbollah kidnapped and murdered three Israeli soldiers across Israel's border right in front of them and didn't lift a finger to intervene.

In more important news, senior Hezbollah figures admitted that they were surprised at strength of Israel's response to cross-border raids, but vowed to step up their attacks into Israel. Mahmoud Komati, the deputy chief of the Hezbollah politburo, suggested the group had miscalculated Israel's response to its raids.

"The truth is - let me say this clearly - we didn't even expect [this] response... that [Israel] would exploit this operation for this big war against us," said Komati.


Meanwhile Sheik Nasrallah said Hezbollah would begin firing rockets beyond Haifa. If that happens, I guarantee you that the IDF will see to it that it doesn't happen twice, no matter what that takes.

The Tzahal overwhelmed the Hizballah stronghold of Bin Jubeil in southern Lebanon today and they now have the entire sector surrounded.Hizballah is reported by IDF sources to have lost 100-120 Hizballah fighters. Israel lost two soldiers from its armored forces. In the battle the IDF killed one of Nasrallah's chief lieutenants, Khalil Amin Shivli, 44, commander of the Central Sector in South Lebanon

The IDF is now concentrating on wiping out Bin Jubeil’s five satellite Hezbollah positions where 300 Hizballah fighters are trapped; Ain Ebel, Hannine, Deble, Yaroun and Rmaich.

The Hezbolah forces are trapped and have no way to escape or receive reinforcements. Monday night, Israeli forces dropped leaflets over these villages offering them the option of surrenduring and saving their lives. They could then become part of a `prisoner exchange' for the Israeli hostages held by Hezbollah.

Israel also admitted capturing two Hezbollah prisoners.

"The two prisoners are located in Israel and will be held here with the aim of interrogating them," Brig. Gen. Alon Friedman told Israel Army Radio.

On the diplomatic front, there are some interesting feathers floating in the wind.
Condi Rice appears to be trying to split off Syria from its alliance with Iran.

In fairly moderate language Rice said that the United States' poor relationship with Syria is `overstated' and indicated an openness to working with Damascus to resolve the crisis. She has, of course made it clear that part of any deal involves Hezbollah being disarmed.

"We have a framework for a way forward, which is of course Resolution 1559, which was also expressed in the G8 Statement," Rice said before meeting Israeli PM Olmert. "Its implementation will help to bring stability, and it will help to bring peace, and it will help a democratic Lebanon to fully emerge. I have no doubts that there are those who wish to strangle a democratic and sovereign Lebanon in its crib, and we must not let that happen, either."

And Arab heavyweights Egypt and Saudi Arabia were apparently pushing Syria to end its support for Hezbollah, according to Arab sources in Cairo.

Of course, Iran is reacting severely to any idea of its proxy hezbollah being disarmed.. A “storm” is brewing in the Middle East and will “strike violently,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told reporters yesterday in the Tajik capital Dushanbe. “A storm is near in the Middle East and this storm will turn against the enemies of humanity and strike violently,” Ahmadinejad said. Has he got something planned?

Stay tuned...

Praying for Hummus, Getting Hamas

Woman in Haifa looking at damage to her home from Hezbollah rocket shrapnel

Germany's Der Spiegel has a fascinating piece today by an Israeli journalist who writes about his feelings on the war, peace and even Ariel Sharon:

In the 1990s, Israelis sincerely thought that peace was just around the corner. Now, the Middle East is torn apart by war. A former Israeli peace activist explains why he has laid down his olive branch and is prepared to grab for his rifle.

"Every time war footage from Lebanon flickers across the flat screen television in my apartment on the 30th floor of a high-rise in mid-town Manhattan, I am overwhelmed by a deep feeling of sadness. When I scan through the news on the Internet each morning, I'm overtaken by anger. The result is confusion: I go to sleep at night thinking I am a dove and wake up in the morning to find out I am a hawk."

Opinion: Praying for Hummus, Getting Hamas

More proof Russia is no friend of the US - as if we needed it

Venezuela's very own anti-US dictator is hangin' out with Putin and the Russians today and buying war toys.

That's right. Hugo Chavez is in Russia to complete major arms deals.

Chavez hit Moscow after meeting with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, another anti-US dictator.

Apparently, this is part of a world tour for Chavez that includes face time with friendly governments like Qatar and Iran.

Flush with petrodollars, Chavez plans to spend about $1 billion on Russian arms - which Putin is happy to sell him, in spite of US requests not to. That will likely cover 30 Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets and 30 helicopters. Chavez also wants to buy 100,000 Russian-made AK-103 assault rifles and make a deal with the Russians to set up factories in Venezuela to produce Kalashnikovs under licence.

Since Venezuela has no particularly threatening neighbors, what Chavez is planning on doing with all this military hardware is open to question...but I think I know the answer.

Fierce fighting continues in Southern Lebanon as Hezbollah is pushed back across the Litani.

Hezbollah is being pushed out of its strongholds south of the Litani River.

The main battle today was on the outskirts of Bint Jbeil, about two miles across the border into Lebanon, where two Israeli soldiers were killed and 14 wounded, while doling out heavy punishment to Hezbollah. The IAF bombed the town heavily.

There is still some fighting going on in Maroun el Ras as Hezbolah attempts to hold on, but the Israelis have pretty much taken the Hezbollah mountain stronghold and are now consolidating their position there. A measure of how much control the Israelis now have over the area is the fact that they are now using heliocopters and the IAF to wipe out what's left of Hezbollah's rear guard there. During the battle for the town, the Israelis were unable to use the heliocopter gunships because of the danger of anti-missile attacks from the fortified tunnels.

The Israelis are also still pounding Hezbolah positions in the port of Tyre.

Some of you will remember that I wote about the `heroes' of Hezbollah using fleeing civilians as human shields. There was a confirmation of this from an odd source..noted UN Israel basher Jan Egeland, in Lebanon to coordinate humanitarian aid. A day after criticizing Israel for so-called "disproportionate" strikes against civilians, Fox news quoted Egeland accusing Hezbollah of "cowardly blending" among women and children.

Of course, that didn't make the wire services in Europe or certain MSM sources here...doesn't work with `IDF bombing helpless civilians in Lebanon' script.

So far, while the IDF has slowed the pace of rocket attacks a bit, Hezbollah's assault against Israel's civilians still goes on. More than 80 rockets crashed into northern Israel as of Monday evening, wounding about 20 people, the military said. The rockets again touched off brush fires in the town of Kiryat Shemona, which was hit by a heavy barrage in the afternoon.

Many commentators have been seen as crticizing the IDF for moving slowly into Lebanon. There's some truth in that, and some fiction.

The last time the IDF went into Lebanon, they used about ten times more ground troops than they are now. And it is certainly true that the IDF could call up reserves and push Hezbollah over the Litani in the scope of about twenty four hours, if they wanted to. Yet they have been taking things very cautiously.

Part of the reason the IDF seems to lack its old lightening speed is that they have had to get used to very different terrain and a whole new set of tactics on the part of Hezbollah. The IDF never dealt with fortified tunnels before in mountainous terrain. In a sense, this is the Israeli government's fault for allowing Hezbollah to consolidate major defensive positions without challenging them after Israel moved out of South Lebanon.Adjustments to tactics have been necessary, but the troops of the IDF appear to have adapted well to the changes.Winning the battle at Maroun el Ras was a major victory for the IDF and the key to the whole region. But it took some time.

Also, the IDF appears to have made a tactical decision to make a maximum effort to avoid both Israeli and civilian casualties so far as possible by letting the Air Force do a lot of the heavy lifting. They may also very well have been waiting to see the results of US Secretary of State Condi Rice's trip to Lebanon, per a request from President Bush.

As I reported earlier,both Hezbollah and the Lebanese government totally rejected Rice's position on a ceasefire as of today.

The Israelis were justifiably cautious about going deeper in to Lebanon, but (a) they have now called up enough reserves for a full scale assault (b) they just received a major airlift of militatry supplies and ammo from the US and (c)now that the diplomatic end of things is pretty much closed for now, they may very well decide to step things up a bit.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them do an end run around Hezbollah and attack from the North with paratroopers or amphibious forces,trapping Hezbollah on both sides of the Litani and pushing them towards the Syrian border...

Stay tuned...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Behold the miracle of Arab Bush and Iraq's Maliki are likely to go head to head during his visit

Tommorow, July 25th, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki visits the White House for the first time.

Expect some fireworks and for Maliki to make requests that emphasize the widening gap between US goals and the new Iraqi government.

What, you expected gratitude? Ho ho.

First on the list will undoutedly be a request to allow American troops to be tried under Iraqi law. The Iraqi government wants to score points on the home front by seeing to it that American troops should no longer receive legal immunity from Iraqi law. Don't count on the Bush Administration agreeing to that, especially since the possibility of any American troops receiving what we would consider a fair trial under the existing Iraqi courts is remote, to say the least. This is, after all, an Islamic republic they're building there.

And don't expect that lack of immunity to work both ways, Bubba. Maliki has made his support of amnesty for Iraqi `insurgents' a major political issue of his in Baghdad. He and lots of other Iraqi politicians want to to give amnesty to Iraqis who have attacked American troops, something that doesn't sit well with Congress and most Americans.

"I personally think whoever kills an American soldier in defense of his country would have a statue built for him in that country," the speaker of Parliament, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, a conservative Sunni Arab, said at a news conference on Saturday. "The parties that we cannot conciliate with are those who deliberately killed an Iraqi citizen."

More than a few Iraqi leaders are trying to force American agreement to this idiocy by threatening that the violence will continue unless pardons are given to those who say they took part in `legitimate resistance against foreign occupiers'.

Nice to know we're appreciated, hmmm?

The other two impolite topics of coversation? Try Maliki's support for his fellow Shiites in Hezbollah and in Iran.

In a word, Iran controls the Shiite elements of government in Iraq. That includes Maliki's party, Islamic Dawa which relies on armed support form - guess who?- the Iranian trained and armed Mahdi Army led by none other than our old nemesis and America hater Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr.

Al-Sadr controls important ministries and at least 30 seats in Parliament, not to mention thousands of armed men. And the other major Shiite party depends on anothe rIranian backed militia, the Badr force.

Any questions as to why the Shiite government in Iraq wants closer ties with Iran, even if it means supporting Iran against the US and opposing the use of American bases there against the mullahs in the event of a war?

By siding with Hezbollah and Iran against the Evil Zionists and the Crusaders, Maliki is just shoring up popular support among the Shiites..and dancing to the tune the Mullahs are singing from just over the border.

Because the US never confronted Iran over what amounts to open war against America in Iraq or at least saw to it that political elements with close ties to Iran stayed out of power, we simply can't depend on Iraq as an ally or even a base.

As I've written here before, what we will likely get in the end is something along the lines of `thanks infidels for your time and your money. Now get the hell out while we bond with our jihad brothers'.

I hope I'm ultimately wrong about this..but I don't think I am.

Look for President Bush to paper over these issues with photo-ops and rhetoric about how `friends can disagree'. He doesn't really have much of a choice. Neither does Maliki, who still needs US and Brit boots on the ground in Iraq in order to keep even a semblance of normality.

Our troops have performed magnificently in Iraq. But the underlying political strategy underlying our efforts there is that the idea of Arab democracy that even remotely approaches our own is possible.

Bush unfortunately forgot or never knew the ancient Arab motto: `You against me; you and me against our cousin; our clan against the other clans; our tribe against the stranger...'

Condi Rice makes a surprise trip to Beirut..and lays down tough terms for a ceasefire

US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice made a surprise trip into Beirut today to talk with Lebanon's government about ending the violence.

While obviously symphathetic about the devastation and loss of life (she brought along a US humanitarian aid package) she was also very focused in not endorsing a ceasefire without a comprehensive solution...based on neutralizing Hezbollah.

