Weblog Archives

  Sunday  August 20  2006    10: 31 AM


Who's the Government in Lebanon?

As predicted, Hezbollah is taking the lead in reconstruction in a significant way. Let's run through this, because it is important.

Nehme Y. Tohme, a member of Parliament from the anti-Syrian reform bloc and the country’s minister for the displaced, said he had been told by Hezbollah officials that when the shooting stopped, Iran would provide Hezbollah with an “unlimited budget” for reconstruction.

Not only did the US give Israel the green light to bomb the hell out of Lebanon, but it and its allies aren't giving the Lebanese government that sort of money, are they? And note also the oil money connection - Iran could afford to give Hezbollah all those weapons because of the price of oil. It can afford to give Hezbollah all that money because of... the price of oil. Meanwhile the US is broke and most European countries have significant budget deficits and high unemployment. While there is a demand side surge that contributed to high oil prices in the last few years, US actions, both monetarily and militarily, have contributed significantly to the rise in prices. And in so doing, the US gave Iran billions which Iran used to fight America's proxy, Israel, and win.


In the face of Bush's lies, it's left to Assad to tell the truth
by Robert Fisk

In the sparse Baathist drawing rooms of Damascus, reality often seems a long way away. But it was a sign of the times that President Bashar al-Assad was able to bring the great and the good of Damascus to their feet by the simple token of telling the truth - which no other Arab leader has chosen to do these past five weeks: that the Lebanese Hizbollah guerrilla army has, in effect, won this round of their war with Israel.


Lebanon's pain grows by the hour as death toll hits 1,300
by Robert Fisk

They are digging them up by the hour, the swelling death toll of the Lebanon conflict. The American poet Carl Sandburg spoke of the dead in other wars and imagined that he was the grass under which they would be buried. "Shovel them under and let me work," he said of the dead of Ypres and Verdun. But across Lebanon, they are systematically lifting the tons of rubble of old roofs and apartment blocks and finding families below, their arms wrapped around each other in the moment of death as their homes were beaten down upon them by the Israeli air force. By last night, they had found 61 more bodies, taking the Lebanese dead of the 33-day war to almost 1,300.


The army is back, but don't expect it to disarm Hizbollah
by Robert Fisk

Now you see them, now you don't. Hizbollah weapons? None to be seen. And none to be collected by the Lebanese army. For when this august body of men crossed the Litani river yesterday, their officers made it perfectly clear that it would not be the army's job to disarm the Hizbollah. Nor was anyone in Lebanon surprised. After all, most of the Lebanese troops here are Shias - like the Hizbollah - and in many cases, the soldiers who crossed the Litani are not only from the same southern villages but are related to the guerrillas whom they are supposed to disarm. In other words, a typical Lebanese compromise. So whither UN Security Council Resolution 1701?


A land reduced to rubble
'These places now look like French villages did after German bombardment during the First World War'

Israel strikes Hizbollah stronghold: sources

Lebanese security and Hizbollah sources said Israeli aircraft and commandos raided a Hizbollah stronghold in eastern Lebanon early on Saturday just hours after the U.N. appealed to European countries for peacekeepers.


Juan Cole has many links on this new Israeli raid.

Fallout of Failed Israeli Raid

Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports that the Israeli raid into the Biqa' was aimed at kidnapping a prominent Hizbullah leader, or possibly recovering captured Israeli soldiers. The official Israeli cover story is that they were preventing the supply of arms to Hizbullah by Syria. But that makes no sense. Why would you send a special ops team into a village near Baalbak to stop truck shipments? You would just mount an air raid on the truck. You send in a team of men to capture someone.



(Via Juan Cole) Link: QUESTION: How can the international force, or the United States if necessary, prevent Iran from resupplying Hezbollah?

BUSH: The first step is -- and part of the mandate in the U.N. resolution was to secure Syria's borders. Iran is able to ship weapons to Hezbollah through Syria. . . . In other words, part of the mandate and part of the mission of the troops, the UNIFIL troops, will be to seal off the Syrian border.

We are so screwed.


Tragedy and Farce in Lebanon

Don’t take it from me, read this gripping first-person account by an Israeli soldier of his unit’s mission to destroy a Hizballah rocket emplacement, published in the not-exactly-peacenik Jerusalem Post. His unit spends the first couple of days of its mission evacuating its wounded, after Hizballah fighters killed nine and wounded 40 by firing an antitank rocket into a house the Israelis had occupied. Then they spend two days on a quick march to their intended target, but when a helicopter drops off drinking water and explosives, it is taken out by a Hizballah surface-to-air missile, and once again the unit is preoccupied with evacuating the wounded. It’s a gripping piece, that communicates exactly how little the Israelis managed to accomplish in their ground offensive. Extracts:

Knowing we were in the area but unsure of our precise whereabouts, Hezbollah operatives in the hills surrounding us launched missiles and mortars shells randomly into the homes in the village through the night. Automatic gunfire was everywhere and we had no way of knowing if it was theirs or ours.