Saturday, July 15, 2006

Will Syria Get Respect?

At the most basic level, the present conflagration in Israel and Lebanon is all about gaining "respect" in the tough and nasty street wars of the Middle East. The region's leaders, many of whom are new and untested, are seeking to demonstrate where true authority and might lies now that the tide of American power that swept over the region following 9-11 is draining away. A tectonic shift is taking place as local actors who have had their ears pinned back for several years are beginning to assert themselves anew.

Sami Moubayed clearly and concisely lays out the motivations of Hamas' and Hizbullah's leaders in sparking the present escalation of war with Israel in his article, "Its war by any other name."

Khalid Meshal, Hamas' Damascus based leader, intended to assert his authority over Hamas and its new Prime Minister Ismail Haniyya, who was voted into office earlier this year. Haniyya "wants to run a country" and "needs to bring money into the Palestinian territories," Sami writes. "Haniyya made several gestures of goodwill toward Israel (much to the displeasure of Meshal), to improve the livelihood of the Palestinians" and ensure the survival of a Hamas government. "Meshal had other plans for the Hamas-led government," Sami assures us. He wants it to fail and Hamas to return to the opposition, where it does not have to make concessions. That is why he ordered the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier on June 25 - to scuttle Haniyya's plans and bring down the Hamas government.

Meshal's tactic worked perfectly because Olmert shares his desire to see Hamas moved back into the opposition. He will not grant concessions to Haniyya and did not like his advances any more than Meshal did. Israel's new Prime Minister has taken refuge with his hawks in order to assert himself and build his tough guy credentials.

Olmert's re-occupation of Gaza, destruction of Hamas' infrastructure, and round up of Hamas government ministers and parliamentarians, who he had dragged before a military court bound hand and foot in chains, was a stunning display of Israeli strength. It enflamed Arab passions and opened the door for Hizbullah's coup.

Nasrallah, in carrying out his cool cross border operation, could act as if he was coming to the aid of the Palestinians, while really intending his fury for Siniora's ineffectual and paralyzed government. Like Olmert, Nasrallah is demonstrating to the world that Hariri and his men are nothing. They do not have an army, they cannot defend themselves. They cannot defend Lebanon. All their cozying up to the United States these last few years got them nothing. Washington will not stand by its new friends in Lebanon when Israeli bombs are falling. Nasrallah has dramatically and irrevocably underlined for the Arab World that the United States is not on the side of Arabs and not on the side of Lebanon. All Washington’s honeyed words about standing by Lebanon's side in its tough battle with Damascus, Hizbullah and terrorism were nothing but cotton candy. With a small summer rain, they melted away.

Nasrallah has been waiting for just such a moment to display the stunning new power Hizbullah has amassed with its longer range rockets and well trained militia. He has surprised Israelis and Arabs alike in his ability to cause pain.

For this reason, Saad Hariri's people have been unable to unequivocally condemn Hizbullah as a terror organization that has started this outburst and deserves the blame for Israel's destruction of Lebanon. Hariri is caught in Hizbullah's logic. Enough of Lebanon still thinks Arab, making it impossible to put the blame squarely on Hizbullah, which is posing as the Arab champion. Israel is refusing to fall for the old Lebanese line - "indulge me while I have an identity crisis for another decade." Olmert is cutting Hariri and Siniora no slack. If the government cannot rein in Hizbullah, Israel will have no patience for Hariri. Those who cannot rule will get no respect when the bullets start flying -- not from Israel, not from the US, and most importantly for Hariri and Siniora, not from the Lebanese.

Ynet News writes that Israel has given Syria's Asad 74 hours to bring a halt to Hizbullah and get its soldiers released. It also reports that Al-Hayat reported that

“a senior Pentagon source warned that should the Arab world and international community fail in the efforts to convince Syria to pressure Hizbullah into releasing the soldiers and halt the current escalation Israel may attack targets in the country.”

Al-Hayat quoted the source as saying that “the US cannot rule out the possibility of an Israeli strike in Syria,” this despite the fact that the Bush administration has asked Israel to “refrain from any military activity that may result in civilian casualties.”

'Hizbullah made the same mistake'

al-Hayat reported that President George W. Bush has repeatedly put much of the blame for the recent escalation on Syria.

“It is no coincidence that the Hizbullah operation comes at a time when the international community is working to impose sanctions on Iran due to its nuclear program and settle the score with Syria by establishing an international court to try those behind the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri,” the Pentagon source said.

