The End of Lebanon?
The UN Security Council resolution draft on Lebanon reflects a new stage of Western colonialism in the Middle East, and perhaps a historic precedent: for the first time, the UN Security Council – should the resolution draft be endorsed – breaches the fundamental principle of the right of people under occupation to resist, and in fact legitimizes the violent partition of the sovereign state of Lebanon.
The American-French draft reflects the interests of three central colonial powers in the region: the U.S., the main colonial power in Iraq and Afghanistan; its client and proxy Israel, which is occupying the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza as well as part of Syria, and occupied south Lebanon for 22 years (1978-2000); and France, the former colonial empire in Lebanon after WWI. No wonder that the draft, which pays lip-service to Lebanon's sovereignty and territorial integrity, in fact suggests a partition of this small land.
They might want to talk to Hizbollah. They might have something to say about it.
This draft shows who is running America's policy... Israel
By Robert Fisk
So the great and the good on the East River laboured at the United Nations Security Council - and brought forth a lemon. You could almost hear the Lebanese groan at this draft resolution, a document of such bias and mendacity that a close Lebanese friend read carefully through it yesterday, cursed and uttered the immortal question: "Don't these bastards learn anything from history?"
And there it all was again, the warmed-up peace proposals of Israel's 1982 invasion, full of buffer zones and disarmament and "strict respect by all parties" - a rousing chortle here, no doubt, from Hizbollah members - and the need for Lebanese sovereignty. It didn't even demand the withdrawal of Israeli forces, a point that Walid Moallem, Syria's Foreign Minister - and the man the Americans will eventually have to negotiate with - seized upon with more than alacrity. It was a dead UN resolution without a total Israeli retreat, he said on a strategic trip to Beirut.
Crocodile tears of leaders as city burns
by Robert Fisk
Shortly after 4am, the fly-like buzz of an Israeli drone came out of the sky over my home. Coded MK by the manufacturers, Lebanese mothers have sought to lessen their children's fears of this ominous creature by transliterating it as "Um Kamel", the Mother of Kamel. It is looking for targets and at night, like all the massacres being perpetrated by the Israeli air force across southern Lebanon, you usually cannot see it.
What do you say to a man whose family is buried under the rubble?
by Robert Fisk
There were bulldozers turning over the tons of rubble, a cloud of dust and smoke a mile high over the smashed slums of Beirut's southern suburbs and a tall man in a grey T-shirt - a Brooklyn taxi driver, no less - standing on the verge of tears, staring at what may well be the grave of his grandfather, his uncle and aunt. Half the family home had been torn away and the entire block of civilian apartments next door had been smashed to the ground a few hours earlier by the two missiles that exploded in Asaad al-Assad Street.
Hizbollah's iron discipline is match for military machine
by Robert Fisk
Much bellowing and roaring comes from Israel about a mass military attack all the way to the Litani river. But today, much less bellowing and roaring about "rooting out" the "weed" of the Shia Muslim Hizbollah "terrorists" who are supposedly - in Israel's fantasies, at least - an ally of America's enemies in the War on Terror (a conflict which, of course, we all religiously support).
Dark Days Ahead
I’ve been back in Beirut for a few days now and I’m realizing just how difficult this war has been to cover from a journalistic standpoint. Thanks to the seemingly random nature of air-strikes (yes, I know they’re not really random) and the secretive nature of Hizbullah, getting close to the action has been exceedingly difficult. Hizbullah doesn’t allow reporters to tag along with them and getting to close to the receiving end of an Israeli artillery barrage is ill-advised. So it’s difficult to say what is really going on militarily. Perhaps some of the reporters who are embedded with the IDF can say, assuming the military censors let enough stuff through.
Anyway, in Beirut, the situation is growing dire. According to Nabil el-Jisr, coordinator for the Higher Relief Commission, Lebanon’s power plants have cut down on production in order to stretch out the fuel left in the country, but most estimates gives us about a week of diesel fuel for generators and about the same for gasoline supplies, even with rationing. Three-hour waits in lines get you 10 liters of gasoline these days. I stupidly rented a car after having no end of troubles with hiring drivers, but now I just mainly leave it parked in an attempt to save fuel.
Junkies of War
By Uri Avnery
Olmert wants to "gain" as many days as possible for continued fighting. What sort of gain is this? We are conquering South Lebanon as flies conquer fly-paper. Generals present maps with impressive arrows to show how Hizbullah is being pushed north. That might be convincing - if we were talking about a front-line in a war with a regular army, as taught in Staff College. But this is a different war altogether. In the conquered area, Hizbullah people remain, and our soldiers are exposed to attacks of the kind in which Hizbullah has excelled from its first day.
Lust For War
By Uri Avnery
Today,the war entered its fifth week. Hard to believe: our mighty army has now been fighting for 29 days against a "gang" and "terrorist organization", as the military commanders like to describe them, and the battle has still not been decided.
Morality is not on our side
By Ze'ev Maoz
There's practically a holy consensus right now that the war in the North is a just war and that morality is on our side. The bitter truth must be said: this holy consensus is based on short-range selective memory, an introverted worldview, and double standards.
This war is not a just war. Israel is using excessive force without distinguishing between civilian population and enemy, whose sole purpose is extortion. That is not to say that morality and justice are on Hezbollah's side. Most certainly not. But the fact that Hezbollah "started it" when it kidnapped soldiers from across an international border does not even begin to tilt the scales of justice toward our side.
Editorial: Heed the Warnings
The US and the West have good friends in the Middle East — but for how much longer? Two weeks ago Turkey’s Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul warned that even moderate Turks, angry at US support for Israel’s actions in Lebanon, were becoming anti-American.
Israel's March of Folly
Across the Middle East, Hezbollah and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, are more popular than ever. According to a New York Times story filed from Gaza, “the best-selling items for the past couple of weeks have been posters, T-shirts, buttons and coffee mugs featuring” the image of Nasrallah. Last Friday, a huge crowd of marchers took to the streets of Baghdad to show support for Hezbollah, and many smaller rallies have been held in the region.
"An Arab Guerrilla Army"
by Pat Lang
Hizbullah is proving to be something altogether new, an Arab guerrilla army with sophisticated weaponry and remarkable discipline. Its soldiers have the jihadist rhetoric of fighting to the death, but wear body armor and use satcoms to coordinate their attacks. Their tactics may be from Che, but their arms are from Iran, and not just AK-47s and RPGs. They've reportedly destroyed three of Israel's advanced Merkava tanks with wire-guided missiles and powerful mines, crippled an Israeli warship with a surface-to-sea missile, sent up drones on reconnaissance missions, implanted listening devices along the border and set up their ambushes using night-vision goggles.
The "Tabouleh Line?"
by Pat Lang
"Although the army had conquered the town, Hezbollah men were hiding in underground bunkers well camouflaged from the outside. The bunkers had been stocked with large quantities of food, enough to last for weeks, and ammunition, including antitank missiles and, in several cases, short-range rockets.
The bunkers are connected to electricity and, according to one report, are air conditioned. When the fighting dies down, Hezbollah fighters emerge from the bunkers and set up ambushes for IDF soldiers and armored vehicles.
That is why soldiers are hit repeatedly in the same places.
The Tabouleh Line - 2
by Pat Lang
"Israeli soldiers have been shaken by the fighters’ skill and commitment, describing them as an army, not a rabble. “Even I have been surprised at the tenacity of these groups fighting in the villages,” Timur Goksel, who served with UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon from 1979 to 2003, said. “They have fought far beyond my expectations and they haven’t even committed all their fully experienced troops yet.” " London Times
The Tabouleh Line - 3
One member of an Israeli tank crew who had just left Lebanon told the Guardian: "It's terrible. You do not fight anti-tank teams with tanks. You use infantry supported by artillery and helicopters. Wide valleys without shelter are the wrong place to use tanks."
Although he said Hizbullah's weapons had been supplied by Iran, Lt Col Rafowicz admitted the militants' prowess also stemmed from its morale and organisation. They are very keen to engage our forces. They are not wearing suicide bomb belts but they are not afraid to die, which makes deterrence very difficult."
Gen Nehushtan said: "We have to recognise that we will be dealing with new definitions of victory. There will be no white flags being raised on this battlefield," he said." Guardian
I am still puzzled by the assertions being made in some quarters that Hassan Nasrallah is going to accept a UN "deal" that implies that he lost the war.
Perhaps I am missing something.
Hezbollah's lack of structure its strength
As Hezbollah resists almost four weeks of Israeli air and ground operations, many analysts are calling it the most effective Arab force the Israeli army has yet faced.
The Israelis announced that 15 IDF soldiers were killed fighting in southern Lebanon today -- which I believe would make it the worst day of the war so far. The IDF claims a total of 40 Hizbullah dead.
Factoring in a moderate amount of body count inflation on the IDF's part, that looks like a 3:1 kill ratio (three Hizbullah fighters for every Israeli) or maybe even a bit lower. Not what you want to see when you're contemplating a month-long campaign to push Hizbullah all the way back to the Litani River -- a campaign that hasn't even started yet.
Fortunately, I think the Israelis are manuevering for leverage in the cease fire negotiations, and would still like to avoid actually jamming their arm up to the elbow into the meat grinder. The White House's little disinformation operation today -- calling for restraint on both sides and then guiding reporters into writing it up as "criticism" of Israel -- seemed to be designed to reinforce Israel's bluff.
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Two weeks ago Lebanon's Prime Minister was demanding an immediate cease fire while Shrub and company were insisting that only a "lasting cease fire," leading to a "permanent solution," would do.
Now it's the other way around: