2006-07-31

Night Flashes

Fidel Castro cedes power to brother: 'Fidel Castro, 79, would never give up power, even temporarily and to his own brother, if he weren't facing a serious medical crisis.' ... shots fired across Korean border - the Norks fired two rounds and the good guys shot back with six, I guess that's "disproportionate response" - anyway, not a peep out of the commies since then ...

The world's favorite disproportionate responder continues to send lots of rounds downrange, and Olmert says don't hold your breath waiting for that cease-fire: 'Olmert said bluntly that military operations would not end until Hizbullah had been pushed back from the northern border and its ability to harm Israel’s citizens neutralized' ... while 'Military sources said Monday night that the IDF now would make a concerted effort to achieve ground success through operations that the army has avoided until now' ... and Assad is focusing on 'regional challenges' ...

Meanwhile, that guy in the green helmet sure gets around ...

Military Equity Alliance Calls for an End to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Winds of Change: Military Equity Alliance calls for an end to military anti-gay discrimination.
What I will say is that the US military has lost many good people to this policy already - and it isn't the military's fault. It's Congress who sets the rules, and that's where change must happen.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: gays should be allowed to serve openly. If we're at war, and we're serious about it, we should be serious enough to get the obstacles out of their way.

Here's the article cited by Joe Katzman:
Roxie Hoven considers herself a patriot, a preserver of freedom who was willing to work - and die - for her country. All the while, she felt oppressed.

During her nine years in the Navy, Hoven hid the fact that she is a lesbian. She made no hint of her sexual orientation but, she said, she endured harassment that eventually led her to leave the Navy. The military interviewed her co-workers and friends, interrogated her three times and threatened to search her home, she said.

Hoven was honorably discharged in 1995 after nine years of service.

No one else should experience that, Hoven told more than 50 people Saturday during a two-hour town hall meeting at the Fred Heutte Center. She and three other gay veterans from Virginia spoke out against the military's 13-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy. ...

News Roundup

Muslim attacker shoots six Jewish women in Seattle, killing one. Via Pajamas Media, the Seattle Times: 'All around Seattle on Saturday, people were grieving for Pamela Waechter, a woman they said was a mediator, a major contributor to the Jewish community, a force for bringing so many cultures together. ... Ms. Waechter was working at the Jewish Federation downtown Friday afternoon when a man walked into the building with a gun, announced that he was Muslim, said he was angry at Israel and shot six women, one after another. Ms. Waechter, annual-campaign director for the federation, died there. She was 58.' Gay Patriot weighs in on hate crimes and terrorism. Some details on that shooting:
SEATTLE — The man suspected in a fatal shooting rampage hid behind a potted plant in a Jewish charity's foyer and forced his way through a security door by holding a gun to a 13-year-old girl's head, the police chief said Saturday.

Once inside, police say, Naveed Afzal Haq opened fire with two semiautomatic pistols. One woman, Pam Waechter, 58, of Seattle was killed at the scene. Five more women were wounded.

Haq, 30, was ordered held on $50 million bail Saturday pending formal charges of murder and attempted murder.

Haq, a Muslim, told authorities he was angered by the war in Iraq and U.S. military cooperation with Israel.


Qana: Civilian deaths follow IDF attack, but connection unclear. Arlene Kushner, thru Israpundit: 'It appears that in the course of Israeli bombing in the Lebanese village of Qana, a building collapsed and some 60 civilians, including women and children, were killed. (See below as to why I say “it appears.”) It is exceedingly likely that you will have heard about this from various media sources and, at the same time, heard about what heartless and vicious people we Israelis are. ... Then there is this significant information: There was a roughly eight hour time lapse from when Israel targeted the building (about midnight) and when it collapsed (8 am). The IDF is now saying they cannot account for this. It is conceivable that the building was weakened and took time to buckle. But there is another possibility: That it was an explosion of Hezbollah stored weaponry that brought the building down and not the Israeli bombing.' And speaking of timing, Power Line showcases some mighty fast work by Arab graphics people.

LGF takes a look at Hezbollah weapons. Little Green Footballs posts photos - a veritable international arms bazaar - of weapons seized from Hezbollah. The little item pictured in the third, fourth, and fifth photos looks mighty familiar to this blogger.

Sydney synagogue vandalized. LGF: 'The Mufti of Australia, Sheikh Taj el-Din al Hilaly, last seen at LGF marching in a demonstration with thousands of Hizballah supporters, now acts surprised that a synagogue was attacked in Sydney.'

Mel Gibson's epiphany: Alcoholism, not Jews, the cause of his troubles. Mel Gibson has apologized for a string of anti-Semitic statements uttered after his arrest for drunk driving Friday night: "I disgraced myself and my family with my behavior and for that I am truly sorry. I have battled with the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse."

Atlas Posts from Israel

If you haven't already, go read Atlas Shrugs. Some of us are reading and writing about Israel ... but people like Atlas go there. Check out her coverage of the mysterious seven-hour gap, the Cedar Revolution's condemnation of Hezbollah (if I read another NYT puff piece calling a pro-Hezbollah demonstration "pro-Lebanese", I'm gonna puke), and Syria's chemical missiles.

Stay safe, Pamela.

2006-07-28

Venus, Mars, an Australian Passport, and Belgian Chocolate

Congratulations to Zoe, the brains behind A. E. Brain, on the first anniversary of her transition. You go, girl!

Go check out Zoe's blog. Liberal, pro-Bush, and a space geek ... what's not to like?

2006-07-27

Update

Light posting to follow. I'm finding it necessary to focus on wrapping up a number of loose ends in my personal life - mostly unfinished pet projects and the like - so I will not attempt to post here on a daily basis until, probably, after mid-August. Morning Report will be going on leave.

In addition to those minor pet projects, there's one major project I want to devote some energy to - fiction writing. There's a space-based SF story I've been writing in serial form (meaning I have no idea where it's going) and I want to make some progress on this, and possibly finish it up. With that done, I should then be free to develop some ideas in a more serious way. And then ... ? Maybe try for print publication? Who knows?

Pacific Memories is finished. One project that I worked on sporadically for almost two years, I finally completed in a big burst of energy earlier this week. Pacific Memories is my father's unfinished memoir from World War II, which I've transcribed from his typewritten manuscript and posted on Blogger.

The manuscript was among my father's personal papers, which I retrieved from the basement of the family house at the time of my mother's death in 2003. I don't know when it was written.

I wish I could tell you that it's a tale of non-stop, thrilling combat action, but that's not what my Dad wrote. In fact, it appears he abandoned the project just before the real excitement started: the unwritten sixteenth chapter is titled "Marching Through New Georgia", but that's all he wrote, a title page with nothing after it. (Thanks, Dad! Grrrr.) Perhaps the fighting on New Georgia was so fierce that he trembled at the very thought of setting it down on paper? I'll never know.

But what he did write remains a detailed, down-to-earth, entertaining and witty account of the 37th Infantry Division's progress through the Pacific towards an ever-closer Japanese threat. Read it for the interest of a first-hand account of the Second World War, written by an intelligent and sensitive man who had quite a way with words.

Wilderness Vision. Another posthumous collection I've posted to the web is Wilderness Vision, a collection of my sister's poetry. (Stephanie died in 1992, at the age of 28.) If you haven't yet, pay a visit. She was extraordinarily gifted. The site represents nearly all of her extant poetry - over 50 poems - and includes pieces written when she was as young as 12. The poems are not arranged in any particular order. Some of these works earned her prizes in the Scholastic competitions from 1977 to 1981. I'm in possession of a box full of her manuscripts and letters, which I'm continuing to organize with an eye to producing a coherent narrative of her life and work - agan, maybe for print publication some day. But I don't plan any further updates to the website.

You can read her fiction at the site Iridescence. Some of the works are unfinished or fragmentary. Also, my father's creative writing is posted at Urban Renewal.

One more important site. This hasn't been my favorite site to work on, but I consider it one of the most important: The Iraqi Holocaust. I am no longer actively updating this, although I may add new material at a later date, perhaps in connection with the trial of Saddam Hussein. If you know somebody who believes that "the Iraq war war wrong", please consider sending them a link to The Iraqi Holocaust. Thanks.

Finally, one thing I've been feeling the need to do is to take some time off to just read and study about the Middle East - and about history and culture in general. Lately I've been feeling as if I'm just scratching the surface - there's so much going on, and I'm struggling to keep up with it, but I'd like to be able to write with a little more depth. I've got several books lined up on the shelf, plus I may set aside some time to read through the old Iraq the Model archives. Hopefully cutting back on quantity will allow me to improve the quality.

So, stay tuned. Posting will continue here, but at a more deliberate pace until I feel like I'm caught up on other stuff. Don't go away.

(Besides, where else could you read an epic-length post explaining why posting is going to be light?)

Lavender Alert

Washington State Supreme Court upholds marriage ban. Basic Rights Oregon:
This morning, the Washington Supreme Court issued a decision in Andersen v. King County, a consolidated case regarding Washington's ban on same-sex marriage.

The Court's lead opinion was authored by Justice Barbara Madsen, holding the Washington "Defense of Marriage Act" does not violate the Washington State Constitution. This decision overturns trial court decisions in King and Thurston Superior Courts in this case.

Signing Justice Madsen's opinion are Chief Justice Gerry Alexander and Associate Chief Justice Charles W. Johnson. Two members of the Court, Justices James M. Johnson and Richard B. Sanders agreed with the majority in result only, using a separate legal rationale in a concurring opinion authored by Justice James M. Johnson. Chief Justice Gerry Alexander also issued a separate concurrence in this case.

The Court had three dissenting opinions, one authored by Justice Mary E. Fairhurst which was signed by Justices Bobbe J. Bridge, Tom Chambers and Susan J. Owens. Justices Bridge and Chambers also issued separate dissents in this case.


Charges filed in Maine vandalism case. A lesbian couple in Poland, Maine were the victims of an appalling, homophobia-driven property crime. Now, charges have been filed against two juveniles as citizens rally in support of the victims. PlanetOut: 'More than 200 people, including the governor of Maine, gathered Saturday in Portland, Me., to support a lesbian couple whose home was rendered uninhabitable in what prosecutors are calling a hate crime. On Friday, the state attorney general's office filed a complaint against two boys, 12 and 14, under Maine's hate crimes law, one of the few such laws in the United States to recognize sexual orientation. Anti-gay bias motivated the boys to vandalize the Poland, Me., home of Linda Boutaugh and Keri Fuchs on July 1, according to police. The boys broke into the couple's mobile home late June 30, destroying furniture and appliances, breaking windows and spraying pesticides. Valuables, including a box that contained Fuch's father's ashes, were stolen. A car was severely damaged, and feces and urine were left in the car and the home.' 247Gay.com: 'More than 150 people braved the threat of rain and showed up at the rally in Monument Square, which was organized by Equality Maine. The crowd heard from a procession of speakers, including officials such as Gov. John Baldacci and Attorney General Steven Rowe, who denounced the incident and voiced support for Boutaugh and Fuchs. "I find that what happened in Poland was reprehensible," Gov. John Baldacci said, reports The Globe. "I came to the rally today to show my support on this issue. What happened here is not indicative of Maine people or Maine values." The couple, who drove to the rally from where they are now staying in East Millinocket, received long rounds of applause, even as they sometimes struggled to speak. "This is so very overwhelming," Fuchs told the audience, reports the Morning Sentinel.'

Marriage advocates launch ad campaign. AP via Gay.com: 'Three major gay rights groups are taking out full-page advertisements starting Tuesday in 50 newspapers nationwide declaring their determination to keep fighting for same-sex marriage rights despite recent court setbacks. The media campaign will cost $250,000; its organizers said it was the largest-ever purchase of print ad space by gay rights supporters. Roberta Sklar of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said the ads would run in papers around the country, from the New York Times to The Gazette of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to gay weeklies in Houston, Atlanta and San Diego.'

Advances and setbacks in eastern Europe. Slovenia has legalized lesbian and gay civil unions with some ceremonial restrictions to make sure those people don't get the idea that they're, like, actually getting married or anything:
The Balkan republic of Slovenia has legalized same-sex unions but put restrictions on the ceremony, United Press International reported Monday. The measure allowing gay and lesbian couples to register their partnership went into effect Sunday, according to Belgrade's B92 radio station. Slovenia's gay and lesbian organizations, while welcoming the move as a concrete step, criticized the law as "insufficient," noting that it limits those attending the ceremonies to two partners and a local community registration official. Friends, relatives or any third person are barred from attending the ceremonies, which can be held only in a state office.

Meanwhile, more than two dozen people have been detained in Latvia for anti-gay attacks during a recent Pride celebration in Riga:
The charges stem from attacks on people who attended a Pride-themed service at the Anglican Church in Riga as part of the weekend festival, officially dubbed "Friendship Days." Anti-gay protesters threw tomatoes, eggs and bags of liquid excrement at people entering the church service, including European Parliament member Sophie Int'veld of the Netherlands, and riding buses to other Pride events. "Unhappily for the fascists, a number of the victims then went to a press conference for the foreign media. Thus, this hate crime was not only disseminated worldwide, but the journalists were able to experience first-hand the stench," a representative of Mozaika, one of the groups that organized Riga's Pride, wrote in a letter published Monday by UK Gay News.


Survey tracks healthcare experiences for lesbians, gay men. A recent survey finds something astonishing: gender bias in health care. 365Gay.com: 'A new study on LGBT health care shows that doctors react more negatively to women than to men who reveal they are gay. The study was conducted in New Zealand and forms part of the "Lavender Island" project - the first major study to be undertaken in the country about access to health care by members of the LGBT community. The results are reported in the latest issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursing. Researchers at Massey University surveyed 2,269 lesbian, gay and bisexual people to discover how they felt about revealing their sexuality and the reaction of primary healthcare providers, such as family doctors and practice nurses, when they did.'

Commentary. One of the problems of today's world is that the political landscape casts activists into two camps. On the one side, the "left-wingers" who see oppression everywhere except where it is most severe, that is, in the fascist regimes of the Middle East. And on the other side, "right-wingers", who are invested in emphasizing the virtues of Western society and so overlook its shortcomings, or worse, who tell activists that they should be grateful that they live in a society are not being stoned to death and should therefore shut up and stop complaining.

I refuse to join either of these groups. The search for justice isn't confined to one society, and addressing one set of issues does not - or should not - prejudice the importance of other issues. I expect that my regular readers understand this.

Where We Are Now

I just finished an evening of phone banking with Basic Rights Oregon. The woman I worked with was fired from her last three jobs because she is a lesbian.

Now, I'm glad I live in America. I'm glad I don't live in a fascist theocratic state where I have to live in fear of being tortured or executed by the government because I'm lesbian, or gay, or don't fit my socially-ordained gender role. That's great.

But we've still got a long way to go.

Condi: "We will prevail. They will not."

Via Arutz Sheva:
Visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Tuesday called for a new Middle East, the same phrase former US President Bill Clinton used when promoting the Oslo peace plans in the 1990s.

"It is time for a new Middle East," she said. "It is time to say to those that don't want a different kind of Middle East that we will prevail. They will not." She spoke with leaders of the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Whereas President Clinton's plan was based on proposed agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization headed by Yasser Arafat, Secretary Rice said an end to violence must be conditional. American officials are not interested in returning to the Middle East to repeat current efforts to stop terrorists from disrupting a cease fire, she explained.

Shazia Khalid Awaits Justice

The Muslim Woman:
The Sui rape incident dates back to January 2005, when Dr. Shazia Khalid, the 30-year-old doctor was blindfolded and raped in a dark room. This rape case triggered off a gory conflict among the Pakistan Army the tribal community. The Bugti tribesmen accused Captain Imaad (Officer Defence Security Guards} of committing the heinous crime.

TOI report:

“‘If you scream, I’ll take it and burn you alive…”

Read the rest at the link.

Self-Hating Queers Defend Mideast Fascists

Jeremayakovka documents one of the worst cases of internalized homophobia in the queer community: the love affair with the anti-Israel, pro-jihadi cause.
For several years, the misfit outfits "Queers for Palestine" and "Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism" (QUIT) have militated for the destruction of Israel under the banner of agitating for Palestinian rights. They have done so since the 2000 resumption of the Arab war-by-Palestinian-proxy against the Jews (also known as "the al-Aqsa Intifada"), and maybe from before. If you live in the real world you probably have never heard of "Queers for Palestine" and "QUIT," but the sad fact is that they are a freak-show fixture of the lib/rad "scene" in and around the San Francisco intergalactic zip code and beyond.

"Queers for Palestine" and "QUIT" consistently:

* oppose Israeli anti-terrorist operations in the Palestinian territories;
* endorse divestment from the region's most thriving economy (and most thriving democracy); and, most notoriously . . .
* endorse the Arab demographic atom bomb aimed at the heart of Israeli civil society, the so-called "right of return" ...

Go to the link for the rest.

2006-07-24

Morning Report: July 24, 2006

Where are they hiding? Perhaps feeling the pressure from Israel and America, Syria's government finds itself ready to share some important information. Meanwhile Israel hits a big target in Gaza - but finds the ones in Lebanon more elusive.

Rice in Beirut. Tammy Bruce: 'Now in the Middle East, Secretary Rice made an unannounced trip to Beirut and has met with their prime minister. And while the MSM continues to paint the ongoing violence as some sort of "failure" of the president's Middle East policy and the WoT, a funny thing happened on the way to killing Hezbollah and smashing that puppet of Syria and Iran--Syria is now reportedly offering to reveal where al-Qaida is in Lebanon.' News.com Australia from AFP: 'SYRIA is prepared to tell the US the whereabouts of al-Qaeda cells in Lebanon, Britain's Sky News television reported today. Sky News said they had spoken to Syrian cabinet minister Amr Salem. "Syria has real hard knowledge," the channel quoted him as saying.' (Tammy Bruce)

Israel strikes Gaza weapons depot. Arutz Sheva: 'The IDF attacked Monday a production and storage warehouse in Gaza. The warehouse was used to store rockets to be fired at Israel. The Islamic Jihad terrorist organization ran the warehouse. After the attack secondary explosions were observed at the warehouse demonstrating the existence of explosives at the site.' Jerusalem Post: 'The IAF, along with Southern Command, struck a weapons storehouse belonging to the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip on Monday. Palestinians reported that explosions ensued in the Zeitoun neighborhood.' (A7, JPost)

Nasrallah: Rockets will keep coming. Debka: He's right. Debka gives a somber assessment of Israel's situation in Lebanon: 'DEBKAfile’s military analysts say that the way the Israel-Hizballah war has been prosecuted up until Monday, July 24, is more likely to bring Nassrallah closer to his war objectives than Olmert. Notwithstanding the IDF’s important battle gains at a number of focal South Lebanese points in the last 24 hours – including the latest raids on the outskirts of Bint Jubeil on the heels of the capture of Maroun er Ras – only one multiple firing rocket launcher (picture) and 6 single-barrel launchers have been destroyed.' Go to the link to see what that multiple firing rocket launcher looks like. Which brings us to the article's second key point: 'Last week, Israel’s army chiefs believed they had encountered Hizballah’s primary war tactic – Viet Cong-style guerrilla warfare out of hundreds of small bunkers scattered across the country. This week had scarcely begun when a still more formidable impediment was discovered: Hizballah camouflage techniques borrowed from the Japanese in the 1945 Iwo Jima battle. To stop the rockets coming, Israeli special forces must continue to blow up the tunnels and also adopt the methods the US Army’s methods for overcoming the Japanese dug in at Iwo Jima and other Pacific islands at the end of World War II. Without regard to losses, they stormed Japanese dug-in positions and camouflaged units. using flame throwers and gasoline to burn the foliage concealing the enemy.' (Debka)

Commentary. The Belmont Club's Saturday post offers a roundup of positions held by Israel and observes: 'Two things should be observed. First, none of the villages which the IDF wants evacuated are beyond the Litani. Second, the villages are all in central and eastern Lebanon.' Responding to a reader comment, Wretchard adds: 'I think the situation also creates certain diplomatic opportunities. Hezbollah has two objectives it must defend. The first is its logistical lifeline to the Bekaa. If it can't control that, it has to fall back on its supply. But the second objective is even more intriguing. Hezbollah must preserve its political position in Beirut. ... By taking on the Israelis, with respect to internal Lebanese politics, the Hez entered into a two-front war. The resources it must expend to find the IDF it must strip from its internal security. This creates opportunities for diplomats. The Hez must at some point choose between keeping their influence in Lebanon against their rivals or continuing the campaign against the IDF.'

Another commenter says: 'It's a long time since I read "The Tunnels of Cu Chi". If I recall its conclusions correctly, the US Army never really gained secure control in the are basically because they'd just sweep in whack whatever they could for just a few days and go back to base. The Marines were much more effective successful because they took position on top of the tunnels and stayed for weeks there playing whack-a-cong until there was nothing left to whack. The B-52's were used quite late in the war. The IDF have surely read the book, I expect they'll base their tactics on Marine success.'

Also via Belmont Club comments, Michael Oren writes: 'srael may hammer Lebanon into submission, and it may deal Hezbollah a crushing blow, but as long as Syria remains hors de combat, there is no way that Israel can effect a permanent change in Lebanon's political labyrinth and ensure an enduring cease-fire in the north. ... The answer lies in delivering an unequivocal blow to Syrian ground forces deployed near the Lebanese border. By eliminating 500 Syrian tanks -- tanks that Syrian President Bashar Al Assad needs to preserve his regime -- Israel could signal its refusal to return to the status quo in Lebanon.'

2006-07-21

Morning Report: July 21, 2006

Boots on the ground. Air strikes are a powerful weapon, but as every infantryman knows, ground isn't secure until a grunt walks on it. We know Israel has been making significant ground incursions into Lebanon over the past few days, but it appears the main event is just ahead.

Israel set to invade Lebanon. Tammy Bruce: 'The New York Post has all the details, plus additional updates. I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I think with Secretary Rice leaving for Israel Sunday any invasion will happen after that meeting. It's difficult to believe that our Secretary of State would arrive in a nation which has just launched an invasion of another country. Not because we don't support it, just because everyone would be rather, uh, busy. It would also be sweet for the invasion to occur just after she leaves once again illustrating to the Islamist savages and the rest of the world that we like what Israel is doing and we support it. The UN must feel very, very irrelevant right now. And poor Jack Chirac. Talk about a reminder that one is meaningless.' Donald Sensing: 'Israeli military and political leaders must have known from the beginning that Hezbollah would not simply cut and run simply because of air attacks. Israel’s operation is unfolding as a phased plan. The ground phase has been planned all along, though not necessarily always set for execution. Olmert’s government and the general staff surely wish there was another way to achieve their goals.' (Tammy Bruce, Donald Sensing)

Names of Israeli KIAs released. Debka: 'Four Israeli soldiers killed on second day of major Maroun er Ras battle in S. Lebanon Thursday: Major Binyamin Hilman, 27, from Raanana, 1st Sgt. Rafan-El Muskal, 21, from Mazkeret Batiya, 1st Sgt. Nadav Balua, 21, from Carmiel. The fourth name has not been released.' (Debka)

IAF destroys three Katyusha launch units. Jerusalem Post: 'The IAF destroyed three Katyusha launching cells in southern Lebanon on Friday evening. One cell was deployed in Tyre, while the other two were stationed in the village of Tibnin in south Lebanon, Channel 2 reported.' (JPost)

Armed terrorist shot dead. Arutz Sheva: 'An armed terrorist was shot and killed by IDF soldiers in Palestinian Authority (PA) controlled Shechem. There are no reports of injuries to IDF soldiers.' (A7)

Truck smuggling nuclear material to Iran seized in Bulgaria. The Intelligence Summit: 'One truckload of radioactive material was seized recently in Bulgaria with the final destination to Tehran, Iran. The shipment was rumored to have originated in the UK. Bulgaria's customs officers intercepted early Wednesday morning a Turkish truck carrying radioactive material, as the driver was attempting to cross the border with Romania at the Danube Bridge checkpoint at Russe. The truck's hazardous load triggered an alarm while it passed the radioactive check system and the customs officers alerted the Nuclear Regulatory Agency(NRA), officials from the agency announced. The radioactive emissions were three to ten times higher than the natural gamma-background of Russe. The truck was going from England to Turkey. Emissions were strongest at the front of the truck where experts believe that the cargo is located. The strongest emission measured right next to the cargo is 28 mSv/h, which is about 200 times higher than the natural gamma background of the regions. Three meters away from the truck, however, the levels fall back within the normal values. Spectral analysis have shown that the truck is carrying radioactive source 137Cs, and have detected a source of neutron emission.' (TIS)

Commentary. The Belmont Club weighs in: 'If the road behind the Lebanese border is taken by the IDF, Hezbollah resupply from the Syrian border via the Bekaa may become more difficult. It will also complicate efforts to relocate rockets or caches which have been deployed in the area. The downside of having 13,000 rockets is that they become a very heavy thing to move.' Full analysis, with map, at the link.

Assuming the Israeli ground assault happens and is effective, the anti-Israel left will have a bitter pill to swallow. So will the United Nations. One of the nastier surprises for the Israeli side was the discovery of just how extensive and well-equipped the Hezbollah forces in Lebanon were. (My, but those nice boys from the UN were certainly doing a fine job!) But this isn't going to deter the Israelis from finishing the job.

It is one thing for a well-equipped air force to fire precision-guided bombs and missiles at targets on the ground; it is quite another for soldiers to go in on foot and confront the enemy face-to-face. Already the Israelis lost two men when an unoccupied enemy bunker turned out to be occupied. Undoubtedly there will be more unpleasant surprises to come.

That the Israelis understand the need to take such risks underscores the seriousness of the danger they are facing - and I believe observers around the world will understand this as well.

For Americans and their allies, there will be another aspect: because right now, at this moment, our countrymen and women are also fighting a cruel and implacable enemy in the Middle East. We are all soldiers fighting the same war.

As Americans reflect on the commonality between their own fighters and the Israelis', it will be harder for the anti-Israel left to maintain the fiction that "we're not anti-Jewish". The American public is coming to understand the nature of the enemy we are fighting, and the importance of victory. As DFME reminds us, it is a question of resisting genocide.

2006-07-20

Night Flashes

Debka says one-third of Israel is a warfront with 1,600 Hezbollah rockets hitting Israel in eight days ... walking softly but carrying a big stick, Israeli ground forces enter Lebanon ... some analysts say Hezbollah's attack was the product of weeks of coordination with the Iranian regime ... Israel carried out some 150 aerial attacks on Hezbollah including a strike on a suspected Fajr-3 launcher ... Rice meets with Annan ...

2006-07-19

Morning Report: July 19, 2006

The war, and other matters. A natural disaster claims lives in Indonesia, while the Israel/Hezbollah conflict burns hotter.

Indonesia: Tsunami/quake death toll tops 500. CNN: 'The death toll from an earthquake and resulting tsunami that smashed into fishing villages and resorts on Indonesia's Java island has reached 525 with 273 people missing, officials have said. Another 383 people were injured after waves as high as three meters (10 feet) lashed out at almost 200 kilometers (124 miles) of Java's southern coast on Monday.' (CNN)

Jacques Chirac on the virtues of disporportionate response. BBC: 'French President Jacques Chirac has said France would be ready to use nuclear weapons against any state which launched a terrorist attack against it. Speaking at a nuclear submarine base in north-western France, Mr Chirac said a French response "could be conventional. It could also be of another nature." He said France's nuclear forces had been configured for such an event.' (BBC)

Katyusha attack on Nazareth kills two children. Jerusalem Post: 'At least three people were killed, two of them children, when Katyusha rockets fell in the Nazareth area on Wednesday night, ZAKA reported. The rockets apparently hit a home directly.' Arutz Sheva: 'Two children, ages eight and ten years old, were killed in the Katyusha rocket attacks on the city of Nazareth a short time ago. Twelve people suffered light injuries. The injured were evacuated to the English and Italian hospitals located in the city.' Debka has more details: 'Katyusha rocket hits Nazareth house, two children of 8 and 10 killed and an adult, twelve injured. The victims were Israeli Arabs. Some 80 Katyusha rockets in a 10-minute span struck a number of empty buildings across Galilee Wednesday afternoon. Haifa, Carmiel, Tiberias and Safed suffered several barrages Wednesday, which caused damage but few casualties. The smaller villages of Reches Ramim, Givat Avni and Kiryat Tivon also took punishment. But most of the rockets hit houses whose residents had fled to safety in the South. Rockets started several fires and caused heavy damage to the Hula Valley’s farm crops. ...' (JPost, A7, Debka)

Israeli Air Force strikes Hezbollah bunker in Beirut. Arutz Sheva: 'sraeli air force planes bombed a Hizbullah bunker in Beirut this afternoon. The bunker is located in the Dahiya neighborhood of the city, a Shi'ite area known to be housing the headquarters and offices of Hizbullah. Two routes used by Hizbullah terrorists for transport of men and material to the south were also hit.' (A7)

Debka: Fighting heavier, deeper than reported. Debka reports: 'Israel’s ground operations in Lebanon and strikes against Syria are clandestine and go well beyond official statements. ... Ground incursions extend to central and eastern Lebanon as well as the south, targeting Hizballah strongholds and launching sites, and include several cross-border raids into Syria in pursuit of fleeing Hizballah terrorists and for the interception of incoming groups. Weapons convoys destined for Hizballah are also being struck on the Syrian side of the border. To conceal the extent of their losses, Hizballah has instructed its people not to hold burials.' Another recent article speaks of an "epic" battle following the discovery of extensive underground fortifications used by Hezbollah. (Debka)

US sends 9 warships to Lebanon waters. The Intelligence Summit via AFP: 'The United States on Tuesday ordered nine warships to waters off the Lebanese coast amid fears of possible terrorist attacks on ships evacuating US nationals, officials said. Though only 124 Americans have been brought out so far, the State Department defended the speed of the evacuation, calling it "highly organized, very efficient, very active."' (TIS)

"It is an Iranian war." Internet Haganah quoting Yaakov Amidror of JCPA:
• Israel's current military operations to uproot Hizballah and to destroy it as a formidable military and terror organization is not merely an operation against another determined terror group like Hamas in Gaza. Hizballah has a disciplined, well-trained army with sophisticated weaponry, backed directly by Syria and Iran.

• A high-level Iranian official recently emphasized to Western diplomats in London Hizballah's importance to Iran: "Hizballah is one of the pillars of our security strategy, and forms Iran's first line of defense against Israel." Walid Jumblatt, the Lebanese Druze leader, shares this perspective: "The war is no longer Lebanon's...it is an Iranian war. Iran is telling the United States: You want to fight me in the Gulf and destroy my nuclear program? I will hit you at home, in Israel."

• Iran's Revolutionary Guards provide the majority of Hizballah's weaponry, financing, instruction, and strategic command and control. Hizballah's short- and medium-range missiles are manufactured in Iran and exported to Lebanon via the Damascus International Airport. Iranian officers from the Revolutionary Guards are on the ground in Lebanon, playing active roles in supervising terror actions and training Hizballah operatives to launch rockets against Israel.

• The only way to defeat an insurgency is to first isolate it from external reinforcement. Israel is seeking to cut off Hizballah from Syria and Iran and isolate it from the rest of Lebanon. Syria appears undeterred from continuing its wartime supplies to the Hizballah insurgency, as it has been undeterred in supplying the Sunni insurgency in Iraq.

• Israel must carry out its current military operation against Hizballah until it is fully neutralized, isolated, and disarmed. It would be nothing short of catastrophic for both Israel and the international community if diplomatic efforts result in Israel being forced to end its military operation prematurely.

2006-07-14

War Bulletin: The Fall of Two Capitals

Hezbollah strikes Egyptian, Israeli ships with UAVs. CTB:
The conflict between Israel and Hezbollah has escalated, as Hezbollah has conducted two sea strikes against an Israeli warship and an Egyptian civilian ship, possibly a cruise liner. While initial reports are stating an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was used to ram the ships, an anonymous intelligence official indicates the Egyptian ship was struck by a UAV launched antitank missile. According to the intelligence official, the Egyptian ship was hit with a Raad anti-tank missile (this is a different weapon than the Raad rockets fired against the city of Haifa.)

The two attacks occurred earlier today, as Hezbollah struck an Israeli Saar 5 navy gunship off the coast of Lebanon. Four Israeli seamen are missing and the ship has been damaged badly enough the Israeli Defense Force pulled it out of service. "It's the first time the terrorist group -- any terrorist group -- has used a drone in combat, as far as I know," said DefenseTech's Noah Schachtman. The current reports states an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle laden with explosives hit the Israeli warship.

The Egyptian civilian ship was hit during the same attack on the Israeli warship. "At the same time as the incident took place in which an Israeli ship was hit, a merchant ship was also hit," an Israeli spokeswoman stated, according to Reuters. Initial reports, which as of yet are unconfirmed, indicate the Egyptian vessel may have been a cruise ship.

The fact that two separate ships were struck at the same time, very likely with UAV fired antitank missiles, indicates a level of sophistication far beyond that of Hezbollah. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and Imad Mugniyah clearly have a hand in these operations. ...

Freedom for Egyptians on the future. FFE: 'Syria’s regime has always played its cards under the table while maintaining other players on the stage to act on its behalf. The sole defender, protector and creator of the failure that’s called pan-Arabism is Syria. The project that has brought despotism, dictatorship and failed regimes to rule in the Middle East was created by this fascist regime. Time for a confrontation… ... Along the history, it is well known that the Middle East was not handed from one empire to another except at least with the fall of two capitals; Baghdad was one and Damascus is coming!' Freedom for Egyptians is one of my favorite bloggers worldwide; I strongly recommend reading her entire post. It's excellent.

The lesser players. Amarji:
Well, Nasrallah is definitely far more charismatic and eloquent than Saddam has ever been, but no less foolish. He will get the entire Arab street on his side, just like Saddam had done before, but most Arab governments will stand against it. True, Syria and Iran and Hamas will try to support it, that and its arsenal of missile and rockets, is its trump card, but one that can be rendered useless, if the Israelis decide that it is all worth it, and if they act in coordination with the US, which is more likely than people think.

No one shies from war anymore, so long as the only real existentialist threat they could pose is a pospect that, in the final analysis, only “lesser players” would have to deal with. We are those players.


Syria to aid Hezbollah. JPost: 'Syria stated that it will come to the defense of Hizbullah and Lebanon, Fox News reported early Saturday.' Ha'Aretz: '"The Syrian people are ready to extend full support to the Lebanese people and their heroic resistance to remain steadfast and confront the barbaric Israeli aggression and its crimes," said a communique from the party's national command issued after a meeting. It said Israel and the United States "are trying to wipe out Arab resistance in every land under occupation" and that President Bashar Assad was aware of the seriousness of the situation in the region.'

Latest Stratfor bulletins.
0451 GMT - An Israeli raid targeting a gas station in Sidon, Lebanon, early July 15 reportedly wounded three civilians. Israel has also bombed more roads in the south, Hezbollah's Al Manar television reports.

0202 GMT - Syrian officials said July 14 that the United States and Israel are trying to eliminate Arab resistance in every occupied land, Reuters reported.

0136 GMT - A runway at the airport in Beirut, Lebanon, was repaired July 14 to allow six planes to leave, CNN reported. The United States reportedly helped arrange a deal to evacuate the planes, one of which carried former Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati. The runway was later bombed again by Israel.


Katyushas land in Galil. JPost: 'A barrage of Katyusha rockets landed near Shlomi in the western Galile early Saturday. There were no reports of casualties or damage.'

IDF strikes bridge. JPost: 'IAF attacked a bridge in southern Lebanon that connects the region to Beirut, Lebanese media reported early Saturday. 20 people were reportedly wounded. This was the second time that the IAF struck the same bridge during the current operation in Lebanon.'

Bush won't pressure Israel for cease-fire. AP/Yahoo:
Bush and Putin were meeting Saturday to discuss the many crises shaking the world, after a more relaxed barbecue dinner Friday night with their wives at a government-owned villa. The two leaders planned a joint news conference Saturday.

The U.S. and Russian presidents — along with the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan — are gathering for the annual Group of Eight economic summit, which begins Saturday night and continues through Monday. This is Russia's first year as host.

The recent violence between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon is a late but unavoidable addition to the agenda.

Bush refused Friday to pressure Israel for a cease-fire. He called on the leaders of Egypt and Jordan to explore ways to end three days of furious fighting.


Michael Totten weighs in. A much-anticipated post from Michael J. Totten: 'Israel and Lebanon are the two freest countries in the Middle East. They are the only countries, aside from tortured Iraq, that hold unrigged elections for parliaments and heads of state. The tyrants to their east have pulled quite a coup, haven't they? The two countries friendliest to America and to liberal Western values are now shooting each other. (The Lebanese army, which has cooperated with Israel in the past behind the scenes, is now firing anti-aircraft guns at Israeli planes.)'

Wretchard's roundup. The Belmont Club has the latest on Castro death rumors, Tongsun Park's conviction, and Colonel MacFarland, who would rather be sociable but can be formidable if pressed.

From the Archives: Mirsad-1 Hezbollah UAV

From the Dreams Into Lightning archives:
Morning Report: April 12, 2005 (Hezbollah drone penetrates Israeli airspace.)

Hezbollah drone penetrates Israeli airspace. Hezbollah flew another drone over Israel on Monday - the second such mission in five months. Debka reports: 'Israel confirms Hizballah drone penetrated Israeli airspace but reports it turned tail in seconds after air force fighters scrambled. According to Hizballah TV, unmanned spy vehicle photographed N. Israeli towns of Acre and Nahariya and returned to Lebanon undetected. DEBKAfile: Lebanese terrorist group timed action for Bush-Sharon talks in Texas Monday.' Ha'Aretz elaborates: 'The IDF said Hezbollah is resorting to gimmicks, because the political situation in the region does not permit it to carry out actual terror attacks. Hezbollah's television station Al-Manar reported last night that a drone had entered Israeli skies at 5:15 P.M. and had flown over the Nahariya, Acre and "18 other settlements in the territory of the Zionist enemy." Citizens in the Nahariya area detected the drone and reported it to police. The Air Force's anti-aircraft systems picked up the drone but did not fire rockets at it, and the F-16 planes did not hit it either. The Air Force admits an operational failure, which will be investigated. After the last incursion, in November 2004, the anti-aircraft systems were upgraded in the north. Yesterday's drone was apparently of the same make - Iranian - as the one flown in November. [Known as 'Mirsad-1' - aa.] Although capable of carrying explosives, Hezbollah has refrained from putting it to this use. IDF sources said the intelligence value of such a brief flight was limited. According to IDF officers, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah wants to prove capable of action against Israel, yet escalation in the north would not serve the interests of his patron, Syria, which is under international pressure to withdraw from Lebanon. Nasrallah is therefore opting for provocative acts with propaganda value.' (Debka, Ha'Aretz)

Hezbollah Drone Update - November 19, 2004
On November 12, a Hezbollah-operated reconnaissance drone called the Mirsad-1 penetrated Israeli airspace and flew over the northern town of Nahariya for fifteen minutes. The incident raises serious questions about Israel's air security, according to this Debka report. Debka notes that a Patriot air-defense system normally posted in the area was absent on the day of the intrusion, leaving the area guarded only by the less advanced Hawk missiles - which, unlike the Patriots usually on duty, lacked the ability to detect small objects like the drone. Debka points out another curious aspect of the incident: the footage broadcast after the overflight, purportedly shot by the drone, "shows a Patriot battery present". Either these photographs were taken by a previous, undetected mission over Israel, or they were illicitly obtained from another source such as a private satellite company. The report also weighs in on an unidentified submarine spotted of Israel's coast at the time of the incident; read the article at the link for full details.

Eagle/Heron, and Another UAV - November 7, 2004
The Times of India reports:
Israel is likely to sign a deal to supply spy drones worth $230 million to India soon, officials said Sunday.

State-owned Israeli Aircraft Industries will also supply military surveillance hardware for the unmanned aircraft which will be jointly produced in India, defence ministry officials said.

"We are quite close to signing a deal," a highly-placed official said. They said the offer includes 50 Eagle-Heron Israeli drones which have a range of 1,000 kilometres (620 miles), can stay airborne for more than 24 hours and cruise at an altitude of 25,000 feet (7,575 metres).

India, which treated Israel like a pariah for decades, has forged close military links in recent years. It is acquiring two Phalcon Airborne Early Warning Systems worth a billion dollars and will jointly produce a long-range missile from the Jewish state.'


Also on the subject of drones, an Iranian-produced drone operated by Hezbollah made an incursion into Israeli airspace. According to Ha'Aretz:
Hezbollah announced Sunday that it had sent an unmanned reconnaissance drone on sorties over northern Israel earlier in the day, saying that the plane - known as the Mirsad-1 - flew as far as Nahariya before returning safely to its base in southern Lebanon.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed Sunday evening that a drone did indeed enter Israeli airspace, and flew over the northern city of Nahariya. The IDF said that the drone crashed into the sea when it returned to Lebanon. Reports from Lebanese fishermen of an object slamming into the sea apparently confirms the IDF's report.

"The new qualitative achievement comes as part of the natural response to Israel's violation of Lebanese air space," the militant organization said in a report on its television channel, Al-Manar.


The Jerusalem Post elaborates:
The penetration of an unmanned spy plane into northern Israel Sunday has gravely concerned the IDF command, which is bracing for a flare up on the northern border as the disengagement approaches.

The IDF confirmed Sunday night Hizbullah's claim that it had succeeded in sending a drone over the skies of the western Galilee.

It was the first time an enemy unmanned aerial vehicle had succeeded in entering Israel and represented a bold and provocative step by the Iranian-backed Shiite group.

Hizbullah said the UAV, dubbed "Mirsad 1" or Ambush, had reached all the way to the northern Israeli costal town of Nahariya at 10:30 a.m. and "returned safely to base," mimicking the old IDF statements usually put out after bombing raids in Lebanon.

But reports from Lebanon said the UAV crashed at sea on its return trip from it sojourn over the tiny corner of Israel. An IDF statement said Hizbullah was aided in the endeavor by Iran and Syria "with the aim of targeting Israeli civilians."

It was a propaganda coup for Hizbullah, showing it could succeed in doing what no Arab state has. Only Egypt among the Arab nations has a serious UAV program. Iraq had attempted to develop one but it was not a success.

The Iranians, however, have been developing UAVs for over a decade and it is one of theirs that is believed to have been used Sunday by Hizbullah. The Mirsad 1 is a small remote-controlled drone with one engine and a small camera.


Hezbollah Drone Mirsad-1 - November 9, 2004
The Iranian/Hezbollah "Mirsad-1" UAV that recently accomplished an incursion into Israeli airspace had a payload capacity of 40kg, according to this bulletin from Debka:
Hizballah unmanned aerial craft that penetrated Israel two days ago is capable of carrying 40 kilos - and therefore a bomb, according to Israeli chief of staff Gen. Yaalon’s report to Knesset committee Tuesday. Craft spent 7-12 minutes over northern town of Nahariya.

Ha'Aretz writes that
Apparently, the drone carried a camera capable of transmitting images while the plane is in motion. On Monday, Hezbollah's television channel, Al-Manar, aired footage of what it said was the drone it had sent into Israel.

and adds:
The drone was Iranian made. It was developed and built in Iranian plants in the 1990s. The aircraft is considered technologically very simple, with a pre-programmed route that is installed before launch. During the flight, a camera sends images back to a ground station, which was supposedly manned by Iranians, and the plane is apparently supposed to land by parachute.

The Iranians supplied several such planes to the Hezbollah, just as they supplied rockets. One of the Iranian conditions for the supply of the drones was that Hezbollah get clearance from Tehran before any launch.

The Hezbollah operatives were trained in the use of the plane by experts from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Some analysts believe the drone is primarily a psychological tactic, and that the actual military value of the Mirsad-1 is limited. It may serve as a signal of Iran's determination to defend itself and its nuclear program against strikes by Israel or the US; Syria may also be using the incident to strengthen its negotiating position with regard to the Golan Heights.

In other news, Iran announced it has acquired the capability to mass-produce medium-range ballistic missiles. Iranian Defense Minister Rear Adm. Ali Shamkhani told journalists in Tehran that the IRI is able to manufacture in bulk the Shahab-3 missile, whose range was recently upgraded to 1,250 miles.

The Belmont Club has a new post on the Mirsad-1 UAV.

Morning Report: July 14, 2006

The Tammuz War continues. Deep strikes hit Israel and Lebanon, while a manual for undercover jihadis reveals a blurred line between Islamic and Western identities; and archaic value systems still haunt Muslim women living in Europe and Britain.

Rocket attacks hit Israel. Via Pajamas Media, over 700 rockets have been fired at Israel in the current war, including a hit on a residential building in Safed (Tsfat). JPost: 'Thirteen people were wounded in the latest bombardment of rockets on Safed and Nahariya on Friday afternoon. A rocket landing in Safed hit a residential building. Two of the wounded in Safed sustained moderate wounds, the other eight were lightly wounded. The wounded in Nahariya were all reported to be in light condition. Rockets also reportedly landed near Hatzor, Bar'am, Mahanayim, Horfesh, though no one was reported wounded. Nahariya also sustained another barrage of five Katyusha just an hour earlier, causing a brush fire in an open area. Western Galilee fire fighters were working to control the flames.' Ha'Aretz: 'In the latest spate of rocket attacks on Israel by Hezbollah, two people were moderately hurt and eight sustained light injuries after a Katyusha rocket hit a residential building in Safed on Friday afternoon. ... Katyusha rockets struck Haifa, Israel's third-largest city, for the first time Thursday night, and the Home Front Command ordered area residents Friday to stay near bomb shelters so they could go inside as soon as they hear an air-raid siren. There were no casualties in the rocket strike on Haifa's Stella Maris area.' Debka: 'Eleven Israeli civilians injured by dozens of Hizballah rockets fired into northern Israel Friday, on the third day of war. Two were seriously hurt in barrage aimed at Safed town and nearby military installations. The IDF base at Biria took a direct rocket hit from Lebanon and suffered casualties. Another hit a house, setting it on fire. Two Israeli civilians were seriously injured in another targeted house near the IDF’s Northern Command HQ. Two Israeli civilians were killed in Nahariya and Safed Thursday and nearly a hundred injured by more than a hundred Hizballah rockets.' (various)

Israel strikes targets deep in Lebanon. Arutz Sheva: 'The Israel Air Force during the night struck Hizbullah targets deep in Beirut, including the Beirut-Damascus Highway, the airport and a major terrorist stronghold in a south Lebanon neighborhood. The highway has major significance to the terror organization, serving as a primary route for the weapons supply train. Operatives use the road to bring weapons and ammunition from Iran to Hizbullah via Syria. IAF aircraft also struck other Hizbullah targets, including Hizbullah headquarters in a densely populated neighborhood in south Beirut, deep in the Lebanon Valley near the Syrian border, major roadways and other strategic locations. Fighter pilots focused their efforts particularly on the Beirut airport, repeatedly bombing the facility which serves as a transfer point for weapons to the terrorists.' Arutz Sheva also reports expressions of support for Israel from Arabs: 'Arab readers on the Foreign Ministry’s Arabic-language site are submitting comments underscoring the importance of hitting the terror organization with a powerful fist. “Arabs understand only the language of force,” wrote one reader. “If they feel that Israel is week they will carry on until it is completely destroyed. That is how they think,” said the anonymous writer. “What is stopping them is your force. If this thinking evaporates, even if it is only in their minds, Israel would pay a heavy price in civilians and casualties. Israel has to be strong until peace is achieved with these terrorists,” concluded the comment.' Via IRIS. (A7)

How Hezbollah thinks. Counterterrorism Blog: 'Hizballah’s decision to kidnap the two IDF soldiers was taken by Sheikh Hassan Nasserallah and the other six members of the Shura Karar, its supreme decision-making body. Additionally there are two Iranian representatives (from the Iranian embassy in Beirut/Damascus) that provide a direct link on matters that require strategic guidance or Iranian assistance or arbitration. The file for handling special operations of this kind is usually left to Imad Mughniyeh, the elusive terrorist mastermind for Hizballah, who stands with one foot within Hizballah (reporting to Nasserallah directly) and with one foot in Iran inside the architectures of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and the al-Qods unit within the Iranian Pasdaran. Mughniyeh is strictly reserved for special occasions (like the Buenos Aires bombing in 1992 to avenge the Israeli assassination of the previous leader Sheikh Abbas al-Musawi) and his primary mission over the last decade has been to forge qualitative ‘military’ guidance to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives inside Gaza and the West Bank.' (CTB)

Al-Qaeda's debut in Kashmir. The Intelligence Summit:
Srinagar, 14 July (AKI/Asian Age) - A new militant group has been launched in Kashmir, calling itself "al-Qaeda Jammu and Kashmir", but the intelligence agencies and law enforcement authorities here have no clue on whether it is actually a wing of the organisation led by Osama bin Laden. Significantly, the launch - made known in a phone call to a local news agency on Thursday afternoon - was announced just two days after terrorists struck with impunity in Mumbai and Srinagar, exploding a series of bombs that resulted in the death of over 200 people.

The 13 July is also a date of great historical importance for Jammu and Kashmir because it is annually observed as "martyrs' day" throughout the state and by Kashmiri people worldwide in commemoration of when in 1931, the troops of autocratic Dogra Maharaja Hari Singh had gunned down 22 Muslims outside Srinagar central jail, an incident which heralded the "freedom struggle" in the then princely state under British India. The Kashmir Valley was shut on Thursday to mark the occasion.

While "Al-Qaeda Jammu and Kashmir" said its objectives and philosophy would be spelt out shortly, it called upon Indian Muslims to take up "jihad". ...

Full article at the link. (TIS)

Encyclopedia of Jihad. Also from TIS: 'Islamist websites are filled with security manuals and training information for jihadi militants. These manuals are often posted on forums sympathetic to violent Islamists, and the visitors to the forums are able to ask questions to different jihadi security experts regarding fighting tactics and intelligence strategies. In intelligence training and sharing practices, the jihadi sites have posted three significant documents: the Great Jihad Encyclopedia, a letter from al-Qaeda operative Abu Yahia al-Libi and a document titled "How to Confront and Cope with Intelligence Agency Interrogators." ' The work comprises material dating from 2002 and is attributed to an individual named "Abu al-Qaidan", a name which points to possible Algerian origin. 'The encyclopedia elaborates on many intelligence skills such as espionage, counter-terrorism, sabotage, the importance of human intelligence (HUMINT) and agent handling. Moreover, it includes training on quality intelligence work such as the use of safe-houses, defensive and offensive intelligence, operating behind enemy lines, preventive security and a detailed explanation of reconnaissance.' The article concludes that 'Advancement in communication technology is the key to the success of any counter-terrorism operation by security and intelligence agencies; unfortunately, the same applies to terrorist operations that use the same technological systems to utilize and disseminate their ideology and methods.' Worth reading in full. (TIS)

Muslim women in the Netherlands face sexism. The Muslim Woman reports: 'Discrimination is not a new thing for Women so is the case in Netherland, immigrants and refugees – most of who belong to Muslim community are facing discrimination in job fields. ... Gender inequality problem here in Netherland is progressively more linked with immigrant women and has been generally tagged as an integration problem.' Puja cites this study by ADNKronos International: 'Women immigrants and refugees - many of whom are Muslims - continue to encounter discrimination in the Netherlands, a United Nations expert said on Thursday. The expert, who spent 3-11 July on a fact-finding mission to the country, was critical of immigrant women's access to the jobs market, child care provision, and the Dutch government's tougher procedures for asylum-seekers which frequently dismiss the applications of rape and toruture victims who are unable to 'positively demonstrate' their trauma. "The worrisome reports of suicides and missing persons, especially minors, in return centres for rejected asylum-seekers also require urgent attention," said UN special rapportuer on violence against women, Yakin Erturk. She is unpaid and serves in an independent capacity. "Gender inequality issues are increasingly associated with immigrant women and defined as an integration problem," she said.' (TMW, AKI)

Honor killing brother sentenced. Telegraph: 'Two men were given life sentences today for the "barbaric" honour killing of a young woman, because they did not approve of her choice of lover. Samaira Nazir, a 25-year-old graduate and recruitment consultant, was knifed to death by her brother and cousin after a heated argument. She had angered her family with pleas to be allowed to marry Salman Mohammed. The Central Criminal Court heard that her Pakistani family disapproved of the Afghan asylum seeker, accusing him of being after their money. Miss Nazir's brother Azhar Nazir, 30, will serve no less than 20 years, while her cousin Imran Mohammed, 17, was handed a minimum term of 10 years. Judge Christopher Moss told them: "This was a barbaric crime. She suffered a brutal, gruesome and horrific death."' (Telegraph)

Commentary. As we've been noticing, there is growing respect for Israel among its nominal enemies - not that respect among seasoned veterans of "the other side" was ever lacking, as a certain guest-blogger at Big Pharaoh attests: 'This idiot Nasrallah. He is so funny. He keeps on issuing threats, he has no idea what he is talking about. What Israel is doing to him now is just gentle padding on the shoulders. [Nasrallah] didn't see what we saw. Israel fought on 3 fronts in 1967 and it was hell.'

It's a good time for us in the neocon camp to take stock. I myself have been among the centrists who favored Israel's disengagement from Gaza. Yossi Klein Halevi writes that 'Those of us who have supported unilateralism didn't expect a quiet border in return for our withdrawal but simply the creation of a border from which we could more vigorously defend ourselves, with greater domestic consensus and international understanding. The anticipated outcome, then, wasn't an illusory peace but a more effective way to fight the war. The question wasn't whether Hamas or Hezbollah would forswear aggression but whether Israel would act with appropriate vigor to their continued aggression.' But 'If unilateralists made a mistake, it was in believing our political leaders--including Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert--when they promised a policy of zero tolerance against any attacks emanating from Gaza after Israel's withdrawal. That policy was not implemented--until two weeks ago.'

Commenting on YKL's article, Solomonia agrees that the past two weeks are seeing a belated fulfillment of Israel's "promise to seriously respond to provocations after withdrawal" and concludes:
It would be nice (not the right word, but you get the point) to see some direct action against the Syrian regime (no more flyovers without a delivery), as they also need to feel the pinch, which they should have felt long ago, for being Hamas's hosts. Action against Iran is a bigger nut to crack, and one that I don't want to tackle right now, but it looks like that's coming soon anyway, especially as they've said they'll fight if Syria is attacked. ... On the other hand, it could very well be that the Israelis have taken the measure of the Syrians and have decided they're nothing but chumps in all this. They're saving their punches for Iran.

Jeremayakovka offers some insights on "Why is This Jewish War Different From All Other Jewish Wars?" and notes that
It's another test of Natan Sharansky's free society/fear society thesis, as set forth in The Case for Democracy. That is, this is a chance to support dissenters within the "fear societies" that Israel is attacking -- in Gaza and Lebanon (a must-read from Carl in Jerusalem) and possibly Syria and Iran. ... It largely depends on how close the American eagle flies to the Israeli "canary in the coal mine."

Jeremaya is reassured by Yossi Peled's promise that "Tsahal's [the IDF's] mission is today to strike at Hezbollah with such force that the movement won't survive." So am I.

As the last two observers have noted, much depends on Israel's fulfillment of its promise, and on the support of the American eagle. If President George W. Bush does indeed plan to bring back the neocons, then we may be heading in that direction. The Bush Administration's flirtation with so-called "realism" has proved an abject failure. Our successes to date have come from the dual-track approach of strengthening freedom movements while aggressively confronting fascism and terrorism. Let's not stop now. The time for playing "good cop" is over.

2006-07-13

TheTammuz War

Up the escalator. New developments in the war suggest that long-dormant forces are now gathering momentum.

Belmont Club: Three developments. Wretchard discerns three key developments in recent hours: 'The first is that the US has vetoed a UN Security Council Resolution condemning Israel's incursions into Gaza. Note: Gaza, not Lebanon, which is suggestive. Second, Ynet reports that "Israeli aircraft struck the main highway linking Beirut to the Syrian capital Damascus early on Friday, a Lebanese security source said." Third, but not last, is the official speculation that the missiles which landed in Haifa were Iranian-manufactured Fajers, with a range of 70 km.' There are also indications that Iranian personnel are already involved in the fighting.

Melanie Phillips: Israel is at war with Iran and Syria. Melanie Phillips writes: 'Israel is now at war with Iran and Syria, which are waging war against Israel through their proxies Hezbollah and Hamas in pursuit of their declared aim to exterminate it. The 1000-plus rocket attacks from Gaza, the incursions into Israel and murder and kidnap of its soldiers, the murder and kindap of more of its soldiers in northern Israel and the shelling of Israel’s northern towns from Lebanon, with two killed in Nahariya and Safed and more injured, and now the rocket attacks on Haifa, all are acts of war — in the latest of which which Lebanon itself is complicit — to which Israel has no option but to respond with force.' She goes on to note the "sickening role" the BBC has played in the enemy's propaganda. She concludes: 'The world will not be safe unless and until Iran and Syria are stopped. And there is only one country that can do that, and it is not Israel.' Read it all at the link.

Tammy Bruce on India. Tammy: 'Every day there is more and more evidence that the evil visited upon us on September 11th is indeed part of a worldwide jihad. Ours is indeed a world war against Radical Islam, which views everyone who does not subscribe to the Wahhabist doctrine as infidel. As the people of India are well aware, they have been targets of Islamist terrorists since before 2001, and remain a high priority for death by the al-Qaida death cult and its agents.' Go to the post for a link to Walid Phares.

US kills UN resolution on Gaza. As Wretchard says: Gaza, not Lebanon. Vital Perspective: 'The U.S. has rejected a Security Council resolution put forward by Qatar on behalf of Arab states that would have condemned Israel's two-week military incursion into Gaza. The vote on the draft resolution was 10-1, with the U.S. voting no and four countries abstaining: Britain, Denmark, Peru and Slovakia. A resolution requires at least nine votes and no vetos from any of the P-5 members. It was John Bolton's first veto since arriving at the UN.' Bolton, quoted in the article, spoke of the need to "focus our attention not just on Hamas, but on the state sponsors of terror who back them -- particularly Syria and Iran."

Peretz has plans for Hezbollah. JPost: 'Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Thursday night that, "We expected Hizbullah to break the rules, and now we intend to break them." '

Saudis blame Hezbollah. JPost: 'In an official statement, the Saudi government said that a distinction must be drawn between "legitimate resistance" and "adventurous, irresponsible acts" committed by groups in Lebanon who don't recognize the government and don't coordinate with other Arab nations.'

Commentary. Robert Avrech at Seraphic Secret writes: 'Karen just stepped into my office and said to me: "This war has no name. It needs a name, Robert." As always, Karen is right. My gut instinct was: The War of Tammuz. ... As we all know, names contain souls. By naming this war, we give it a specific historical and Jewish identity.' You might wonder: Can a war have a soul? But I believe Avrech's point is this: By giving the war an identity, we also give it meaning. This is the key. A war without meaning is simply a lot of dead bodies. With a name comes meaning, and with meaning comes the possiblity of redemption.

Captured Israelis headed for Iran?

Although Meepas (cited at Regime Change Iran) regarded it as unlikely, it's now being reported that Hezbollah may be attempting to move the captured Israeli soldiers from Beirut, Lebanon to Iran:
Israeli foreign ministry officials said Thursday evening it has information that Hizbullah guerrillas are trying to transfer captured soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev to Iran.


Meepas:
It is very unlikely that the soldiers will be sent to Iran immediately.

According to Yossi Melman , Ha'aretz expert on intelligence matters “there is no need to send the soldiers to Iran. The Iranian intelligence organisation can easily send interrogators to Lebanon, who can sit in during the interrogation sessions, or actively participate in them. This has been done before, and can easily be done again”.

Furthermore, if Hezbollah hands the soldiers to Iran, it will look like a complete Iranian puppet to the Lebanese people. This will damage Hezbollah's on going efforts to portray itself as a genuine Lebanese organisation. ...


Updates on this as it develops.

UPDATE. A commenter at Dreams Into Lightning says that CNN is now reporting this.

UPDATE II. Fox News: 'Israel's foreign ministry said Thursday that Lebanese guerillas holding the two soldiers captive are trying to transfer them to Iran. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev did not disclose the source of his information.'

UPDATE III. CNN: 'Hezbollah chief Nasrallah told reporters that seizing the soldiers was "our natural, only and logical right" to win freedom for Hezbollah prisoners held by Israel. Nasrallah said the two soldiers had been taken to a place "far, far away" and that an Israeli military campaign would not win their release.'

UPDATE IV. Amos Harel at Ha'Aretz:
Israel has concrete evidence that Hezbollah plans to transfer the two Israel Defense Forces soldiers abducted Wednesday to Iran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said Thursday.

"We have concrete evidence that Hezbollah plans to transfer the kidnapped soldiers to Iran. As a result, Israel views Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran as the main players in the axis of terror and hate that endangers not only Israel, but the entire world," AFP quoted Deputy Director General of the Foreign Ministry Gideon Meir as saying.

An Al-Jazeera correspondent said Thursday that he had evidence that the two soldiers - identified Thursday as Ehud Goldwasser, 31, of Nahariya, and Eldad Regev, 26, of Kiryat Motzkin - were alive during the abduction. He said they were transferred to a Shi'ite mosque in a nearby town, where the abductors changed clothes. According to the report, one of the soldiers was transferred in a cab, to make it difficult for Israeli intelligence to locate him. The Al-Jazeera correspondent stressed that he had received the information from a source close to Hezbollah, and that members of the organization refuse to disclose more information with nothing in return.

British Foreign Office Betrayal Exposed: "When Progressives Treat with Reactionaries"

This document by Martin Bright (h/t The Corner) reveals the contents of a large number of leaked documents from the UK Government.

PDF link: When Progressives Treat with Reactionaries - Martin Bright (Policy Exchange).

From the preface by Jason Burke:
I am writing these words in a small guesthouse in the old city of Kabul. In the last two weeks I have spoken to moderate and hardline clerics, to the Taliban, to the Afghan authorities, to warlords (armed and disarmed), to taxi drivers, kebab salesmen, farmers (of poppy and other crops) and even to journalists. Yet the Western media often privileges those who shout loudest, have the most guns, hold the most animated demonstrations or are responsible for the most violence at the expense of the vast silent majority who merely want a quiet life that assures them a modest degree of prosperity, security and dignity.Martin Bright shows that the British government makes the very same mistake -- in listening hardest to those who force themselves to the front of the crowd. In so doing, the British government risks missing the critical truth -- that neither bin Laden and his jihadis, nor political Islamists like those of the Muslim Brotherhood, have a monopoly on the representation of the views and aspirations of the world's Muslims....

Morning Report: July 13, 2006

Israel/Lebanon conflict widens. Israel is now fighting a war on two fronts, against Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. Will Syria, Iran, and the United States be drawn in? Finally, a Lebanese blogger offers some insights about the perceptions of Israel in the Middle East.

Israel bombs Beirut Airport; rockets hit northern Israel. AP: 'Israel intensified its attacks against Lebanon on Thursday, blasting Beirut's international airport and the southern part of the country in its heaviest air campaign against its neighbor in 24 years. Nearly three dozen civilians were killed, officials said. The strikes on the airport, which damaged three runways, came hours before Israel imposed an air and naval blockade on Lebanon to cut off supply routes to militants.' It was Israel's first attack on Beirut's airport since 1982. JPost: 'Katyusha rockets landed in the northern Israeli towns of Karmiel, Safed, Hatzor, and Majd el-Kurum, as well as several other communities throughout the north Thursday afternoon. Eleven people were wounded.' And: 'Report: Katyusha rockets fell near the northern Israeli town Majd el-Kurum, near Karmiel Thursday afternoon.' Via IRIS: 'Israel laid siege Thursday morning to Lebanon, shutting down the country and closing off access by air, land and sea. IDF navy missile ships were patrolling off the Lebanese coast and preventing ships from entering Lebanon or leaving. Any ships arriving at Lebanese shores were being turned back.' Israel warned civilians in South Beirut to leave their homes. Meanwhile, Israel's chief rabbis permitted residents of northern Israel to break the fast of the 17th of Tammuz, observed today, due to the danger of attacks. (various)

Two soldiers' names released. Debka: 'The IDF Spokesman on Thursday released the names of the two soldiers abducted by Hizballah. They are: Eldad Regev, 26, from Kiryat Motzkin, and Ehud Goldwasser, 31, from Nahariya.' (Debka)

Afghanistan: Explosion in Spin Boldak. Afghan Lord: 'In an explosion in Spin Boldak districk of Kandahar province killed two people and wounding two others. The bomb was planted in a handcart by the road. As the media says the news is confirmed by Abdul Wasi a security official in Kandahar. The bomb exploded in a crowded bazaar which called Wesh a small city close to Pakistan border. Yet no group has claimed responsibility for the accident. Security situation in south Afghanistan getting worse day by day and the continuation of instability has reduced the government’s dominance on the country.' (Afghan Lord)

Abu Kais: Lebanese cabinet should "deal with the consequences". From Beirut to the Beltway: 'If the current government is unable to openly and effectively chastise Hizbullah by at least suspending their ministers, then they should all pack their bags and move to the southern border and suffer the Israeli anger. The Lebanese cabinet should convene in a Hizbullah bunker. If it’s a war they are too afraid to stop, then it’s a war they should fight.' Abu Kais goes on to argue that Israel should direct its attacks at the appropriate targets:
Some independent people in Lebanon might start thinking that the only solution is to move the conflict to Syria and Iran. The country is on the brink of destruction, especially after the Israeli prime minister threatened to take the country back 20 years. Hizbullah and the cabinet do not care enough. It is unlikely that the international community will save Lebanon now. Why should they? Even Saad Hariri’s media has gone soft on Hizbullah all of a sudden. So the only logical thing for some might be to actively support forces opposed to the Assad regime and Tehran. Since the Lebanese army is not interested in defending the Lebanese state, then some free Lebanese might consider funding and arming militant units to work on Syrian and Iranian territories, targeting Syrian and Iranian infrastructure. There is no reason why Lebanon should lose bridges and Damascus and Tehran don’t. After all, we are all in this together, right?

As for Israel’s leaders, perhaps they should listen to Nasrallah for once. Bombing Lebanon will not deter anyone. Olmert is a wimp with high-tech war toys. A mighty power such as Israel has to go after the real source and stop the cheap targeting of Lebanese infrastructure and civilians. But Israeli leaders are still choosing the easy way out. Instead of picking enemies their own size in Damascus and Tehran, they pick to destroy the livelihood of innocents and kill and maim civilians, feeding the backward resistance culture that pervades the region.

Read the whole post at the link, and don't forget to bookmark the homepage. (From Beirut to the Beltway)

Commentary. While I won't agree with Abu Kais' characterization of Israel's attack as "cowardly", I do agree with him about the need to go after Tehran and Damascus. What's especially interesting is his idea that Israel should confront "enemies its own size" in Syria and Iran. The element of respect is the key here, I think. Abu Kais believes (whether rightly or wrongly, I do not know) that Israel is a match for not only Syria but Iran also; and that by shirking confrontation with these powers, while attacking puny Lebanon, Israel only hurts itself.

I do not think Israel is in a position to declare war on Iran, but certainly Syria and Israel have been at war before. On the other hand, the United States has been on the verge of conflict with Iran for a long time. In the end, the present situation may provide Washington with a casus belli against Tehran, rendering the whole UN nuclear charade moot. And as I've been saying all along, the job in the Middle East remains unfinished until the regimes in Tehran and Damascus fall.

2006-07-12

Night Flashes

President Bush will be traveling to Europe to build support for American initiatives, as the Washington Post tells us in its own inimitable way ... CT Blog notes that India's citizens "display remarkable resolve" in the wake of the Mumbai bombings, denying terrorists their goals of stalling India's economy and fueling Hindu/Muslim tensions ... Andy Mukherjee's account of Indian solidarity is chilling but inspiring ... Israpundit covers the next Middle East war ... while Carl in Jerusalem isn't impressed by the recall of the Lebanese ambassador: "The government statement is nonsense. Hezbullah is part of Lebanon's government and that government couldn't care less what kind of aggressive activities Hezbullah undertakes against Israel - so long as their consequences remain in southern Lebanon." ...

TypePad is up ...

and so is Dreams Into Lightning - TypePad. This is why I maintain two sites. For you devoted readers, there's always a backup.

Time for Beirut to Take Sides

Whither Lebanon? Israel is fighting Hezbollah in Lebanon again, and once again the Lebanese government is caught in the middle.

Israel's action; Lebanon's reaction? The Belmont Club expressed concern that 'If Israel strikes at the Lebanese government it will be very damaging, I think, to all the efforts made to kick Syria out.' But the Lebanese government is taking charge, at least as far as Hezbollah is concerned:
Lebanon's Ambassador to the US Farid Abboud was summoned back to Beirut on Wednesday night after expressing his support for Hizbullah in the US media.

Abboud was reported as saying that Israel was the only one who could bring about the release of the kidnapped IDF soldiers by agreeing to negotiate with the movement via mediators.

Officials in Beirut stressed that Abboud's view did not represent that of Lebanon, which is vehemently opposed to Hizbullah's actions on Israel's northern border.

Now, smacking down an ambassador for supporting Hezbollah does not equal kicking Syria out of Lebanon; but I'd like to think that this may be an indication that the Lebanese government is ready to take a stand with the good guys.

Nasrallah "ready for war with Israel". Lebanese blogger Abu Kais at From Beirut to the Beltway has this update: 'Hizbullah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said today he was ready for a full confrontation with Israel adding that no military operation will succeed in setting the kidnapped soldiers free. "If Israel wants escalation, we are ready for full confrontation. I advise the new Israeli political and military leadership to ask the former leaders about Lebanon," Nasrallah said in a press conference in Beirut's southern suburb.' Thanks to the absent Michael Totten for bringing Abu Kais to our attention.

Commentary. There's some exciting discussion going on in the comments section of Abu Kais' previous post. Here are some excerpts:
You guys are a bunch of wimps. Do you understand this logic is dangerous? "Israel attacked us because our government failed to secure Israel's border." The same wimpish thinking that got us tied up with Israel in the first place and what did we get for it? Lebanese running falafel stands in Tel Aviv, hope you all are happy with no respect for yourselves.

Posted by: George Nehme | Wednesday, July 12, 2006 at 09:58 AM

No my dear George,

Israel DID attack us because we failed to secure our borders! I don't (and I hope a lot of lebanese too) want to be at war on behalf of the entire arab world.
Call me a whimp, but I want to be a whimp living in a peaceful and prosperous country. Sorry for all you beligerous and angry proud self-respecting patriots, but I'm really fed up with being in a useless state of war.

PS. Where is the self respect in igniting a war front to kidnapp a couple of soldiers?

And what's with the falafels ?

Posted by: Immed | Wednesday, July 12, 2006 at 10:13 AM

A Lebanese blogger taking Israel's side. Bravo. I'm sure Zionists will now hit your "tip jar", you fucking traitor

Posted by: ali | Wednesday, July 12, 2006 at 10:59 AM

Ali--

Go to hell. Or yet, let Hizbullah "protect" your ass by starting a war. I don't support Israel (never have) and their overzealous and violent retaliation but no way in hell will I not blame Hizbullah for starting another war.

Posted by: Anon girl | Wednesday, July 12, 2006 at 11:36 AM

It is so unfortunate that Lebanon and many of the Arab countries are populated by so many Alis (note his post at 10:59 pm). Rational;ity and reason are alien to that kind of a mind. He will settle for nothing less than the total destruction of the state of Israel and the glory of his kind of Islam. It is af if one kind is imperial while the other is not. But what is most distressing is the logic, or rather the lack of it, with which he pursues his goal. To predict the Israeli reaction to the kiddnapping of its soldiers is a no brainer. Let us assume that ultimately Israel does release say 50 HA prisoners after having killed or maimed a 100 Lebanese destroyed $ 2 billion worth of infrasctructure, killed the livelyhood of 100's of thousands of Lebanese and in the process put an end to any hope of an economic recovery then by what calculus does one justify that these HA prisoners, if released, are so much more valuable than the rest of us? A logic based on hatred and religious zealotry does not offer any grounds for dialogue , peace or negotiations. If we do not exorcise the body politic in the Arab world of the Alis of the world then we would have failed our historical responsibility to the future generations to prosper and live in peace. Make no mistake about it, cancerous cells left ubchecked will grow , dominate and destro the vehicle within which they reside.

Posted by: Ghassan Karam | Wednesday, July 12, 2006 at 12:32 PM

And there are more posts in support of Ghassan. This is a good thing. Meanwhile, Tammy Bruce links to Herb Keinon's analysis in the Jerusalem Post explaining "the pressures on Israel and why they are safe to directly attack Lebanon but not Syria."

What's happening here is this: It is no longer the Israelis who are isolated, nor the freedom activists in the Arab world. It's the fascist regimes that are increasingly isolated and panicking. I'm guessing the nationalism and independence we've seen emerging in Lebanon will gather momentum, with the will of the freedom-loving people of the world behind it.