Rice told Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, an ally of Hizbollah who is also close to Syria, that a cease-fire must include Hizbollah's withdrawal beyond the Litani River, (13 miles) north of Israel, deployment of an international force in the border region and Hezbollah's reliquishing its rockets, rockets, missiles and heavy other words, UN Resolution 1559 has to be implemented.

She told Berri: "the situation on the border cannot return to what it was before July 12", referring to the day Hizbollah seized two Israeli soldiers during a raid into Israel, sparking a war in which 378 people in Lebanon and 41 Israelis have died.

Both Rice and President Bush remember that Hezbollah has murdered a lot of Americans and other nationals. A lot of members of Congress have the same opinion.

A number of Lebanese leaders have a lot more spine than their government. Druze leader Walid Jumblatt remarked that Nasrallah was behaving like Yasser Arafat in the 1982 siege of Beirut. "He is willing to let the Lebanese capital burn while he haggles over terms of surrender."

Meanwhile, Rice travels to Israel tommorow.

Neither Syria or Iran ( not to mention Hezbollah!) have any intention of waiting for the diplomatic moves to be driven by the US. Count onthem to continue to escalate thge conflict and ramp up things as much as possible.

Sooner or later, the US will have to confront both Syria and Iran.

Some clarifying comments from Hezbollah

Today's Washington Post had a story of a Hezbollah press conference that provides some clarity amid all the diplospeak about `ceasefires'. Highlighting this even more is that the statements made to reporters took place at a conference in Iran attended by the Tehran-based representative of the Palestinian group Hamas,the Iranians and the ambassadors from Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Authority in Tehran.

Hossein Safiadeen, Hezbollah's representative in Iran echoed Hezbollah leader Sheik Nasrallah's statements that Hezbollah would widen its attacks on Israel until "no place" is safe for Israelis.

"We are going to make Israel not safe for Israelis. There will be no place they are safe," Safiadeen told a conference that included the Tehran-based representative of the Palestinian group Hamas and the ambassadors from Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Authority.Those attending Monday's conference also included a top Iranian Foreign Ministry official and Gen. Mirfaisal Bagherzadeh of Iran's Revolutionary guards.

"You will see a new Middle East in the way of Hezbollah and Islam, not in the way of Rice and Israel."

"We will expand attacks," he said. "The people who came to Israel, (they) moved there to live, not to die. If we continue to attack, they will leave."

"This war will be remembered as the beginning of the end for Israel," Safiadeen said.

The Palestinian ambassador, Salah Zavavi, also weighed in and said he believes the chances for a comprehensive political solution have passed.

"The resistance groups will not accept a political end to this," Zavavi said. "They will not put down their weapons."

This is an existential war between Israel and people that do not want `negotiations', but Israel's destruction. I hope the Israelis realize that. And I hope President Bush and Condaleeza Rice realize that it isn't just the Israelis Hezbolah, the Palestinians and the Iranians are talking about.

In such things the Jews are historically merely the preliminary targets.

One of the things war does,like elections, is to provide clarity. It's well past time to take sides in this war and to understand the implications of those choices.

In other words, distasteful as it maybe to some people, this is a war on us as well as on the Jews.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Mark Steyn: `En route to a no-state solution'

Mark Steyn's new piece examines exactly how depraved things have become in the Middle East..and just how crazy things have gotten with the jihadis:

"A few years back, when folks talked airily about "the Middle East peace process" and "a two-state solution," I used to say that the trouble was the Palestinians saw a two-state solution as an interim stage en route to a one-state solution. I underestimated Islamist depravity. As we now see in Gaza and southern Lebanon, any two-state solution would be an interim stage en route to a no-state solution.

In one of the most admirably straightforward of Islamist declarations, Hussein Massawi, the Hezbollah leader behind the slaughter of U.S. and French forces 20 years ago, put it this way:

"We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you."

Swell. But, suppose he got his way, what then? Suppose every last Jew in Israel were dead or fled, what would rise in place of the Zionist Entity? It would be something like the Hamas-Hezbollah terror squats in Gaza and Lebanon writ large. Hamas won a landslide in the Palestinian elections, and Hezbollah similarly won formal control of key Lebanese Cabinet ministries. But they're not Mussolini: They have no interest in making the trains run on time. And to be honest, who can blame them? If you're a big-time terrorist mastermind, it's frankly a bit of a bore to find yourself Deputy Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Pensions, particularly when you're no good at it and no matter how lavishly the European Union throws money at you there never seems to be any in the kitty when it comes to making payroll. So, like a business that's over-diversified, both Hamas and Hezbollah retreated to their core activity: Jew-killing.

In Causeries du Lundi, Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve recalls a Parisian dramatist watching the revolutionary mob rampaging through the street below and beaming: "See my pageant passing!" That's how opportunist Arabs and indulgent Europeans looked on the intifada and the terrorists and the schoolgirl suicide bombers: as a kind of uber-authentic piece of performance art with which to torment the Jews and the Americans. They never paused to ask themselves: Hey, what if it doesn't stop there?"

Read it all... Failure to solve Palestinian question empowers Iran

Possible breaktrough in Gaza?

Yesterday,there was some noise about Hamas offering to end qassam rocket attacks on Israel in exchange for a ceasefire.

PSYCH! Not really!

Today nine Qassam rockets were fired at southern Israel from Gaza.

In the morning, seven rockets were fired, causing damage to hothouses at a kibbutz in the western Negev.

Hours later, two more rockets were fired, one falling in the town of Sderot and the other close to Kibbutz Nir Am. But no casualties.

Now, this is from Ha'aretz so I take it with a grain of salt, but apparently there IS some momentum that could lead to a ceasefire on the Gaza front.

The Hamas leadership in Gaza is supposedly ready now to halt Qassam fire as part of a cease-fire deal that would involve an end to IDF action in the Gaza Strip. Senior members of Fatah made similar claims Saturday. That also includes the setting up of a unity government for the Palestinians, which would involve Hamas giving up a substantial amount of power if it's true.

Apparently the Egyptians have been working with Hamas and Fatah on the plan, which consists of freeing abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, a joint cease-fire and the cessation of IDF assassinations in the Gaza Strip. Apparently Ismail Haniyeh and other Hamas leaders are getting nervous about their health if this keeps up.

No news on whether the Hamas political leader in Damascus, Khaled Meshal, would accept this deal..or if Hamas could enforce even if he did. Islamic Jihad almost certainly would not.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is pushing for acceptance; he met Hamas parliament members and leaders in Gaza, urging them to accept the deal before American Secretary of State Condoleezza gets there tomorrow. No wonder, as he and Fatah are the prime beneficiaries and Hamas relinquishing could get the all important aid dollars flowing again.

(Appropriate quote fromJoe Pesci in the Mafia movie `Casino'.."always the dollars, always the f**king dollars.")

Egypt is continuing to lobby Hamas leaders overseas and in Gaza to free Shalit as part of a comprehensive cease-fire deal.

Dr. Salah al-Bardawil, head of the Hamas parliamentary faction, told Haaretz that if Israel stops its actions in Gaza, most Palestinian groups would accept a cease-fire.

He added, however, that Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh already proposed a unilateral cease-fire and Israel rejected it.

Maybe that was because it didn't involve freeing Shalit and numerous Palestinian factions refused to go along with a cease-fire anyway!

Hamas leaders in Gaza are especially interested in not getting any negotiations lumped in with anything Hezbolah is doing.Bardawil stressed that there is no cooperation between Hamas and Hezbollah about the prisoner exchange negotiations.

"We don't intend to reach a joint deal. Hezbollah entered the picture after Hamas was already in it, they want their prisoners and we have ours," he said.

Funny, that's not what Hezbollah's Sheik Nasrallah said before! Could the rats be leaving Hezbollah's sinking ship?

Stay tuned..