Morning Report: November 22, 2005

Debka: Hezbollah's kidnap team hoist on own petard. Hezbollah had planned to send a specially trained team to capture an Israeli tank and crew to exhibit at Lebanese Independence Day ceremonies in Beirut today - capping a larger offensive staged by the group. Instead, the unit was intercepted and destroyed by Israeli paratroopers at Kfar Ajar, with Israel's Corporal David Markovitch killing three of the bad guys with a single burst of gunfire. Debka reports: 'This was the first time the Hizballah had sent a specially-trained motorbike commando unit into action. Its mission was to kidnap Israeli soldiers and bring them to Beirut for a macabre display in Lebanon’s Independence Day ceremonies Tuesday, Nov. 22. This was to be an act of defiance against Israel and more particularly the anti-Syrian government. DEBKAfile’s sources do not confirm it was instigated by Damascus and Tehran, as Israeli defense minister Shaul Mofaz claimed. Nasrallah may have informed both governments, but his essential motive was to grind his own axe in Lebanon. ... But most of all, the Hizballah leader sought to show up the Beirut government and prime minister Fouad Siniora as impotents. The Lebanese prime minister would not dare send troops against him to free the Israelis – even though their abduction was a brazen contravention of international law. He and his government would then be dismissed by the Lebanese people and the Arab world as nonentities. ... In fact, the offensive launched Monday, Nov. 21 at just before 15:00 hours local time, was the biggest and fiercest the Hizballah has ever carried out against Israel. According to our military sources, 500 shells and rockets were fired in five hours, at the rate of 100 per hour against military and civilian targets. Twelve Israelis were injured, two seriously. Israeli warplanes and artillery returned fire and air force helicopters chased Hizballah firing crews in southern Lebanon, killing at least 12. Nasrallah’s motorcyclist team was able to conquer both sides of Kfar Ajar, but failed in its mission to kidnap Israeli soldiers, live or dead. It ran into an ambush trap laid by an Israeli paratroop unit, which hid in a house on the Israeli side of the village. A second team was repulsed by the Israel Gladiola position on Mt. Dov. Hizballah lost another four or five men in the two raids. Nasrallah’s plan therefore boomeranged against him. Instead of snatching Israelis, Beirut is asking Israel to hand over the bodies of the Hizballah casualties.' Full analysis at the link. (Debka)

Sandmonkey: Safety vs. security in the Netherlands. Egyptian Sandmonkey has fond memories of Holland, but he's uneasy with what he sees now. 'Holland has a special place in my heart, especially Amsterdam, because it hosted nights of unpralleled debauchery and decadance on the part of me and my friends while we were still in Highschool , but let's not go into details on that. The thing I liked about Amsterdam was the high level of personal freedom it gave you as a person, and yet how this freedom did not endanger public safety in the sense that authorities in countries like the one I am in right now claim such freedom would. If anything it's there I learned that Egypt isn't a safe country -as we like to claim it is-, but rather a secure one, and there is a huge difference between safety and security. Security is when you are fine because they have police everywhere, Safety is when you are fine despite not having the police everywhere. The day when I don't see police officers or soldiers everywhere is the day I will believe that Egypt is safe to be in. That being said, it's sad now to see that Holland is inching slowly from being a Safe country to being a secured one, and the reason for it is the continued threats posed by the Islamists organizations there. Things are slowly getting weird over there, and if you are the fan of blaming the provocateur instead of the source (Also known as "blaming the rape victim" method), you can blame one woman for it all: Ayaan Hirsi Ali.' Sandmonkey cites an article at The Australian: 'A FILM about gay rights should hardly raise an eyebrow in The Netherlands, which for centuries has prided itself as a beacon of freedom of expression and was the first country to legalise gay marriage.But when Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee turned Dutch MP, started making a new film about the oppression of homosexuals under Islam, the threat to everyone taking part was deemed so great that she decided there would be no faces shown on screen and no end credits and that the entire production team would remain anonymous.' Full article at the link. (Sandmonkey, The Australian)

Belmont Club on the Pacific front. Wretchard takes a look at Jihad Islamiyya (JI) operations in Southeast Asia, and concludes: 'These global low-intensity operations complement the high-intensity battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. If operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom aimed at toppling the state sponsors of terrorism, actions such as those in Southeast Asia are directed against the terrorist cells themselves. Debate over the Murtha resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq has been curiously divorced from the context of the global strategy against terrorism; as if the reestablishment of a haven Iraq would have no effect on other parts of the War on Terror. It's also interesting to observe that Azahari, like Zarqawi in Iraq was under pressure to modify his tactics to avoid the backlash generated by excessive collateral damage caused by massive bombs. One wonders whether the enemy practice of using civilians as shields, as discussed by an anonymous Marine in the Washington Times, far from being the stroke of military genius, may in fact cost them the war.