According to the source, Hizbullah made the same mistake as Hamas when it did not predict the ramifications of its actions and ignored the regional and international changes since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The source said that Israel has indicated that it “will not end its military activity until a new situation is created that will prevent Syria and Iran from using terror organizations, such as Hamas and Hizbullah, to threaten its security.”
Some credibility is given this report by the fact that the Defense Department has asked congress to allocate close to $300 million for jet fuel to be supplied to the Israeli air force.

Clearly the Defense Department is running with this and is prepared to use Israel as its stalking horse in the Middle East. How far Washington is willing to go in this game or how far Israel is willing to go is anyone's guess. My guess is that cooler heads in Washington will not allow Israel to drag the US into strikes against Syria or Iran. Both Muqtada al-Sadr and Iranian authorities have said that US soldiers will be targeted if Syria is hit. This is an election year. The US is trying to get itself out of the Middle East quagmire, not into it. The US was led down the garden path by Rumsfeld and Cheney once, it will not allow itself to be so easily led by the nose again. This time there is no believing that western bombs will be met by Arabs with flowers or eager democrats. I don't buy the Defense Department's bluster.

There are plenty of tough talkers in the US. The New Republic has come out swinging in its editorials, calling for the US to get tough with Syria. The Weekly Standard has done the same in an article by Jeffrey Azarva of the Enterprise Institute, entitled, "Getting Serious About Syria." Michael Young, the Lebanese commentator, has done the same in a New York Times op-ed, "Middle East II: Israel's invasion, Syria's war." He writes: "Unless something is done to stop Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, from exporting instability to buttress his despotic regime, little will change." He advises the UN to send troops into Lebanon to disarm Hizbullah, Israel to call off its invasion, and the US to talk tough with Asad. This all sounds reasonable, but the UN will never send troops to disarm Hizbullah. Israel has already been down that road with little success. If Israel cannot get Hizbullah to cry uncle, no one else will be able to. We will see how much success Israel has along these lines in the next week or so.

A secondary debate about Syria's role in Lebanon is being hotly contested. Does Hizbullah take its marching orders from Syria? Paul Pillar, a leading CIA analyst who got fired for giving bad news to Bush on Iraq, claims that Syria is not Hizbullah's master in the LA Times.

Sean McCormack, the chief State Department spokesman, said that Iran and Syria "subcontract" terrorist attacks through Hezbollah.

My own take on this question is that Hizbullah's relationship to Syria is much like Israel's with the United States. As Bush said yesterday, the US does not tell Israel how to defend itself. Nevertheless, no one would suggest that Israel does not run major foreign policy moves by its friends in Washington before launching them. It would not like to get too far out ahead of Washington and lose cover. The same goes for the relationship between Hizbullah and Syria. The two have a close relationship and in something as big as the present escalation, Hizbullah would not want to lose Syrian or Iranian support. Doing so would leave it very exposed. The three powers need to coordinate very closely in the coming weeks. If they can be divided, they will be easy prey.

Israel is attempting to cut Lebanon off from Syria so that Hizbullah will be isolated and unable to resupply itself. This Israel may be able to do. The majority of its targets so far have been aimed at cutting off Lebanon's communications with the outside world.

The Israeli chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, said the air strikes would continue until the Israeli soldiers were returned and the Lebanese government took responsibility for Hezbollah’s actions. Israel, he said, also wanted to deliver “a clear message to both greater Beirut and Lebanon that they’ve swallowed a cancer and have to vomit it up, because if they don’t their country will pay a very high price.” Asked about possible Syrian intervention, General Halutz said, “There’s no reason for the Syrians to jump into a pool they might drown in.”

Such talk sounds tough and good, but how exactly does Israel expect the Lebanese government to "take responsibility for Hizbullah’s actions? How is it supposed to vomit up Hizbullah? Young has suggested that the UN should fly to the rescue, but that cannot happen until Hizbullah cries uncle and asks it to send in peace keeping troops. Hizbullah is not like the Palestinians who could be shipped off to Tunis. It is Lebanese.

Anyway, Hizbullah is intent on trumpeting its own tough talk. After his house was bombed by Israeli jets, Nasrallah exclaimed, “You Zionists, you wanted an open war and you will have it,” and he promised “to reach Haifa and even farther.” He continued: “You want your government to change the rules of the game? This game will change. Now you know whom you’re fighting with. You are fighting the sons of Muhammad and Ali.”

Helen Cooper, writing an analysis piece, "U.S., Needing Options, Finds Its Hands Tied," in the New York Times, explains how the US has hamstrung itself by refusing to talk to high ranking Syrians or Iranians. She writes,
The United States does not talk to Tehran, and its communications with Syria are few; Mr. Bush recalled his ambassador to Syria, Margaret Scobey, after the assassination in Lebanon of Rafik Hariri, a former Lebanese prime minister, in February 2005.

That has left the administration to subcontract its diplomacy to others — the United Nations, Europe, Egypt, Jordan. None are superpowers, and their influence has been limited.
Robert Fisk, an old Middle East hand, believes that the US will be forced to talk to Damascus when the dust begins to settle. He writes:
Fouad Siniora, Lebanon's affable Prime Minister, may have thought he was running the country but it is President Bashar Assad in Damascus who can still bring life or death to a land that lost 150,000 lives in 15 years of civil conflict.

And there is one certain bet that Syria will rely on; that despite all Israel's threats of inflicting "pain" on Lebanon, this war will run out of control until - as has so often happened in the past - Israel itself calls for a ceasefire and releases prisoners. Then the international big-hitters will arrive and make their way to the real Lebanese capital - Damascus, not Beirut - and appeal for help.
Fisk may well be right. If Washington and Israel do have to settle this by going to Damascus, then Bashar will have sent his message loud and clear: I am here. I demand respect. Cut out all the silliness about isolation and the blind eye doctor. Syria is an important player. Anyone who wants to do business in the region will have to address me politely and be ready to trade in kind. Syria is not a charitable organization.


At 7/15/2006 11:18:00 PM, Blogger ActiveListener said...

Dr Josh wrote:“As Bush said yesterday, the US does not tell Israel how to defend itself. Nevertheless, no one would suggest that Israel does not run major foreign policy moves by its friends in Washington before launching them.”

Yes, Josh - and the rest!

From an editorial in Lebanon’s Daily Star July 15:

But now, our fledgling independence is under fire. Only a little over a year since we started making our own decisions and trying to forge a sense of national unity, we have been hit with a crisis of unexpected proportions. Our fledgling government, which like any 1-year-old is still struggling to stay on its feet, is under fire. Our civilians, who had no part in the decision to abduct Israeli soldiers, are being killed. Our infrastructure, which has only recently been built, is being destroyed.

Yet even now, as Israel is laying waste to our country with guns and missiles paid for with US tax dollars, and as American-made bombs are raining down on our cities, we are still clinging to the same values and ideals that the Bush administration has promoted: We want life, liberty and happiness; we want democracy, sovereignty, freedom and independence.

No one is calling for the return of Syrian occupation, even though one could argue that Syria's presence served as a deterrent to this kind of Israeli onslaught. No one is asking whether the US government only asked the Syrians to step out only so that the Israelis could step in to replace them. We are holding out hope that the Americans will be faithful to the values that they have championed and protect us from further harm.

The Americans now need to choose sides, not between warring parties, but between right and wrong. They must now demonstrate their commitment to freedom, human rights and international law and speak out loudly and firmly against the killing of civilians, the destruction of infrastructure and the brutal collective punishment that all of us are now enduring.

At 7/15/2006 11:28:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

For the last thirty years the Syrian /Israeli border has been peacfull only to give more time to take the Golan hights ,The Arabs of Saudi ,Egypt and Jordon even Syria tried peacfull means to implement the UN resolution of return of refugees (or compensation)and return to 1967 border with full peace treaty with Israel with normalization of relation only to find that Israel has diffrent idea for peace ,an imposed one which will give Israel the land and prevent the palestenieans from fair treatment and for Israel to impose it,s well on the Arabs anytime it wants ,I think the way the American Gov and Israel treatment of Arab intention of peace as weakness alloyed the Rise of Islamic fundmentalism as is only way for Arabs to have resolve and a chance for the return of Arab rights .Hizballa and Nassralla will rise and have extreeme popularity if he stops the Israeli advance and inflict heavy loses on them no matter what the loses for the Lebanese ,Islamism will rise and Arab nationalism will be set aside even from christian Arab in return for Arab self respect and that is somthing the US ,Israel and the EU will regret forever.

At 7/15/2006 11:30:00 PM, Blogger Enlightened One said...

I wonder if this is the start of the end game, if Bashar and his regime has thrown in his trump card?

The lebanese do not need this war! It can only benefit the Iranians and Syrians. If Iran has more surprises up its sleeve, then watch for more sophisticated attacks, by hezbollah

At 7/15/2006 11:41:00 PM, Blogger كسار الزبادي said...

Thanks for the rich analysis.
One note worth mentioning here though, concerning Al-Hayat report credibility. This report is written by Mr. Salama Niimaat who proved in previous cases that he is serving another interests rather than real journalistic standards. I recall once he reported an op-ed column in an American newspaper (I think it was the Washington times) as an opinion of the newspaper. He just ignored the fact that this syria-related commentary was written by Mr. Farid Al-Ghadry himself. This cannot be an honest mistake.
In this recent Alhayat report he talks about anonymous sources who refuse to comment on "some talk in washington about Israel threat"

"وامتنع المصدر عن نفي او تأكيد معلومات ترددت في واشنطن امس بأن اسرائيل منحت دمشق 72 ساعة لاستجابة المطالب الدولية في ما يخص وقف نشاط «حزب الله» عبر الحدود مع اسرائيل واطلاق الجنديين الاسرائيليين او مواجهة عواقب وخيمة."

I believe this doesnt have any real news value.


Kassar Alzabadi

At 7/15/2006 11:49:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

I am surprised that Syria is not drawn to the conflict yet, may be Alex is right,(there is a deal),but if Syria get involved then I will discount this theory.
what has been the palastinian reaction, in southern Lebanon?
if Syria is demanding respect, then Ihsani is right, Syria has few demands.
I am sure that the wicked and evil Isreal fate will be the same as Hitler, and other examples, the history is full of similar evil people.

At 7/16/2006 12:09:00 AM, Blogger Leila said...

Josh wrote: "The US was led down the garden path by Rumsfeld and Cheney once, it will not allow itself to be so easily led by the nose again."

I like the sentiment, but this assertion needs evidence to back it up. How do you know the US won't be led by the nose again? There are still huge numbers of people who believe what the president says about Iraq, no matter how divorced from reality. And the media is mostly peddling the administration's lies. So what makes you think the US won't get fooled again?

I wish it were true, I just don't see where the indications are for this prediction.

Otherwise, thank you for this long and informative essay. It's very painful for me and my family right now. I am hoping that it will end soon but I fear that the rebirth of Lebanon has been destroyed.

At 7/16/2006 01:08:00 AM, Blogger Philip I said...

From Philip I []

"activelistner" said:

"The Americans now need to choose sides, not between warring parties, but between right and wrong."

Right & wrong, black & white, good & evil are, sadly, for the masses, not politicians or army commanders. You can be sure of one thing: foreign powers, however freindly, will do what is in their best interests. They may bend in the short term, but only to benefit more in the long term. The best intentioned and upright of politicians will lose his virginity upon joining the executive and regain it only after leaving political life.

Let's get this right. America (rather uncleverly) has given Iran strategic depth in Iraq by "liberating" the Shia majority. The Assads had already done so in Syria and Lebanon. So, there you have it. Now Israel and half of Europe are theoretically within range of Iraninan missiles and fanatical brand of Islam.

This is what the fight is all about. And yes, there is a deal between the Assads and the US to save their skin in exchange for Hizbullah's.

You'd better move your family to Damascus while all this is being played out.

At 7/16/2006 01:50:00 AM, Blogger Disrespectfull said...

Come on Josh are you out of your mind?! I wonder who signed your Doctoral credentials! Respect for whom? A failed eye doctor seeking to fight a war through lenses?! You know what they say in the Arab world about fighting wars through lenses? Now you can watch free of charge this saying taking form in a real life comic performance.

At 7/16/2006 03:51:00 AM, Blogger Joe M said...

I don't think it is fair to quote Sami Moubayed's article about Khaled Masha'al controling Hamas and ordering the operation against Israel in order to discredit the inside Hamas. I don't think there is any evidence of that. It is total speculation. Some people want to act like they know what is going on so they develop any random theory to prove themselves important. The first I heard of this theory was from Israel, and Israel wants to kill Masha'al so it is completely in their interests to blame him for everything and express that Hamas is divided and fighting itself. But i don't think there is any credible information out there to make someone seriously believe it though. Even if people repeat it over and over again enough times so that it seems like common sense...

Also, I don't think it is fair to blame Hizbullah for Israel's actions. They are Israeli bombs blowing up Lebanon, not Hizbullah's. Why don't you blame Israel for holding so many prisoners or being so unjust to the Palestinians or occupying Syria and Lebanon, or, most obviously, for dropping the bombs themselves on Lebanon? I realize that Hizbullah made a decision and the results were more or less predictable, but that does not make the destruction Israel causes the fault of Hizbullah. They might instigate a particular flare up, but they violence is Israeli.

Lastly, I am usually a fan of Fisk, but I think he is too close to Hariri for his comments on Syria to be realistic. I do agree with the comments of Landis on the relationship between Hizbullah and Syria. I think Fisk is going too far though in saying that Syria is in control of Lebanon. Maybe Syrian politics dominate Lebanon, just as American politics dominates the rest of the world, but i don't think Syria is making decisions internal to Lebanon.

At 7/16/2006 04:27:00 AM, Blogger t_desco said...

I have to disagree in one point with your otherwise excellent analysis: the assumption that Hizbullah foresaw the scale of the Israeli retaliation. Judging from Nasrallah's first press conference, I don't think that he expected this massive escalation. If I remember well, he talked of "ceasefire" and even warned of any "verbal provocation" (!) of Israel ("No one should act in a way or speech that would encourage the Israeli enemy, or form a blanket for its aggressions").

Or course, they should have anticipated it. Israel and the US are considering a campaign against nuclear installations in Iran and they were concerned about Hizbullah's reaction. The real aim of the Israeli attack, in my opinion, is to weaken Hizbullah militarily so that the US (and perhaps the Israel airforce) have a free hand in Iran (in case they opt for a massive bombing campaign; I'm not saying that this will necessarily happen, but it certainly is one of the possibilities).

At 7/16/2006 04:57:00 AM, Blogger Joe M said...

Statement from the General Secretary of Hizballah

His Excellency Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah

To the Nation, the Lebanese people, the resistance fighters, the Zionists, and the Arab leaders.

Translated by Muhammad Abu Nasr

-- -- ...In this first address that I
give in these days following Operation True Promise, I would like to say a few words – a word to the Lebanese people, a word to the resistance fighters, a word to the Zionists, and a word to the Arab rulers. I will not offer words to the international community because I have never for one day believed that there is any such thing as an international community, just as many in our nation feel.

First, I say to the Lebanese people: dear people – who embraced the
resistance, by whom the resistance was victorious, and for whom the resistance won its victory on 25 May 2000 – this people who were the makers of the first victory in the history of the Arab struggle with the Israeli enemy, despite the basic inequality in forces, and in spite of the fact that the majority of our Arab brothers and the majority of our Muslim brothers abandoned us and despite the silence of the whole world, this Lebanese people made the miracle of the victory that stunned the world and humiliated the Zionists. Those Zionists look upon this people in a special, unique way because they accomplished in the history of the struggle with them a special and unique accomplishment. The battle today is no longer a battle over prisoners or the exchange of prisoners. It might be said that the Zionist enemy is responding any time there is any operation where men are captured anywhere in any part of the world, by any army or any state that has borders and regulations. What is taking place today is not a response to a capture of their soldiers; it is a squaring of accounts with the people, resistance, state, army, political forces, regions, villages, and families that inflicted that historic defeat on that aggressive usurper entity that has never accepted its defeat.

Today, therefore, this is a total war that Zionism is waging to clear its whole account with Lebanon, the Lebanese people, the Lebanese state, the Lebanese army, and the Lebanese resistance, in revenge and reprisal for the victory they won on 25 May 2000.

Dear steadfast, mujahid, and noble people, I know that the overwhelming
majority of this people, in their minds, hearts, wills, culture, thoughts, love, passion, and sacrifice are a people of nobility, dignity, honor, distinction, and pride, not a people of servility, subservience, submissiveness, and surrender. I say to you that in this battle we are faced with two choices – not “we” as in Hizballah, or as in the resistance, the Hizballah resistance – but Lebanon as a state, a people, an army, a resistance, and a political power – we are faced with two choices: either to submit today to the conditions that the Zionist enemy wants to dictate to us all, using the pressure, support, and backing it has from America, from around the world, and, I’m sorry to say, from Arabs. Either we submit completely to its conditions, which means taking Lebanon into an Israeli age under Israeli domination – in total frankness this is the extent of the matter – or we stand steadfast. That is the other choice: that we persevere, that we persevere and confront....

During the Grapes of Wrath in 1996, or the clearing of accounts in 1993, in the beginning they had the upper hand and our situation was much worse. But today, the situation is different. Believe me, and I mean this, the situation now is different. All that we need is to persevere, stand steadfast, and confront them united, and I know and I will bet that the majority of our people are a people of steadfastness, a mujahid people who can sacrifice, who have no need for pep talks. What I’m saying now is only by way of completing the idea, and affirming the choice, and clarifying what this means.

Now, as for my words for the resistance fighters, for my dear and beloved brothers: upon them rest the hopes of every Lebanese, every Palestinian, every Arab, every Muslim, every free and decent person in this world, every oppressed, tortured victim of injustice, every lover of steadfastness, courage, dignity, values, and nobility – the characteristics they embody by their
presence on the field of battle and in their fight with this enemy... To the
Zionists, to the people of the Zionist entity at this hour I say to them: you
will soon discover how foolish and stupid are your new rulers, your new
leaders. They do not know how to assess reality. They have no experience in this area. You Zionists say in opinion polls that you believe me more than you believe your officials. So now I call on you to listen well and believe me. Today we have persevered despite the attack that took place last night in the southern suburbs. However the attacks multiply in every village, neighborhood, street, and home in Lebanon, there is no difference between the south Beirut suburbs, the City of Beirut, or any home in south Lebanon, in the Beqaa, or the north, or Mount Lebanon, or any corner of Lebanon.

The equation has now changed. I will not say today that if you strike Beirut, we will strike Haifa. I will not tell you that if you hit the south Beirut suburbs, we will hit Haifa. You wanted to get rid of that equation, so now we and you have got rid of it in actuality. You wanted open warfare, and we are going into open warfare. We are ready for it, a war on every level. To Haifa, and, believe me, to beyond Haifa, and to beyond beyond Haifa. Not only we will be paying a price. Not only our houses will be destroyed. Not only our children will be killed. Not only our people will be displaced. Those days are past. That was how it was before 1982, and before the year 2000. Those times have come to an end. I promise you those times have passed. Therefore you must also bear the responsibility for what your government has done, for what that government has undertaken. From now on, you wanted open warfare, so it will be open warfare. You wanted it. Your government wanted to change the rules of the game, so let the rules then be changed. You don’t know today whom you’re fighting. You are fighting the children of Muhammad, of Ali, of al-Hasan, of al-Husayn, of the Prophet’s family, the Prophet’s Companions. You are fighting a people who have faith such as no one else on the face of the earth possesses. And you have chosen open warfare with a people who take pride in their history, their civilization, and their culture, and who also possess material power, ability, expertise, knowledge, calm, imagination, determination, steadfastness, and courage. In the coming days it will be between us and you, God willing.

As to the Arab rulers, I don’t want to ask you about your history. I just
want to say a few words. We are adventurers. We in Hizballah are adventurers, yes. But we have been adventurers since 1982. And we have brought to our country only victory, freedom, liberation, dignity, honor, and pride. This is our history. This is our experience. This is our adventure. In the year 1982 you said and the world said that we were crazy. But we proved that we were the rational ones, so who then was crazy? This is something else and I don’t want to get into an argument with anyone. So I tell them simply: go bet on your reason and we will bet on our adventure, with God as our Supporter and Benefactor. We have never for one day counted on you. We have trusted in God, our people, our hearts, our hands, and our children. Today we do the same, and God willing, victory will follow. The surprises that I promised you will begin starting now. Now, out at sea off the coast of Beirut an Israeli military vessel that attacked our infrastructure, that struck the homes of our people, our civilians; you can see it burning. It will sink and with it dozens of Zionist Israeli troops. This is the beginning. There will be a lot more said before the end. Peace be upon you and the mercy of God!

General Secretary of Hizballah, His Excellency Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah, to the Nation, the Lebanese people, the resistance fighters, the Zionists, and the Arab leaders. Translated by Muhammad Abu Nasr

At 7/16/2006 05:36:00 AM, Blogger Lira = 1500 said...

All Respect to the valiant resisting Syria!

Today's combat by the Syrian Army has made the entire Arab nation proud!

At 7/16/2006 06:03:00 AM, Blogger Karfun said...

Whom do you mean "the whole arab nation"? Pride about what?

But why not welcome Hizballah in syria, isreal will organize for us that all the exchallengies Nasrallah and his whole team will make us proud soon. Syria is a safe haven.



At 7/16/2006 06:41:00 AM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

Hey guys,

The BBC World just called me to join (by phone) their show Talking Point which starts in about 2.5 hours. or 16:00 central european time it will discuss the G8 summit and the lebanese crisis so tune in if you can ;)

At 7/16/2006 09:36:00 AM, Blogger Ford Prefect said...

I love the analyses written so far and I appreciate the deep investigations of the bloggers here. One important item is missing, though. Not only Syria has no control over Hizballah, it has no control over its own amry (AKA top military officers working as international merchants) either. It seems like the bloggers are given Bashar Asad much power and credibility that he really does not have. Do not mix Bashar with his father.

At 7/16/2006 11:27:00 AM, Blogger t_desco said...

Very thoughtful (and eloquent) remarks, Tarek. I think the audio can be found here.

The Israelis are certainly aware that their offensive is also hitting the anti-Syrian camp in Lebanon. I wonder what their strategy is in that regard. Are they certain that they can defeat Hizbullah completely so that in the end even a weakened March 14 alliance will prevail? And how would they achieve this without a "scorched earth" strategy in Southern Lebanon?

At 7/16/2006 11:47:00 AM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

Thanks t_desco,

The video audio version has not been loaded yet. it usually takes few hours and you will need real player to watch it. i think i was on 25 minutes into the show.

As for your question i simply dont know. to some it might seem like Israel is doing Syria a favor but its too early to tell. one thing is for certain HA will not be destroyed by Israel anytime soon and the March 14 would have withered away long before that can ever happen. And i doubt their friends in the gulf would allow the US to allow Israel to do it.

so to me Israel is only interested in chaos for the time being to distract the world from whats going within their territories and utilize HA “mistake” to repaint Lebanon into more Israel friendly neighborhood.

At 7/16/2006 12:12:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Wolf Blitzer just asked Ambassador Moustapha to help him interview president Assad in Damascus.

As for Israel's "intentions" .. I think the Israelis are as uncertain as we all are. No one, not Israel, not HA, and not Syria, is comfortable with the uncertainty.

The easiest way out for the Americns is a "deal" with Syria at some point. The deal did not take place yet (as one of you interpreted my earlier comments).

A deal with HA would be a blow to Israel and a reward to fundamentalist Islam, a deal with Iran would be similar. Syria is still "secular" and they are reasonable enough.

Another, lesser, deal could be arranged with the "Lebanese government". But a HA/Israel is out of the question.

It all depends if the Israelis are in the mood to continue the destruction and risk getting hit by more HA missiles... they know their options are limited. They can punish ... but then what?

What is the way out?

At 7/16/2006 03:30:00 PM, Blogger Ameen Always said...

""" ON SYRIA AND IRAN by Michael Ledeen on NRO Blog

… There is a real opportunity now. The Lebanese—even, a couple of hours ago, thousands of Lebanese in Paris—are demonstrating against Hezbollah and Syria and Iran. The Saudis and the Egyptians have publicly criticized Hezbollah, and for the first time in human memory have not blindly condemned Israel.They are taking a risk here, hoping that we will understand the gravity of the moment and the dimensions of the opportunity. The great opportunity, and indeed the just consequence of the attack against Israel, is to bring down Assad along with destroying Hezbollah. That must be the mission. There are many Syrians who are ready to act, but the first step toward the removal of Assad is for the president and the secretary of state to call for regime change in Syria.The hard work on the ground belongs to the Israelis, and you are right to say we have done well to support them rhetorically. But we have to after Assad, and we have not done that. Perhaps this is due to my own ignorance; it may be going on behind the scenes (not movie scenes, the real ones). I hope so. But I don't see it. I don't see or hear our leaders condemning the Syrians and the Iranians, aside from the original White House statement (in direct conflict with the statement from the State Dept, let's not forget) holding Syria and Iran responsible. Okay, so they're responsible. And then?There has to be a "then." And it has to be aimed at the total destruction of Hizbollah and the downfall of the regime in Damascus.
Otherwise, it will all rewind. There will be no semblance of a strong, free, and independent Lebanon, and the next time around things will be much worse. You will see more and more Iranian missiles, in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as in Israel. It's a war, not a debate.On the many wonderful things that would likely follow the fall of Assad, I'll try to get something for Monday's NRO.

At 7/16/2006 03:31:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Predicting how these events will unfold is pure speculation. Each one of us seems to think that they have it all figured out.

Most Syrians seem to want to believe that their leader is in the driving seat. The U.S. is thought to have no choice but to pay Syria more respect and that sooner or later it will have to sit down and negotiate the big regional issue with Damascus.

This Syrian sees it differently.

The decision to change the current military status of Hezbollah has already been taken. Israel will not back down till it achieves its objective.

As I speculated in an earlier post, I think that Hezbollah has miscalculated.

Israel has had a long list of HA targets carefully selected long ago. They are now in the execution stage. They will not stop till the list is exhausted.

Meanwhile, Israel has made it clear that Syria is not a target. Ironically, this is not what Syria wants to hear. Syria’s leadership would not mind being targeted so that this incident becomes a regional war that involves the entire Arab and Islamic world.

Israel has made it clear that they are not going to take the bait.

This leaves this incident strictly a matter of Hezbollah versus Israel. Prior to the start of this conflict, the betting was that Arab states will have no choice but to condemn Israel before they intervene with America to stop the Israeli attacks.

This plan did not go according to plan. Let us recap how the meeting of the Arab foreign ministers went yesterday:

“Satanic Dreams”

This was the Saudi Foreign minister’s reply to his Syrian counterpart following the latter’s presentation.

Any hopes of a forced automatic condemnation of Israel that Bashar must have expected and hoped for was dealt a severe blow by the custodian of the two holy Mosques of the Islamic world.

Saudi Arabia is not prepared to give Bashar and the new bearded men a Carte Blanch to lead the big cause.

The Shia crescent termed by the king of Jordan is trying to jump the line and become the sole legitimate bearer of the big “kaddiya”.

Saudi Arabia and company is not in playing along.
In all likelihood, HA’s military power will be severely damaged when Israel calls this episode over and done with. When that happens, Bashar would have lost a major bargaining chip. All his Arab brothers would have shunned him. His Hezbollah trump card is no longer.

While he may indeed be looking for respect, Bashar may end up making his country the true pariah of the Arab world once this ordeal comes to final conclusion.

At 7/16/2006 03:41:00 PM, Blogger HARBOOK said...

Why is hizb taking the brunt of this conflict in the face. In terms of the growing israeli aggression, I have a feeling that they'll accept only a limited number of losses...then they'll rid themselves of the soldiers. This means killing them, getting olmert a bit mad, but ending with some sort of ceasefire. Then hizb melts back into society.

At 7/16/2006 04:01:00 PM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

I fail to see how HA can recover from this. even if they serve a strong blow to the Israelis and some type of exchange occurs. Other Lebanese leaders will definitely try to disarm HA ASAP after the situation stabilizes and public opinion would support it for sure. And then, unless HA would want a new civil war (which I doubt) they will have to accept a compromise. This is the best possible scenario for HA IMHO

At 7/16/2006 04:10:00 PM, Blogger ActiveListener said...

I have just been listening to an articulate Innocent Criminal making some good points

Go to
Under the heading “Is the G8 Fit For Purpose ” run the Have Your Say video and hear Tarek of Amsterdam about 22.30 minutes into the video.

At 7/16/2006 04:29:00 PM, Blogger Ivanka said...

Ameen always,

If I am not mistaken, Michael Ledeen is a very Hawkish neoconservative. Even inside the Bush admin., I think they do not listen to people like him any more.

I went to that blog and it is full of the characteristic mistakes of neocons. And oh, the usual making fun of France. That is so cheap.

But still, thanks for reporting this.

At 7/16/2006 05:02:00 PM, Blogger Ford Prefect said...

Michael Ladeen is indeed the recycled and pathetic neocon biggot who crashed and fizzled like his other cronies in Iraq. He is also the dear personal friend of Farid Ghadry, the next liberator and transformer of Syria into another Iraq.

At 7/16/2006 05:09:00 PM, Blogger Nafdik said...


While I tend to agree with your analysis that Israel has decided not to share borders with Hizbullah, I do not think the picture is so clear.

There are 3 unkowns:

1) Is Israel ready to reoccupy South Lebanon? clearly it has been their Afganisatn (in analogy with Soviet losees there) and they might not have the appetite to get back there.

2) Even if Syria decides to stop support for Hizbullah, Iran who is not suffering a lot from all of this might insist that they do. Unless Assad has the political imagination to cut a new deal with the US and other Arab states, he is stuck with his only ally Israel.

3) A huge wild card, if the shia in Iraq perceive that Hizbullah in unjustly punished, they have the power to turn Iraq into living hell for the US. <---- This is a huge leverage point against Israel, and it could be the calculus of Nasarallah as he has proven to be a very samrt and cautious leader in the past.

At 7/16/2006 05:11:00 PM, Blogger Nafdik said...

Correction, I said:

"Assad is stuck with his only ally Israel."

I ameant Iran.

Freudian slip??

At 7/16/2006 05:26:00 PM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

Thanks Active Listener

At 7/16/2006 05:40:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...


1-Israel has no appetite to occupy south Lebanon. In my opinion, once HA is militarily crippled, the Lebanese army will be asked to protect its own borders. The Lebanese army is woefully unprepared at present. But, the world will be helping it to do so when HA’s strength is no longer.

2- I do not think that Syria will stop its support for HA. Bashar cannot pull out of this alliance. He is now a permanent member of the bearded men club. Once HA is taken care of, Bashar has technically no cards left. It is easy to play a spoiler from afar. It is a whole different matter to fight as a sovereign nation. Rather than the U.S. begging him for help, I fear that we will soon find himself one down in his club. Khaled Mashaal will be the next target leaving only with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Remember, Saudi, Egypt, Jordan and many others have already made their clean break.

3- I have no idea if the shias of Iraq will turn on the Americans in a solidarity move with HA. I personally doubt that they will throw all that has been gained for a losing battle. But, no one can be certain of course.

The beating heart of Arabism is slowly being pushed out of the Arab world. Thanks to Bashar’s strategic gamble, we are now part of the beating heart of the bearded world.

Who would have imagined the Saudi Arabian foreign minister referring to our country’s presentation as “Satanic Dreams”? