2006-08-21

Morning Report: August 21, 2006

Life goes on. Still no word on whether August 22 will bring Armageddon, but it's business as usual meanwhile: Europe backs out of a military commitment, American forces continue their humanitarian work in Afghanistan, and terrorists are busted in Britain ... while age barriers fall for American recruits, and flying pigs are sighted over Michigan.

Europe balks at protecting Israel. Morning Report is shocked. Tammy Bruce: 'After all the huffing and puffing and instance on a cease-fire, Euro nations have decided everything's a bit too vague for them to commit troops for the international force that's supposed to guard the Lebanon-Israel border. This after all of them signed off in the first place regarding the conditions and expectations of the cease-fire and the peace-keeping force. But then again it's safe to say that they never intended on contributing to the force. They just noticed Israel was indeed winning and they needed a way to save Hez, which would save Iran, which would keep money rolling into the right EU pockets.' News report: 'The shaky U.N.-brokered cease-fire in Lebanon suffered another blow Sunday when the European countries that have been called upon to provide the backbone of a peacekeeping force delayed a decision on committing troops until the mission was more clearly defined. Their reservations postponed any action on the force at least until Wednesday, when the European Union will take up the issue.' (Tammy Bruce, LA Daily News)

Life begins at 41. From Grey Eagle: 'Margie Black had wanted to enter the military as a teenager, but having her first child at 19 put off her ambitions. So when she learned the Army raised its enlistment age, Black, now a 41-year-old grandmother from West Columbia, Texas, didn’t hesitate to join. The decision took “about 30 seconds,” she said. On Friday, Pvt. Black worked on her marksmanship skills here, while her 21-year-old daughter was at Army basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. “I’m taking it one day at a time,” Black said. “If I do that, I can handle it.” Older soldiers like her are showing up more often at Army training bases across the country since Congress gave the service approval earlier this year to raise its enlistee age limit, which had been 35, to just under 42 years. “We’re finding there’s a lot of people out there that wanted to join, and age was their only disqualifier,” said Leslie Ann Sully, a spokeswoman for the Army’s local recruiting battalion near Fort Jackson. “Lots of people (over 35) are fit and are living longer, and they figure they can do this,” Sully said.' (Grey Eagle)

Charges in British terror plot. The Jawa Report: '11 British Muslims have been charged with crimes related to a plot to blow up multiple airplanes bound for the U.S. 11 more remain in custody, charges may be forthcoming. Scroll to the end for the actual charges.' Details at the link. (Jawa)

Team aids nomadic Afghans. CENTCOM: 'PANJSHIR PROVINCE , Afghanistan (AFPN) -- Medics, interpreters and support troops from the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team set up a short-notice medical outreach recently for the nomadic Kuchi people during their spring migration through the Panjshir Valley . Known as a Medical Civic Action Program, or MEDCAP, the event provided treatment for Kuchi families as they move their sheep, goats, donkeys, camels and cattle to the high country for the summer. The Kuchi are Afghan Pashtun who migrate among the lowlands and highlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan each year. “We’ve seen the Kuchi families on the road the last week or so as they move their herds North and we wanted to meet them and learn from them,” said Lt. Col. Neal Kringel, Panjshir PRT commander. Fletcher Burton, Panjshir PRT director, and Colonel Kringel met with Abdul Qadeer, the Panjshir chief of traffic police, to discuss a coordinated meeting with the Kuchi. “We brought the impromptu meeting idea to Mr. Qadeer and he quickly agreed that we should do it,” said Mr. Burton. “In fact, he led us out right then to meet some of the Kuchi who happened to be in the area.”' (CENTCOM)

MWMF to change no-trans policy. One bastion of old-school feminism, the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, has changed its longstanding and increasingly controversial "womyn-born-womyn-only" policy and is now admitting transgender women to the event. (Hat tip: heyfoureyes.) Camp Trans reports:
HART, MICHIGAN - The Michigan Women's Music Festival began admitting openly trans (transgender/transsexual) women last week, bringing success to a longstanding struggle by trans activists both inside and outside the festival.

"Seeing trans women inside the festival for the first time brought me to tears," said Sue Ashman, who attends the festival every year. "It's restored my faith in women's communities."

Ashman said "I have friends who have already committed to bringing themselves and others for the first time next year."

Organizers of Camp Trans, the annual protest across the road from the festival, say that every year at least one trans woman at Camp Trans walks to the festival gate with a group of supporters, explains that she is trans, and tries to buy a ticket. In past years, the festival box office has produced a printed copy of the policy and refused.

"This time, the response was, 'cash or credit?'" said Jessica Snodgrass, a Camp Trans organizer and festival attendee who spent the week reaching out to supporters inside the fest. "They said the festival has no policy barring any woman from attending."

Full article at the link. Watch Dreams Into Lightning for a post on this. Congratulations to the CT activists, and kudos to the MWMF organizers for doing the right thing. (CampTrans, heyfoureyes)

Commentary. The Belmont Club asks: 'First, can the resistant parts of the West create a consciousness explicitly opposed Islamic fascism? And if so, can this identity of resistance wrest the Western agenda from liberalism?'

Western liberalism must rediscover the strength of a positive identity built on respect for the individual and a shared value system - and it must rediscover the will to defend that identity if it is to survive.

2006-08-20

August 22 and Iran

Iranian military exercise and August 22. Debka:
Washington is keeping a sharp weather eye out for Tuesday, August 22, which this year corresponds in the Islamic calendar to the date on which many Sunni Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on his winged horse Buraq to “the farthest mosque”, which is traditionally identified with Jerusalem.

According to the Muslim legend, on that day, a divine white light spread over Jerusalem and the whole world.

DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report that information rated “highly credible” has reached US undercover agencies of a secret report presented to Iran’s supreme ruler Ali Khamenei by Abdollah Shabhazi, one of the heads of the Supreme National Security Council. He claims to expose a mega-terror plot against Jerusalem scheduled for August 22, which aims at killing large numbers of Jews, Arabs and Christians. This atrocity will reportedly arm the United States and Israel with the pretext for hitting Iran’s nuclear installations, as well its capital, Tehran, and other big cities. Shabhazi says the US and Israel need to launch a military campaign to restore the deterrent strength they lost in the Lebanon war. The massive attack will reportedly focus on the Old City of Jerusalem and its eastern suburbs. The Iranian report claims that the plotters, who are not identified, are eager to recreate the divine white light whish spread over Jerusalem in the year 632. It does not rule out the use of a non-conventional weapon.
DEBKAfile reports that the authorities in Israel do not appear to be taking this threat seriously, unlike Washington – and Tehran.


US to push for sanctions if no joy from Tehran. Vital Perspective: 'On Thursday, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said the U.S. will push quickly for sanctions if Iran fails to suspend uranium enrichment by an end of August deadline, set by the Security Council. Tehran has said it will respond by August 22 to an offer of economic incentives from the P-5 + 1. The incentives would be in exchange for a suspension of Iran's nuclear enrichment activities.'

North Korea link? CTB: 'When news broke Friday that North Korea may be preparing for an underground detonation of a nuclear device, the question that immediately arose in my mind was whether this was linked to Iran's self-imposed Aug. 22 deadline for providing a final answer about its nuclear development. Certainly the two countries have cooperated in the past.'

Bernard Lewis explains it all. Via LGF, historian Bernard Lewis explains the significance of the August 22 date:
In Islam, as in Judaism and Christianity, there are certain beliefs concerning the cosmic struggle at the end of time--Gog and Magog, anti-Christ, Armageddon, and for Shiite Muslims, the long awaited return of the Hidden Imam, ending in the final victory of the forces of good over evil, however these may be defined. Mr. Ahmadinejad and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced. It may even have a date, indicated by several references by the Iranian president to giving his final answer to the U.S. about nuclear development by Aug. 22. This was at first reported as "by the end of August," but Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement was more precise.
What is the significance of Aug. 22? This year, Aug. 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to "the farthest mosque," usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (c.f., Koran XVII.1). This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world. It is far from certain that Mr. Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind.

A passage from the Ayatollah Khomeini, quoted in an 11th-grade Iranian schoolbook, is revealing. "I am decisively announcing to the whole world that if the world-devourers [i.e., the infidel powers] wish to stand against our religion, we will stand against their whole world and will not cease until the annihilation of all them. Either we all become free, or we will go to the greater freedom which is martyrdom. Either we shake one another's hands in joy at the victory of Islam in the world, or all of us will turn to eternal life and martyrdom. In both cases, victory and success are ours."

In this context, mutual assured destruction, the deterrent that worked so well during the Cold War, would have no meaning.


August 22 and uranium enrichment. DebkaNet Weekly (subscription): 'Next Tuesday, Aug. 22, Tehran will reveal to the world that it has made important progress in uranium enrichment development following a breakthrough in the activation of P-2 centrifuges.
A loud international outcry is expected to ensue, together with another urgent demand from Washington to impose punitive sanctions on the Islamic Republic. However, foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki predicts that the Lebanon war’s impact will mute Western protests and persuade the Europeans more easily to oppose sanctions for long enough to give Iran more breathing space. The Russians and Chinese and their vetoes are in the bag. He is sure Europe will now shrink back from any military showdown with Iran and even the United States will reconsider any planned assaults.'

2006-08-16

Morning Report: August 16, 2006

Waiting. Latest developments in the interbellum.

Lebanon: Army units to deploy. Debka: 'Lebanese units plan to deploy north of the Litani Wednesday and start moving south Thursday – provided PM Siniora clinches a deal with Hizballah’s Nasrallah. They are discussing the juxtaposition between Lebanese and Hizballah deployments in the south and along the borders with Syria, on the assumption -which the Israeli government refuses to acknowledge: the beefed up UNIFIL force is a non-starter. Only three Muslim nations have offered contingents, Indonesia, Malaysia and Morocco. The main component from France is no longer in the running, as French foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy informed Beirut Tuesday. Other countries dropped out too after learning that Fouad Siniora will neither disarm Hizballah nor end its presence in the south, having bowed to Nasrallah’s threats.' (Debka)

Lashkar-e-Taiba aka Jamaad-ud-Dawa in Britain. Counterterrorism Blog:
Yesterday, in response to reports in the Washington Post and the New York Times implicating Pakistani earthquake relief funds in the latest airliner bomb plot in Great Britain, Abdullah Muntazir--a prominent spokesman for the Islamic militant organization Jamaat-ud-Dawa (a.k.a. Lashkar-e-Taiba)--denied playing any role in the plot and further insisted that the group is "totally based in Pakistan" and has no presence abroad in the United Kingdom, nor does it collect money in Europe.

While it remains to be seen exactly how Jamaat-ud-Dawa funds played into the latest UK terror plot, there is ample and undeniable evidence that the group has been actively raising funds and recruiting in Western Europe and North America. What is even more ironic/humorous about Muntazir's current denials is that previously--in an inexplicable contradiction--he has openly acknowleged that LeT/Jamaat-ud-Dawa recruited British nationals of South Asian descent and trained them in jihad tactics. The following is an excerpt from an expert witness report I submitted earlier this year on behalf of British Crown Prosecutors in the criminal case of Regina v. Mohammed Ajmal Khan, Palvinder Singh, et al. (Snaresbrook Court):

In order to obtain advanced military technology and to recruit Westernized operatives, LeT has relied upon a global network of militants and supporters—with primary focus on North America and the United Kingdom. ...

Full article at the link. (CTB)

Halutz says he didn't know about time constraints. Ha'Aretz: 'The decision to expand the ground operation in Lebanon and advance to the Litani River was not made with the knowledge that the fighting would end within 48 hours, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Wednesday. "When we began the operation, we did not know we only had 48 hours. We knew a diplomatic process was set to begin, but we didn't know we'd have to stop after 48 hours," Halutz said. He noted that when the decision to expand the fighting was made, the United Nations Security Council had not yet approved a resolution on the cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah. He also said the operation had been planned for Wednesday, but was delayed by two days due to diplomatic efforts being made. Halutz hinted that the expansion of the operation was meant to apply pressure on the UN. ...' (Ha'Aretz)

Iran Focus: IRI was behind Hezbollah attack. No big surprises here, but Iran Focus is reporting: 'Iran masterminded the July 12 attack on an Israeli military squad by the Lebanese militia Hezbollah which ignited a major military offensive against the group by the Jewish state, Iran Focus has learnt. A well-placed source inside the clerical establishment told Iran Focus that prior to the start of hostilities Tehran dispatched several top officials including the chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to attend a summit in Syria which took place on July 4 and focused on ways to upset the regional balance in the Middle East. Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of the founder of the Islamic Republic, travelled to the Syrian capital last month, staying in Damascus between July 1 and 6 under the cover of pilgrimage to a revered Shiite Muslim shrine.' (Iran Focus)

Al-Qaeda's third-ranking man was behind airline plot: Pakistani source. AKI/DAWN via The Intelligence Summit: 'Al-Qaeda’s number three was the mastermind behind the plot to blow up transatlantic flights, an intelligence source in the Pakistani capital has said. "It is not Osama bin Laden and it’s not Ayman Al-Zawahiri, but someone close to the rank of Abu Faraj Al-Libbi," the source told Pakistani daily Dawn. It is an Afghanistan-based Al Qaeda connection, the source said requesting he not be named and adding that al-Qaeda’s link to the London airline bombing plot was established. Abu Faraj Al-Libbi, a third-tier Al Qaeda operative was believed involved in an attempt to assassinate President Gen Pervez Musharraf and was arrested in Mardan in May 2005. Seventeen people had died in the failed attack in Rawalpindi in December 2005.' (TIS)

Briefly noted. Condi says the US and Israel won and Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran lost, but Tammy isn't impressed.

Commentary. Citing Daniel Pipes, Alexandra von Maltzan writes: 'Pipes says that Western Governments "need to see public relations as part of their strategy"; that Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations like Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood clearly do. This is undoubtedly true. But the part that struck me is that it shouldn't be so. ... The question we must ask: How is it possible that in a nation, where 'success' has been elevated to a quasi-religious status in virtually all parts of society and activities, almost half its population rejects, what throughout human history used to be not just any, but the number one source for individual pride and self-esteem, the economic and military might of that, their very own, nation. When we begin to understand the answer to this question, will be also understand that public relations efforts are not the cure, but more often than not completely counterproductive.'

What is it that you would fight for? As an individual, what would you fight for? Probably most liberals of good conscience would have no trouble answering this question, and no doubt their answers would be both sincere and noble. The missing link is the individual's identification with the nation - the recognition that she or he has a stake and a positive role in the nation as a whole, including its government and including its security and including its defense. It's up to the individual to forge that link - but upon it, the well-being of society depends.

2006-08-15

Morning Report: August 15, 2006

Wait for the ricochet. The abortive Israel/Hezbollah war leads to a redrawing of lines and a strengthening of sides - and an old disease crops up in Britain.

Big Pharaoh on Hezbollah war fallout. Big Pharaoh quotes bloggers on Nasrallah. Raja: 'It is true that Hizballah survived this onslaught, and in so doing, was able to achieve an unprecedented feat. However, it failed to accomplish anything else, and nomatter how much better it prepared for this war, could not have accomplished more. On that note, I have a message I wish to convey to Nasrallah (and I think I speak for the majority of Lebanese when I say this): Enough. ... The Israelis are now taking their Prime Minister to task for his folly. It would be a BIG shame if the Lebanese (including your own constituents, Mr. Nasrallah) do not take you to task. Did you really pose a deterrence to Israel? Could they have inflicted any more damage to the country? Were you the one who prevented them from doing so? Were your arms worth the price all of us paid? Can Lebanon continue like this? Will Lebanon be able to get back on its feet if you do not alter your own course? And finaly, can you and your organization, Mr. Nasrallah, really survive without Lebanon?' Charles Malik (formerly Lebanon.Profile) has this to say:
I didn't believe Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah when he said Hezbollah has more than 15,000 missiles.

I didn't believe any of the Hezbollah cheerleaders who claimed that Hezbollah soldiers are as good or better than most of the premier special forces units outside of the Western world. I took it as a given that they are the best fighting troops amongst the Arab countries, which is not saying much, but better than Iran, Pakistan, India? ...

Former UNIFIL spokesman Timur Goksel regularly spoke and speaks about the professionalism of Hezbollah. ...

I always doubted him. I believed him to a degree, but I thought he was exaggerating, even when we spoke just after the 12 July conflict began.

I was wrong.

Citing Michael Totten and Lisa Goldman, Malik says, "I realize just how much damage Hezbollah has inflicted on Israel." There's much more at the link, and it's well worth reading. And go to Big Pharaoh's post for more links. (various via BP)

MosNews: Hezbollah had Russian weapons? We're shocked! Via The Intelligence Summit, MosNews notes with some pride: 'Abandoned Hezbollah positions in Lebanon yesterday revealed conclusive evidence that Syria — and almost certainly Iran — provided the Russian-made anti-tank missiles that have blunted the power of Israel’s once invincible armor, the Daily Telegraph reported. After one of the fiercest confrontations of the war, Israeli forces took the small town of Ghandouriyeh, east of the southern city of Tyre, on Sunday evening, hours before a ceasefire brokered by the United Nations took effect. ... The discovery helped to explain the slow progress made by Israeli ground forces in nearly five weeks of a war which Hezbollah last night claimed as “a historic victory.” Israeli political and military leaders are facing mounting criticism over the conduct of the offensive, which was intended to smash the Iranian-backed Shia militia. Outside one of the town’s two mosques a van was found filled with green casings about 6ft long. The serial numbers identified them as AT-5 Spandrel anti-tank missiles. The wire-guided weapon was developed in Russia but Iran began making a copy in 2000.' The article adds: 'The Kornet was unveiled by Russia in 1994. It is laser-guided, has a range of three miles and carries a double warhead capable of penetrating the reactive armour on Israeli Merkava tanks. Russia started supplying them to Syria in 1998.' More information at the link. (MosNews via TIS)

Debka: "Nasrallah is already carving out Lebanon's future." Debka:
Tuesday morning, an Israeli spokesman emphasized that Hassan Narallah “must” obey the Security Council resolution. If he failed to do so, Israel “would have to do the job.” DEBKAfile’s exclusive sources in Beirut report that Nasrallah’s machinations represent a reality which is a world away from this kind of rhetoric:
1. He has notified Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora that the only concession he is willing to make with regard to the Hizballah presence in South Lebanon is to avoid exhibiting his fighters’ weapons in a demonstrative fashion.
2. Hizballah forces in the South will not oppose the deployment of Lebanese troops and a strengthened UNIFIL force, so long as they understand who their hosts are, namely Hizballah. The inference here is that foreign peacekeepers’ steps will be dogged by Hizballah fighters. This action nullifies the injunction to the Beirut government to assert Lebanese sovereignty in every part of the country, which was stressed by the US president in his speech.
3. Siniora must stop referring to Hizballah’s disarmament else Hizballah ministers and MPs will topple his government by withdrawing their parliamentary support.

Full article at the link. (Debka)

Anti-semitism in the U.K. It'll never be the title of a catchy punk-rock tune, but DFME links Jamie Glassman at the Times:
There have always been anti- Semitic jokes. But you know times are changing when you go along to a stand-up show at the Pleasance Courtyard at the Edinburgh Fringe and you hear audience members shouting “Throw them in the oven” when the comic suggests kids should stop playing Cowboys and Indians and replace it with Nazis and Jews.

Stand-up comedy is as good a prism as any through which to look at the changing attitudes in our society. If my past few days are anything to go by then it is becoming increasingly acceptable to hate the Jews. Again.

I’ve seen two comics so far who have been happy to amuse their crowds with Holocaust gags. I’m not sure which to be the more concerned about.

One was a left-leaning angry Australian conspiracy theorist, Steve Hughes, whose show The Storm is an assault on all things Western. “I want to bash Condoleezza Rice’s brain to bits and kill that f****** Jew Richard Perle.” ...

But what is going on in Edinburgh now is no satire. For me, Hughes represents a growing trend among left-thinking people in this country and around the world to accept as dogma that those on the Left should hate Bush, Blair, American imperialism, Israel and, while we’re at it, the Jews. It is a cultural trend that I’ve found increasingly evident but never before has the Jew-hating element been so overt. This week has confirmed that my Jewish paranoia is not entirely unfounded. As the old saying goes: “Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me.”

Read the rest at the link. It's no joke. (The Times via DFME)

Assad vows to recapture Golan Heights. As previously noted here, Syria's Bashar Assad has declared that he will retake the Golan from Israeli control. YNet: 'Syrian President Bashar Assad said his country is prepared for any war that may break out with Israel , adding that he is convinced that the chances for peace have decreased and that “the Golan Heights will be liberated by Syria.” In a special interview with Egyptian newspaper Al-Osboa, Assad said “if Israel launches a war against Syria, it will pay a heavy price.”' Read it all at the link. (YNet)

Commentary. No doubt Israel's enemies in Tehran and Damascus will see the unfinished war in Lebanon as a chance to buy time and rebuild their strength for a final assault on Israel. But the final outcome may not be up to Assad and Ahmadinejad. The Israeli public will demand more decisive action from this government - or from the next one - and opinion is building against Hezbollah on both sides of the border.

The forces of fascism, racism, and anti-semitism won't go down without a fight, but they will go down. They may think they have outsmarted progress by camouflaging themselves in the guise of "liberalism" and "progressivism", but true progress will prevail and true liberation will come - if we have the will for it.

2006-08-14

Afternoon Roundup

Debka: Bashar Assad threatens war with Israel, Siniora's life.
DEBKAfile: Syrian president Bashar Assad: They said peace was the only way but now, after seeing how Hizballah fought, I see an option. “Syrian hands will liberate Golan.” The Syrian ruler threatened not only Israel but also the Siniora government in Beirut: It’s time to go, he said.

MJT: The storm before the calm. Michael Totten's post describes the events of August 11 and 12.
You have to understand what an Israeli invasion of Lebanon looks like. When Americans go to war they fly to the other side of the world and spend weeks or even months preparing to tackle some fly-blown dictatorship, then push hundreds of miles through enemy territory on the way to their targets. Israeli soldiers just take out some wire cutters, snip holes in the fence, and walk into Lebanon.

Tanks rolled into Lebanon, too. From the top of the Alaska Hotel I could see a whole line of them getting ready to blast through Fatima’s Gate and into Hezbollah’s territory. ...

Noah and I walked down the street to the line of tanks so we could interview some of the soldiers.

A young man with sunglasses and a pierced eyebrow asked me to take his picture. “Put me in your magazine,” he said, “next to the hot models in swimsuits and lingerie.”

Gotta go to the link for the rest.

Himadree of The Muslim Woman normally provides profound insights into the lives of women in the Muslim world, and photos of elegant yet modest women sporting the latest in proper Middle Eastern attire. This post is an exception.

Morning Report: August 14, 2006

Taking stock. A cease-fire gives all sides time to assess the situation.

Tehran on Lebanon: That didn't go so well. Debka:
While the damage caused Israel’s military reputation tops Western assessments of the Lebanon war, DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources report an entirely different perception taking hold in ruling circles in Tehran. After UN Security Council resolution 1701 calling for a truce was carried Friday, Aug. 11, the heads of the regime received two separate evaluations of the situation in Lebanon – one from Iran’s foreign ministry and one from its supreme national security council. Both were bleak: their compilers were concerned that Iran had been manipulatively robbed of its primary deterrent asset ahead of a probable nuclear confrontation with the United States and Israel. While the foreign ministry report highlighted the negative aspects of the UN resolution, the council’s document complained that Hizballah squandered thousands of rockets – either by firing them into Israel or having them destroyed by the Israeli air force. The writer of this report is furious over the waste of Iran’s most important military investment in Lebanon merely for the sake of a conflict with Israeli over two kidnapped soldiers. It took Iran two decades to build up Hizballah’s rocket inventory.

DEBKAfile’s sources estimate that Hizballah’s adventure wiped out most of the vast sum of $4-6 bn the Iranian treasury sunk into building its military strength. The organization was meant to be strong and effective enough to provide Iran with a formidable deterrent to Israel embarking on a military operation to destroy the Islamic regime’s nuclear infrastructure.

Hezbollah's defenses, rapidly enhanced after the 2000 Israeli pullout from Lebanon, included biological and chemical countermeasures, night vision equipment, and sophisticated electronics. Their pre-war inventory included some 13,000 rockets. But they only got to fire a few of the Khaibar-1 model, while about 100 were destroyed.
The long-range Zelzal-1 and Zelzal-2, designed for hitting Tel Aviv and the nuclear reactor at Dimona have been degraded even more. Iran sent over to Lebanon 50 of those missiles. The keys to the Zelzal stores stayed in the hands of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers who were in command of Hizballah. Nasrallah and his officers had no access to these stores. But Tehran has learned that Israel was able to destroy most of the 22 Zelzal launchers provided.

And the bad news for Tehran doesn't end there:
The UN Security Council embodied in resolution 1701 a chapter requiring Hizballah to disarm – in the face of a stern warning issued by supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in person in the early days of the war. Revolutionary Guards commanders went so far as to boast: “No one alive is capable of disarming Hizballah.”

Oops. (Debka)

Ledeen: Not separate conflicts. Michael Ledeen: 'Israel cannot destroy Hezbollah by fighting in Lebanon alone, just as we cannot provide Iraq and Afghanistan with decent security by fighting only there. The destruction of Hezbollah requires regime change in Damascus. Security in Iraq and Afghanistan requires regime change in Damascus and Tehran. Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq, and Afghanistan are not separate conflicts. They are battlefields in a regional war. ... Our most potent weapon against them remains the rage and courage of their own peoples. We must support those people, we must openly call and work for regime change in Syria and Iran. Heartbreakingly and foolishly, our failure to support revolution makes military action more and more likely. If we do not do the logical and sensible things, if we do not deploy the massive political weapons at our disposal, we will end by doing terrible things. Or, shrinking from the consequences of such action, we will suffer defeat, and the world will be plunged into a darkness the likes of which any civilized person must dread.' (Ledeen/NRO)

Netanyahu: "A period between wars." Jerusalem Post: 'Opposition leader MK Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud) told the Knesset that "unfortunately, there will be another round [in this war] because the government's just demands weren't met" by the cease-fire agreement that went into effect Monday morning. "The [kidnapped] soldiers weren't returned home, the Hizbullah was not disarmed … Right now, we are [merely] in an interim period between wars," Netanyahu warned. "And there is no one who will prevent our enemies from rearmed and preparing for the next round."' (JPost)

By the numbers. Israel's army estimates 530 enemy dead with 180 currently verified by name. Israel lost 52 civilians to 3,970 rocket attacks: 'Hizbullah terrorists attacked Israel with 3,970 rockets since they began their attack on the north on July 12, killing 52 civilians. Forty people are still being treated for very serious wounds, 50 suffered moderate injuries, 546 were lightly injured and 1,318 were treated for shock. A summary of the attacks shows that the Upper Galilee region of Kiryat Shmona suffered the brunt of the attacks with more than 1,000 rockets, and 808 fell on the coastal area of Nahariya. Tzfat was attacked with 471 Katyushas, and 176 exploded in or near Carmiel, 93 in the Haifa area and 181 in or near Tiberias, on the shores of the Kinneret Lake (Sea of Galilee).' (TIS, A7)

Let the fingers point and the heads roll. Jerusalem Post: 'One of the main questions any commission of inquiry will have to deal with is why it took so long for the ground operation in southern Lebanon to be launched. Another question has to do with the decision made on Friday by Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to order a massive sweep up to the Litani River: Why did they send the troops up to the Litani, knowing that in a few hours - as it happened - the United Nations Security Council would vote and approve a US and France-backed cease-fire resolution?' (JPost)

Briefly noted. Those missing Egyptian students have all been found, and none is considered a terrorism risk.

Commentary. No insights from me today. I'm taking a break.

2006-08-13

Lebanon: Prelude to Iran?

Democracy for the Middle East has returned to regular posting recently, for which we can be very grateful. Looking at the recent conflict in Lebanon, DFME has this to say:
According to the Seymour Hersh, our analysis wasn't too far off:

The US government was closely involved in planning the Israeli campaign in Lebanon, even before Hizbullah seized two Israeli soldiers in a cross border raids in July. American and Israeli officials met in the spring, discussing plans on how to tackle Hizbullah, according to a report published yesterday.
The veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh writes in the current issue of the New Yorker magazine that Israeli government officials travelled to the US in May to share plans for attacking Hizbullah.

Quoting a US government consultant, Hersh said: "Earlier this summer ... several Israeli officials visited Washington, separately, 'to get a green light for the bombing operation and to find out how much the United States would bear'."
The Israeli action, current and former government officials told Hersh, chimed with the Bush administration's desire to reduce the threat of possible Hizbullah retaliation against Israel should the US launch a military strike against Iran.

"A successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign ... could ease Israel's security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American pre-emptive attack to destroy Iran's nuclear installations," sources told Hersh.

Read the rest at the link. Here's YNet:
The New Yorker weekly claims that the Bush Administration was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s retaliatory attacks in Lebanon following the kidnapping of two IDF soldiers by Hizbullah terrorist just over a month ago.

“President (George W.) Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told

me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hizbullah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preemptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground,” investigative reporter Seymour Hersh said in his article. ...

We'll see.

Ahmadinejad's Website: The Islamist virus strikes!

One of the Iranian activists' favorite nicknames for the islamist regime is "the virus". Now it seems the thug-in-chief has decided to take this designation to a new level. Atlas Shrugs:
Over at the inetimable GIYUS blog, Iran is exporting cyber terror through Ahmadjiadman's diabolical website. WARNING: I sraeli bloggers do not log on it will destroy your computer ...

Read the rest at the link. Israeli readers using Internet Explorer, be warned: you have been found unworthy to partake of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's wisdom.

Uri Grossman, 1985-2006

Last night I responded to the book meme posted by JMK. Among the books I mentioned (one that "made me cry") was See Under: Love by the Israeli novelist David Grossman.

Only a few hours later, David's son Uri Grossman was reported killed in Lebanon. As the Jerusalem Post notes, 'In a press conference convened by author David Grossman along with fellow writers A.B. Yehoshua and Amos Oz last week, the three pled with the Israeli government to reach a cease-fire agreement – two days later, Grossman's son, Uri, was killed in Lebanon. ... The three authors initially expressed unequivocal support for a military act of self-defense at the outbreak of the war, but later changed their position in the face of the cabinet's decision to expend operations in Lebanon. Grossman himself argued that Israel already exhausted its self-defense right.'

Arutz Sheva: 'The son of left wing author David Grossman was killed in action in southern Lebanon on Saturday. The soldier, Sergeant First Class, Uri Grossman, is from Mevasseret Zion, outside Jerusalem. Grossman was killed when his tank was hit by a missile in the south Lebanese village of Khirbet Kasif.'

Imshin has more: 'Our girls grew up on a steady diet of Grossman’s wonderful Itamar books, when they were little. I also loved reading them to them, over and over again. He must be a wonderful father to write such magical children’s books. My favorite is called ‘Itamar the Dream Hunter’, in which Itamar’s father teaches him to deal with the demon that haunts his dreams by facing it. ...'

Afternoon Roundup

Ligntningbaron: 'BREAKING on FOXNews in the last hour:

Israeli intelligence and the IDF are monitoring "unusual activity" on the Syrian border in the Golan Heights. Syria is removing anti-tank mines from their border with Israel along the Golan Heights, and moving large numbers of tanks to the border at this time. The first step in an armored assault is to remove your own anti-tank defenses, to clear the way for your advancing armor. Any other time I'd assume this is just a feint (posturing), or a re-taking of the Golan Heights (which is bad enough). But the Syrian army has been mobilizing in the last two weeks. Combine this news with Iran & Syria possibly thinking (perhaps rightfully so) that Israel & the U.S. just "blinked" with Resolution 1701 and the cease-fire...and...well....this does not bode well.'

Hezbollah loses two drones: 'The IDF shot down a Hizbullah UAV on Sunday night that had crossed into Israeli airspace. The unmanned aerial vehicle was loaded with explosives. Another Hizbullah UAV crashed near Tyre on Sunday night, due to a mechanical failure.'

Debka: Condi's stark warning to Siniora. 'Rice calls Lebanese PM to warn him that if the UN Lebanon resolution is not implemented, “We will not be responsible for the consequences”. Earlier, Israeli FM Tzipi Livni put in urgent calls to the US secretary and the French foreign minister in an effort to salvage the ceasefire from Iranian-backed Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s 12th-hour retraction of his consent.'

Bomb hits internet cafe in Baghdad. Stratfor (subscription) reports: '1921 GMT - A building In the Zafaraniyah district of Baghdad was demolished after two explosions Aug. 13. The first blast reportedly took place inside an Internet cafe on the first floor of the four-floor building; it was followed minutes later by a car bomb outside, which brought the building down. A third bomb targeted rescuers on their way to help. Some 20 deaths have been reported.'

Hezbollah in PowerPoint.
With the ceasfire set to go into effect in just a few hours, we understand that many people still do not fully comprehend who and what Hezbollah is. We hope this will help.

Hezbollah is an Islamic Shiite terror organization founded in 1982 that was formed to expel U.S., French and Israeli troops from Lebanon; it has since widened its sphere of activity though. Despite being designated as a terrorist organization by U.S. and Canada, being on a watchlist by the EU, and having it be a crime to support and/or identify with the 'militant wing' in Australia, Hezbollah argues that it is a national "resistance" organization. The fact is though, that it has evolved into a substantial global terrorist network. In 2002, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage called Hezbollah the "A-team" of terrorists.

Their fundamental Shiite ideology is baed on both the writings of Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr and the radical Shiite-Islamic doctrine conceived by Iran's spiritual leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini. The ideology is consistent and relentless in its struggle against Israel until the "liberation of Jerusalem" and the annihilation of Israel are achieved ...

Morning Report: August 13, 2006

At home and abroad. War scenes from all over.

"Nazi kikes out of Lebanon." Via Solomonia, Zombie brings us the latest enlightened discourse from liberal, peace-loving San Francisco. (Zombie via Solomonia)

From the shooting gallery: Michael J. Totten. Michael Totten:
It looked, then, like the war was winding down. The Israeli government had tentatively agreed to a cease-fire deal that would gain Israel practically nothing. Noah and I were both frustrated and worried. All of Northern Israel is darkened and abandoned, Lebanon is bombed back to the third world, and for what? There was talk in the local newspapers about removing catastrophically unfit Ehud Olmert from the prime minister’s office immediately.

The further north we drove, the less relevant talk of cease-fires and parliaments seemed. ...

Michael Oren: “We destroyed a lot of their infrastructure. They had more weapons and more underground bunkers and tunnels than we had any idea. People coming out of there say it’s vast. ... Look at Nasrallah today. In 2000 he did his victory dance in Bint Jbail. He can’t do that this time. His command and control south of Beirut is completely gone. We killed 550 Hezbollah fighters south of the Litani out of an active force of 1250. Nasrallah claimed South Lebanon would be the graveyard of the IDF. But we only lost one tenth of one percent of our soldiers in South Lebanon. The only thing that went according to his plan was their ability to keep firing rockets. If he has enough victories like this one, he’s dead.” Full article, with lots of photos, at the link. (MJT)

From the shooting gallery: Lisa Goldman. Lisa at On the Face: 'As Davide and I drove into Kiryat Shmona on Sunday afternoon, the sirens were wailing; we could hear the thundering of outgoing tank artillery and explosions of incoming missiles. All the businesses were closed, the traffic lights blinked on amber (because who would stop for a red light when missiles were falling?) and there was no-one on the streets but soldiers - plus, incongruously, one large-bellied white-haired man with a slightly mad look in his eyes who wore shorts, a T-shirt and flip flops and stood at the entrance to an apartment building. Those who could afford to leave Kiryat Shmona had done so; the ones left behind were the poor, the sick and the elderly. The nearly abandoned city reminded us of scenes in Hollywood movies set in Grozny - or Sarajevo, circa 1992 ...' (OTF)

Magic Mofaz. The Hashmonean has some favorable words for Shaul Mofaz. (Hashmonean)

Atlas interviews Bolton. Pamela of Atlas Shrugs has an audio interview with John Bolton at the link. (Atlas Shrugs)

Commentary. Twenty-four Israeli cabinet ministers voted to accept the UN ceasefire resolution, explains Debka, while 24 Israeli soldiers died in battle. 'How did it happen that 24 Israeli cabinet ministers who voted to accept the UN resolution all fell into the trap devised by Iran and Narallah? Israeli leaders say the troops will not be recalled until a beefed up UNIFIL force is in place, but no international peacekeepers will deploy without a Lebanese military presence and that has now been checked by Nasrallah. Sunday, Hizballah deployed dozens of fighters for furious anti-tank missile assaults on IDF tanks and field units along the front. Fierce clashes raged just north of the Israeli town of Metula and other parts of the former “security strip” on the border.'

Israel and its supporters must discover whether they have the nerve to win this. We can win, but only if we have the nerve. Our enemies will be watching closely.

Book Meme

Tagged by: Jeremayakovka

1. One book that changed your life
Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, Halakhic Man

This one book changed my entire way of thinking about Orthodox Judaism and completely demolished the stereotypes I'd been taught by the liberal Jewish world.

- and -
Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

This book helped me to come to terms with my dysfunctional family background. Macon ("Milkman") Dead has to deal with a lot of tough problems, including external oppression (from a racist society) and internal oppression (from within the family). He learns to liberate himself by understanding the mistakes his parents made - and by accepting the magical secret that they passed on to him. I'm planning to write a post on SoS one of these days.

2. One book you have read more than once
Daniel Pinkwater, Lizard Music

This book is simply sublime.

3. One book you would want on a desert island
Samuel R. Delany, Stars in my Pocket like Grains of Sand


4. One book that made you laugh
Alison Bechdel, Dykes to Watch Out For (the series)


5. One book that made you cry
David Grossman, See Under: Love (tr. by Betsy Rosenberg)

-and-
Audre Lorde, The Complete Poems


6. One book you wish had been written
Stephanie McLintock, The First Half: My Life and Works at Age 42

If only.

- also -
Tammy Bruce, Mary Cheney, and Irshad Manji, GWOT: The Gay War On Terror; Why the Queer Community Must Unite Against Islamic Fascism

I'm thinking of using that for a post title.

7. One book you wish had never been written
Sayyid Qutb, the complete works


8. One book you're currently reading
Bernard Lewis, The Middle East
Richard Feynman, The Feynman Lectures on Physics


9. One book you've been meaning to read
Stephen Wolfram, The Mathematica Book


A tragic update: David Grossman's son Uri has just been reported killed.

2006-08-11

War Bulletin: The Fog of War

Michael Totten's new podcast (8:17) from Metulla on the Israeli/Lebanese border paints a picture of tight-lipped Israeli soldiers crossing into Lebanon on foot. Now - after a seemingly endless and apparently pointless delay - Israel's ground invasion has begun.

A report from Stratfor (subscription) notes the unusually high level of infighting within the Israeli government, but does not ascribe the delay exclusively to that - or to any other known factor. "Something is holding the Israelis back", the report observes; "there is an aspect to Israeli thinking that we do not understand".

Maybe the events of the coming week will make things clearer.

Beyond the Whore/Madonna Complex: A Sense of Self

There's a great new post by Tekanji at Alas, a Blog on modesty vs. raunch culture. Although I find her critique of "modesty" too sweeping, she makes some excellent points about the culture of shame that drives the objectification and fetishization of women. Here is part of her critique of exhibitionistic "raunch culture":
... just as the choice to adopt “modest” dress does not live in a vaccum, neither does the choice to wear “revealing” clothing. There is a lot of pressure on young girls to adopt a particular style of dress. ...

Raunch culture guilts and shames women into putting on a sexual performance for men, whether they want to or not. It sets up a “right” way to express sexuality, and by pushing the notion that men are entitled to sexual gratification, even if it’s just in the form of women wearing low-cut shirts, it ignores the fact that true sexual liberation comes from people being able to make choices about what makes them happy without being guilted and/or shamed into acting a certain way. In that way, it is very much a part of, and a method of perpetuating, a sexually negative culture.

The political Right (as I noted in an earlier post) is sometimes schizophrenic on this. The neoconservative side of the brain waxes eloquent about the oppression of women under the burqa-enforcing yoke of Islam, but the social-conservative side of the brain thinks women ought to stay covered up. But what really matters is our freedom to set our own limits.

In a Purim-related post in 2004, I wrote:
Vashti, the queen of Persia, commits an open act of defiance against the King. After seven days of feasting, King Ahasuerus, in his cups, commands that the his wife the queen be brought before all the men “wearing a royal diadem” – and nothing else, as the traditional interpretation has it. Queen Vashti, furious, refuses this degrading order.

The king is so taken aback that he has to consult his advisers as to what to do next. An official named Memucan opines that Vashti’s insurrection will “make all wives despise their husbands” and that therefore she must be exiled immediately, lest there be “no end of scorn and provocation.” This edict, he continues, should be promulgated “throughout the lands of Persia and Media,” after which the king should take another bride “more worthy” than Vashti, so that “all wives will treat their husbands with respect.” King Ahasuerus does exactly as Memucan instructs.

Let us notice the implications. It is the king’s honor, and not the queen’s, that is of concern here. In fact, simply by insisting on her own dignity and autonomy, the insubordinate queen is a threat to his honor. And finally, the king, as ruler of his country, has an obligation to uphold this patriarchal value system lest it infect the lower classes.

What is the right that was so important to Vashti? Simply put, it is the right to wear clothes. It is the right to define her own boundaries, and to claim her body as her own. It is her right to exist.

It is also the right to present herself to the world in a fashion of her own choosing. Beyond the need to keep warm, beyond our basic instinct for decency, we wear clothes to express ourselves. Getting dressed is the first creative act we do every day. There is something so fundamental about this need that people will risk punishment for it. In contemporary Iran, some women deliberately wear colored socks, or allow a forbidden strand of hair to show, simply to assert their own autonomy in the face of Islamic totalitarianism. ...

I also argue (as does Tekanji) that our right to choose our mode of dress is intimately linked to our gender expression: 'By covering ourselves, we create the possibility of defining our own relationship to gender. Transgendered individuals, like the defiant Iranian women, have often risked harrassment and physical violence in order to dress according to their own identities. Those of us who do not identify with our socially dictated “assigned gender” can identify with that Persian queen: Vashti’s right to wear a dress is my right to wear a dress.' (See also my post on the Kabbalah.)

Go read Tekanji's full post at the link. And don't forget to bookmark Alas, a Blog.

Somewhere between totalitarianism and anarchy there is a world where we are free as individuals to define our own boundaries. It's a world where we can express ourselves - and conceal ourselves - without fear of persecution or exploitation. It is a free world, a world that we can make a reality.

Morning Report: August 11, 2006

What next? Israel's leader, facing an unprecedented crisis of confidence, must decide quickly which course to take in Lebanon; but the Israelis seem to be getting ready to shift tactics in favor of a more mobile approach.

Islamic fascists in Iran threaten terror attacks against the West. The Counterterrorism Blog reports: 'Hossein Shariatmadari, the president of the conservative Iranian Kayhan newspaper, wrote in his newspaper on July 31, 2006 an article where he asked "young Muslims to attack Zionists, Zionist centers as well as the embassies of the countries supporting Israel such as the U.S., the U.K., etc." and nobody really cares. Shariatmadari is a mouthpiece for the regime in Tehran, and is appointed personally by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini.' Go to the link to read about the Iranian regime's European hostages. (CTB)

PA crumbling? Vital Perspective: 'MediaLine reports that there are increasing signs from Gaza and Ramallah that the Palestinian Authority will soon be disbanded. The ongoing rift between the Hamas-led government and the Fatah-backed, de-jure leader of the Palestinians Mahmoud Abbas means nothing is being done for the people, particularly in Gaza. ...' (VP)

Israeli opinion on Olmert. "Hurry up and wait" is a well-known military adage, but it took Ehud Olmert to elevate it to a strategic doctrine. Ari Shavit in Ha'Aretz: 'If Olmert runs away now from the war he initiated, he will not be able to remain prime minister for even one more day. Chutzpah has its limits. You cannot lead an entire nation to war promising victory, produce humiliating defeat and remain in power. You cannot bury 120 Israelis in cemeteries, keep a million Israelis in shelters for a month, wear down deterrent power, bring the next war very close, and then say - oops, I made a mistake. ... There is no mistake Ehud Olmert did not make this past month.' Jerusalem Post: 'No one, except perhaps Hizbullah, wants Israel to be stuck in Lebanon again. We can expect that more ground forces will probably mean more casualties among our soldiers, even if such an operation succeeds in significantly reducing the barrages of short-range missiles that are terrorizing the north. On balance, however, the price Israel will have to pay to degrade Hizbullah further will be considerably lower than the one it will pay in the future if it ends this war now.' Yechiel Spira in Arutz Sheva: 'It appears that United Nations efforts are concentrating on halting Israeli military operations throughout Lebanon, but no effort is being made to eliminate the Hizbullah threat. The draft agreement only calls for pushing Hizbullah north of the Litani, not far enough from Israel’s northern border to place Hizbullah rockets out of range from northern Israeli civilian population centers.' Not too surprisingly, The Intelligence Summit reports: 'Israel's government is losing domestic support for its conduct of the conflict against Hizbullah guerrillas in Lebanon, and doubt is growing among Israelis that they are winning the war, according to polls published Friday. The army's failure to end incessant attacks is likely one reason for the drop in the government's popularity figures.' (various)

Russia on Hezbollah weapons: Who, us? As reported here last night, some sources are reporting that powerful anti-tank weapons - the Sagger AT-3A missile, the Metis-M 9K115-2 and the Kornet ATGM - are claiming as many as two Israeli tanks daily. This appears in the wake of a recent Russian deal to sell weapons to Syria. Russia, however, claims to be "bewildered" by suggestions that it had any part in arming Hezbollah. Perhaps in response - or as a sign of a shift in tactics - Israel is keen on getting some new antipersonnel weapons: 'Israel has asked for the M-26 artillery rockets scheduled for early 2007 to be airlifted now, according to the They are designed for rapid consignment to the US army by C-141 Galaxy transports. Fired in 12-rocket barrages, they carry hundreds of grenade-like bomblets that scatter and explode over a broad area (compared with Hizballah’s Katyusha rockets, each of which contains 40,000 tiny steel balls). DEBKAfile’s military sources add: the M-26 is the last word in this type of rocket. It can be loaded 80 percent faster than the weapons used by the IDF – no more than 5 minutes. This enables a rocket crew to load, shoot and run to safety before the attack, lending the weapon its “shoot and scoot” capability. Israel is asking for the rockets now because it has been unable to suppress Hezbollah’s Katyusha rocket attacks which are killing Israeli civilians every day. The cluster rocket can penetrate Hizballah fortifications. A senior US official said the M-26 is likely to be released shortly, along with other arms. ....' (various)

Attacks on Israel continue. Arutz Sheva: 'A Kheiber-1 302mm long-range rocket landed in Haifa in the last wave of attacks. no injuries were reported.' Jerusalem Post: 'A katyusha rocket directly hit an eleven story building in Kiryat Shmona Fiday afternoon. MDA staff evacuated one person in moderately condition.' (A7, JPost)

Welcome Newstex readers! Morning Report is pleased to announce that Dreams Into Lightning is now indexed on Newstex.

Commentary. Vital Perspective summarizes Yousef Ibrahim's article in the New York Sun:
* Lebanon and Iraq are full-blown crises, both driven by Shiite and Sunni jihadists. In Iraq, the Shiites and Sunnis are fighting each other, but they occasionally join hands in an effort to defeat the American project. In Lebanon, the Shiite Hezbollah terror group has dragged the country into a war with Israel, but in the process is returning Lebanon to the combined influence zone of Iran and Syria while destroying its Western-friendly government.
* In Gaza, a jihadist Palestinian Arab terror group, Hamas, is engaged in a second-front war with Israel.
* In Egypt and Jordan, two countries that have signed a peace treaty with Israel, the jihadist Muslim Brotherhood is ramping up the pressure, organizing demonstrations and a huge press campaign in support of the ongoing Hezbollah and Hamas wars.
* From his hideout in Afghanistan, Ayman al-Zawahiri has announced a union of al-Qaeda with Gamaa Islamiya of Egypt, the terror group that assassinated President Sadat. Gamaa Islamiya is urging all jihadists to support their Shiite Hezbollah brethren in Lebanon, and pushing for all jihadists in Iraq to fight Americans.
* In Baghdad last week, the Iraqi Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr organized the largest anti-American, anti-Israel demonstration in the world, in the very heart of the Iraqi capital.
* Yesterday, the world was reminded once again how far the jihadist tentacles extend, as Britain announced the arrest of 24 Muslims on the verge of launching the biggest attack on airplanes and passengers since the September 11, 2001, assault on America.

VP adds that "there is no evidence these jihadists have coordinated their actions, but they are waving at each other under what will surely be a unity banner. How could they not?"

The anti-victory left has made much of the claim that our various enemies on various fronts are disparate groups and not a single, unified force. The message, of course, is that "there is no real external enemy", which is a central pillar of leftist thinking: the target of attack must at all times be the West's own leadership.

Tactically, it matters how our enemies are connected with one another, if indeed they are. But in the global war for civilization, it makes no difference at all. Because, unlike the left, our ultimate objective is not to stand against something but to stand for something.

To win the battle on the ground, we need to find out where the Katyushas and Saggers are coming from and put a stop to it. To win the battle for the future, it is necessary to continue building - and defending - a positive culture with positive values. This means engaging in scholarship, creativity, and constructive debate across all segments of the pro-civilization world: liberals, conservatives, neoconservatives, atheists, evangelicals, gay activists, feminists, and people from every religion and philosophy.

The nihilistic left, like the moribund Palestinian Authority, has no positive program and nothing to offer. It can only go on creating enemies until it eats itself alive. For the rest of us, there is more to life than this. Whether our enemies are few or many, we must defeat them and make sure that they do not threaten us again. And we must go on with our lives. We've got a world to build.

Sharansky Assails Fumbling Olmert

Jerry Gordon at Israpundit:
Today, I heard from one of the few in Israel’s Knesset with any moral clarity, renown international human rights icon and former Likud cabinet member, Natan Sharansky.

The occasion was a conference call convened by One Jerusalem and host Allen Roth with several bloggers, among them ‘Atlas Shrugs, ‘Boker Tov, Boulder,’ ‘Right Wing News,’ and me representing ‘Israpundit.’

We were granted an unprecedented opportunity to ask questions and hear a response from M.K. Sharansky. Who despite his leave taking from the incapacitated Sharon’s cabinet in 2005 over last August’s Gaza unilateral disengagement is nevertheless a member of Knesset security committees. So, he is privy to much of the IDF war plans and security cabinet debates and decisions and what lies behind them. Because of his book ‘The Case For Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror,’ cowritten with Ron Dermer and laudatory comments from President Bush and his visits in Washington, he also presumably has the ear of key decisionmakers in the Bush Administration and the Congress.

Sharansky repeatedly described the Olmert government as ‘hesitant, tentative, unsure’ in its decision-making when as he graphically pointed ‘two million live in bomb shelters’ every night. The impression that Sharansky lent during the call is that virtually all of the population want this war prosecuted and fast and is behind the IDF to do it.

War Bulletin: New Threats for Israel

The new issue of DebkaNet Weekly (subscription) carries describes the threat Israeli troops are facing from a well-supplied enemy, including three types of anti-tank missiles (the Sagger AT-3A missile, the Metis-M 9K115-2 and the Kornet ATGM) which have inflicted significant losses on the Israeli tank corps. DNW adds, though, that the first tanks engaged by the enemy may have been early production models not fitted with full countermeasures (in particular the Trophy system made by General Dynamics), built at a time when Israel did not envision a significant anti-tank threat on the horizon. DNW also mentions a sophisticated Hezbollah communications system (supplied by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps) which was able to overcome Israeli countermeasures.

Stratfor (subscription) reports that Hezbollah was able to deceive Israel about the number of rocket launchers it destroyed by using heat-emitting decoys, which absorbed Israeli airstrikes after the real launchers had been removed. They're also reporting heavy fighting in the Eastern District in southern Lebanon.

Night Flashes

CTB traces a string of al-Q plots against planes: 'In statement by Osama bin Laden issued in early October 2002, he warned: “We will target the nodes of your economy.” ... but the Iranian economy isn't doing so hot, as 20,000 workers lose their jobs in Mazandaran province: "Unfortunately the employment situation in the industrial city of Ghaem-shahr is destroyed and factories and workers are in a very bad situation; unemployment is the biggest concern for the authorities here.” ... and Ahmad Batebi (you remember, the T-shirt guy) is on a hunger strike after his re-arrest and his family are being told not to get any ideas about speaking out ...

... Arutz Sheva lists the names of Israel's fallen soldiers ...

Drinks on a plane!

Wisdom from the LiveJournal universe, via rhiannonstone:
First they came for the knitting needles, and I didn't speak up
Because I wasn't much of a knitter
Then they came for the shoes, and I didn't speak up
Because I wear sandals
Then they came for the lighters, and I didn't speak up
Because I don't smoke
Then they came for my Dr Pepper
And now it's on, motherfuckers.

Islamic Fascists Object to Being Called "Islamic Fascists"

Via Atlas: CAIR objects to Bush's use of the term "Islamic fascists".
We believe this is an ill-advised term and we believe that it is counter-productive to associate Islam or Muslims with fascism,” said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations advocacy group.
Tough shit.

FDD Update

Foundation for the Defense of Democracies:
Notes and Comments
1559 OR FIGHT? Two years ago, the "international community" expressed its will. UN Security Council Resolution 1559 -- a rare Chapter VII resolution that carries the force of international law -- calls for Hezbollah to be disarmed.

Had 1559 been implemented, Hezbollah would not have been able to launch a war without the consent of the government and people of Lebanon. Had 1559 been implemented, many Lebanese and Israelis who have been killed in recent weeks would still be alive today.

One thing should be clear: Hezbollah cannot use this war as a way to accomplish the de facto repeal of 1559. Hezbollah must, finally, be disarmed. If not, the lesson will be that the international community rewards aggression. That will mean more aggression, more wars in the future, not fewer. Yes, it's that simple. My column on a related theme is here.

MEDIA AND MESSAGE, PART I: I was watching CNN on Sunday when precision bombing was being carried out by Israel on Hezbollah targets in a Beirut suburb, and Hezbollah was firing missiles at civilians in Haifa.

The first headline focused on the Arab "outrage." The second headline was passive: "Haifa hit by barrage of rockets."

How do you explain this difference? Discuss among yourselves.

MEDIA AND MESSAGE, PART DEUX: Charles Johnson of the Little Green Footballs blog found evidence that Reuters photographers have been manipulating photos of Lebanon to make Israel look worse. More here.

Civilian Casualties

From the 911Neocons group, member isirota sounds off:
Israel is taking so much grief from so many countries over
its "disproportionate" response to the Hezbollah terrorist attack.
I was wondering what the record of some of those countries who are
criticizing Israel might be.

Let's see, why don't we start with Russia. Ah, the Russians are a
peaceful group, aren't they? Why, look at what they did in
Chechnya: http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/archive/index.php/t-
1965.html. Estimates range from 20,000 to well over 100,000 Chechen
civilians were killed when Grozny was levelled. Now, the Chechens
undoubtedly have engaged in terrorist acts against Russia, but they
didn't killed tens of thousands. So, methinks the Russian response
was, shall we say, DISPROPORTIONATE.

Okay, what about those wonderful nations of Western Europe. I'll
give you that they don't like to use military action. Hell, they
were protected by the American nuclear umbrella for 50+ years after
WWII, so they really didn't have to do much (though the ultra-
hypocritical French managed to knock off some 82,000 Algerian
civilians when that country dared to assert that it should not be a
French colony--see http://www.ppu.org.uk/war/facts/www00-95a.html),
but now they've been involved in some military adventures of late,
like in Bosnia and Kosova (through NATO). How many civilians were
killed there? Well, according Human Rights Watch, over 1,000
civilians were killed in those two actions. See
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2000/nato/Natbm200-01.htm and
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2000/nato/Natbm200.htm.

Now, near as I can tell, Serbia NEVER threatened Western Europe, and
NEVER posed an existential threat to France, or Holland, or Great
Britain, or Germany, etc. Any of you remember Serbian suicide
bombers blowing themselves up in Parisian cafes? How about in
London pubs? No? What about in German brauhaus'? I didn't think
so.

And of course, Israel has been condemned by those paragons of
virtue, the Chinese. In Tiananmen Square, the government itself
admits that it killed at least 200 people, but estimates range into
the thousands. See
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiananmen_Square_protests_of_1989.
Those numbers too low for you? Ask the Tibetans how nicely they've
been treated. Over 1,000,000 (a conservative estimate, according to
some) of them have died as a result of the Chinese takeover. See
http://www.asiaquarterly.com/content/view/34/40/. Let's do the
math, shall we? That works out to 18,181.8 people per year since
1951, when the Chinese moved in. Gee, sounds kind of
DISPROPORTIONATE to me, especially given that I don't believe that
Tibetans have ever lobbed so much as a snowball in the direction of
Shanghai, Beijing, Nanjing, Guangzhou, etc., etc.

Then there is the Arab League, and the various Muslim organizations
around the world. I wonder what they have to say about Darfur,
where over 300,000 people have died and 1.2 million have been
rendered homeless? See http://www.sudantribune.com/article.php3?
id_article=16199. Gee, not a thing. What a shocker! Then again,
that situation involves Muslims killing non-Muslims, so that's
justified, I guess.

And what about Rwanda? Twelve years ago, 500,000 Tutsis were
murdered by the Hutu government. See
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/04/07/world/main610604.shtml.
Yet, the world did nothing, and I don't recally any mass protests
around the world to decry what was going on. I don't recall
Security Council condemnations being issued, or resolutions being
contemplated. Where was France then? Where was Russia? Where was
China? Where was the Arab League?

What's my point in all of this? It is simply this: There is one
standard for Israel, and another for the rest of the world. The
discussion of "proportionality" is a joke, offered only because
those who hate Israel or simply can't bring themselves to say that
they don't like Jews can't come up with anything better to say in
response to what is obviously a defensive action. It's frustrating
and it is simply wrong.

Okay, I'm done ranting for the day........

Israeli and Lebanese Bloggers at Iraqi Bloggers Central






Thanks to Jeffrey from New York in the Comments, for calling our attention to an excellent series of posts at Iraqi Bloggers Central. First of all, if you've been missing IBC, you've been missing out on an excellent web journal, so why not take a moment to bookmark that IBC homepage on your browser!

The new series is a collection of interviews with Lebanese and Israeli bloggers on the current conflict. Here's Yael K, interviewed by the inimitable Mister Ghost:
MG: For those Americans and others who question Israel's actions in Lebanon, what would you tell them?

Yael K: I would tell those who are questioning our actions that this is not a war that Israel wanted in any shape or form. It is not one we were looking for and it is not one that we started. It is a war that was forced upon us. It is certainly not a war that anyone on our side is taking any joy or comfort in. It is a situation that is taking a terrible toll on civilians on both sides of this conflict and our hearts go out to the innocent Lebanese civilians caught up in this chaos. We are not fighting a war against Lebanon. We have no anger or enmity toward the Lebanese people. Far from it. We are fighting against a terrorist organization that has as a stated goal the destruction of our country ...

Read the rest at the link, and don't forget to pay a visit to Yael's homepage.

Lebanese journaler Lebanos is interviewed here:
MG: Why do you think Hezb'allah acted now?

Lebanos: Alan M. Dershowitz, a Jewish I presume, the Professor of Law at Harvard and the author of "Preemption" wrote today at jpost.com that Israel was attacked from areas that it does not occupy. And that last sentence says a lot about the situation. Hizbullah indeed attacked inside the Israeli borders, but Israel is occupying a 40 km2 of silver land, sending it's warplanes and sea destroyers to Lebanese territories, prisoning 3 Lebanese captives from earlier operations inside Israel lead by the Palestinians, and refusing to hand out the mines maps to the UN. Those points I stated above are the reasons which Hizbullah is exploiting to keep on it's political agenda, if any. ...

The rest is at the links, and there's much more at the IBC homepage, including interviews with long-time readers of Iraq the Model and some beautiful artwork by IBC contributors and friends.

2006-08-10

More on Transatlantic Terror Plot

Debka: 'The White House says the terror plot to blow up six UK planes bound for the United States was a direct threat to the US. Five major American cities were targeted but not named. American officials reported the terrorists had planned to target flights to California, Washington and New York by United Airlines, American Airlines and Continental Airlines. The terror alert for incoming British flights was raised to red after the general level was put up to orange. The terror plot was suggestive of al Qaeda, according to US homeland security, which is sending federal air marshals to the UK. New York Mayor Bloomberg announced extra security measures at international airports and baggage searches on the subways as a precaution. All liquids have been banned on hand luggage in America. The suicide bombers were suspected of plotting to smuggle explosives aboard targeted flights in liquid form in hand luggage. Scotland Yard said 21 suspects, all British Muslims of Pakistani origin, had been arrested in the police operation and more were on the way. They said the terror plot was bigger than 9/11, would have involved deaths in “unimaginable” numbers and had “global dimensions.” ...'

ThreatsWatch explores the Pakistan connection and the link with Lashkar-e-Taiba.
From ABC News, Brian Ross and Richard Esposito report that British Intelligence had a man on the inside of the 30-man cell that sought to blow up US-bound airliners in a plot becoming known as “Bojinka II,” nearly identical in scope and method to Operation Bojinka I in 1995. In British Penetrate Terror Cell, it is also detailed that an arrest in Pakistan two days earlier caused the British operation – Operation Overt – to descend upon the cell before they learned of the individual arrested. A link between the deep mole and the arrested would have apparently tipped the cell to the British operation.

Also, the BBC reports that a Pakistan arrest several weeks ago originally unearthed the plot, which Pakistan claims uncovered the plot and led to the British investigation.

While it was feared that the Pakistani arrest on the Afghan border days ago would jeopardize the British operation, it is worth noting that the five ringleaders of the 30-man terror cell are not among the apprehended and on the loose, presumably still in Britain. Word from Pakistan would logically reach the leaders first. Did they take immediate evasive action and run aground in haste without informing the 24 who were eventually arrested? ...

The analysis disputes the conventional wisdom of the "busted-up, decentralized" terrorist organization, and of the "homegrown terrorist". Worth reading in fulll.

CTB has a roundup..
British authorities have been tracking the plot for months, and the arrests were made "when they learned several of the men had booked flights to the U.S. in the next several days, for apparent trial runs." The plot is walked back to Karachi, Pakistan. See the ABC News story on Matiur Rahman, key Al Qaeda operative who might have planned this operation. Also on ABC News site: Three alleged ringleaders have been identified; two recently traveled to Pakistan and later received money wired to them from Pakistan, reportedly to purchase tickets for the suicide bombers. Sources identify the three, now in custody, as Rashid Rauf, Mohammed al-Ghandra, and Ahmed al Khan. Fox News at 3 pm ET:"British authorities are 'urgently' seeking the arrests of up to 10 more suspects in the terrorist plot uncovered early Thursday morning to blow up U.S.-bound flights with liquid explosives carried onto planes via carry-on luggage." Twenty-four main suspects are now in custody. ...

Afternoon Roundup

Michael Totten arrives in Israel.
Tel Aviv is surreally normal under the circumstances. The soft beaches – and these are some of the best in the Mediterranean – are packed with sunbathers, tourists, and probably refugees. Restaurants, cafes, shops, and bars, are all open. I hear languages from all over the world in the lobby of my hotel. Some of these people are obvious tourists, dutifully attending vacations they booked long before the shadow of war hung over the city.

If it weren’t for the military aircraft ominously flying low over the beach on their way to pound Hezbollah, this could be Miami. Or – dare I say it? – Beirut.

Meanwhile, Kiryat Shmona in the north is a bad place today, darkened, covered in smoke, all but abandoned, and randomly exploding like a miniature Sarajevo. ...

ITM: Logic amid the sands.
What I'm trying to say here is that sometimes making people aware of simple and available statistics can change a mindset from "they came to steal" to "then why are they here?" and this for sure is a dangerous beginning for the ruling regimes in this region and this primitive language of numbers poses a threat to the dominant mentality because it leads to a few logical results that collide forcefully with the illusions being spread by the Arab and Islamic regimes and media institutions who hate logic even more than they hate the west.

The sad truth here is that fighting this misinformation is very difficult although I do see some encouraging signs and growing awareness among many thinkers and intellectuals here. However the deepest problem here remains that the two institutions in charge of spreading information and forming the mindset of the population, that is the educational and media institutions ... [Sounds familiar. - aa]


ThreatsWatch: Hurry up and wait.
No one can question the IDF’s initial caution.

But at some point, if you are going to win, Israel needs to drop the leash and loose the dogs.

Otherwise, call a unilateral ceasefire, bring the boys home and resettle northern Israel to other parts of the country beyond Hizballah’s reach, to which victory will have been ceded.

There is no nuance in the choice before Israel.

What is being executed at present is “Hurry up and wait,” leaving the fight for another day, perhaps not soon and perhaps a day when Hizballah fights with a nuclear-armed Iran behind it.

What then?

2006-08-09

Morning Report: August 9, 2006

Transitions. A staff shuffle in Israel's top ranks brings new plans for its northern campaign; and in the US, Connecticut Democrats reject a hawkish centrist while Georgia Democrats oust a combative leftist.

Lieberman, McKinney lose Democratic primaries. The Democratic primaries saw upsets in two closely watched races. Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman lost to challenger Ned Lamont by 48% to 52%. Despite losing the Democrats' nomination, Lieberman intends to run as an independent in the general election. Meanwhile, Cynthia McKinney lost the Democratic runoff in her Georgia district. Lieberman, who consistently supported the liberation of Iraq, is seen as a bellweather of the party's willingness to adopt strong defense policies; McKinney is widely regarded as an erratic, far-left Democrat. Neo weighs in: 'Joe Lieberman was defeated last night in the Democratic primary in Connecticut, thus proving (as if it needed any proving) that the Democratic Party has veered to the left. The Democrats seem to have abandoned the "big tent" concept--the idea that a party shouldn't position itself so far to either side that it becomes marginal and exclusive. Who is Ned Lamont? A deep-pocketed novice--very deep-pocketed indeed. We'll see what happens in the statewide election. ...' (ABC: Lamont "deep-pocketed novice".) The American Thinker: 'The Connecticut Yankees no longer seem as practical-minded as they were in the day of Mark Twain. Voters in Cynthia McKinney’s district in Georgia knew enough to reject nutty left wing oppositionism, even in an incumbent.' Coverage from Pajamas Media. (various)

Israel approves ground push to the Litani. Debka: 'The decision Wednesday, Aug. 9, by 9 votes, none against and 3 abstentions limits the expanded operation in time to 14 days and includes areas as far north of the border as the Nabatea plateau and Arnoun beyond the Litani River. The objective of the extension is to reach rocket-launch centers. It deepens Israel`s thrust to some 45 km from the border and calls for a further large influx of army reserves. DEBKAfile’s military sources add the extended operation does not promise the total stoppage of all rocket fire against Israel, but could potentially bring about a sizeable reduction from up to 200 a day to some 30 or 50. The ministers who abstained were Dep. PM Shimon Peres, Labor’s Ofer Pines and Shas leader Eli Yishai. DEBKAfile’s military sources add the extended operation does not promise the total stoppage of all rocket fire against Israel, but could potentially bring about a sizeable reduction from up to 200 a day to some 30 or 50. ...' Arutz Sheva: 'The security cabinet gave the IDF the go-ahead on Wednesday to broaden ground operations and take control of southern Lebanon up to the Litani River. The vote was unanimous, with three abstentions. Shas party Chairman and Industry and Trade Minister Eli Yishai spoke to reporters after the meeting, which took several hours. “The assessment is that it is going to last 30 days,” he said somberly. “I think it is wrong to make this assessment. I think it will take a lot longer.” Yishai was one of the ministers who abstained from the vote. Vice Premier Shimon Peres (Labor) and Minister Ofir Pines also abstained.' Jerusalem Post: 'The Security Cabinet on Wednesday approved a wider ground offensive in south Lebanon that was expected to take 30 days as part of a new push to badly damage Hizbullah, Cabinet minister Eli Yishai said. The decision was made with nine ministers in favor; Vice Premier Shimon Peres, Minister of Sport Ophir Paz-Pines, and Industry and Trade Minister Eli Yishai abstained. The Security Cabinet authorized troops to push to the Litani River some 30 kilometers from the Israel-Lebanon border.' This follows the appointment of Major General Moshe Kaplinsky by Chief of Staff Lt. General Dan Halutz to oversee operations in the North. (Debka, A7, JPost)

MK Avigdor Lieberman: Hamas preparing rocket attack on southern Israel. Arutz Sheva: 'The chairman of the Yisrael Beitenu party, Knesset Member Avigdor Lieberman, said today that the Hamas terrorist group currently in power in the Palestinian Authority is preparing to wage a war on southern Israel modeled on the Hizbullah war on northern Israel. He also expressed criticism of the media for ignoring the ongoing PA Kassam rocket attacks on the cities of the Negev.' (A7)

West Point thesis challenges anti-gay policy. Edge New York:
Alexander Raggio says he was 16 when he learned one of his relatives was gay - and watching that person’s struggle gave him a grim introduction to discrimination against gays.

He carried those feelings into West Point, and in his senior thesis argued that the military’s policy banning gays is not only wrong, but harmful to the Army.

The Pentagon may not agree, but the U.S. Military Academy gave him an award for the paper.

"I love the Army and I think that this is hurting the Army,’’ said Raggio, 24, in an interview this week from his new military post at Fort Riley, Kan. "I see it as my obligation to say ’I don’t agree with what you’re doing.’ I’m not being insubordinate - I just think we’re making a mistake here.’’ ...

While the topic was controversial, and the argument contrary to the military’s ’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, Raggio was presented the Brig. Gen. Carroll E. Adams Award for the best senior thesis in the art, philosophy and literature major in the academy’s English department.

Commentary. Given the amount of invective directed against Senator Joseph Lieberman from the left end of the Democratic Party, I'm not surprised that he wasn't able to defeat Lamont in the primary. What is interesting, though, is that he lost as narrowly as he did. "Glass 48 percent full" department: this means that, despite all the attacks from the far Left, forty-eight out of a hundred Connecticut Democrats still wanted Lieberman to represent them in the contest for a US Senate seat. Meanwhile, the eccentric McKinney was defeated by a somewhat wider margin in Georgia. I'm reluctant to draw any sweeping conclusions from these two races alone, but it may be a sign that the Democrats' left-wing contingent isn't as strong as it would like to think.

Meanwhile, Israel prepares to shift its tactics to meet the northern threat (better late than never, some would argue) while another Lieberman warns of a threat from the south. Israel's survival will depend in large measure on its agility.

The same might be said of political battles. In our generation, America's Democrats have successfully crafted a reputation for social liberalism, winning the support of African Americans, Jews, gays, women, and other historically disenfranchised or marginalized groups. But recent years have brought advances by minority groups and growing tolerance among Republicans and other conservatives; so attempts by Democrats to demonize their opponents as fundamentalist bigots are now carrying less weight than they once did. Meanwhile, it is the Republicans and not the Democrats (with a few notable exceptions) who have aggressively pursued the overthrow of two fascist regimes in the Muslim world, and upon whom the Jewish homeland now depends for its American support. The old labels mean nothing now, as the landscape of the ideological battle shifts almost beyond recognition. The winners - both in the United States and beyond its borders - will be those who can best adapt to the new world.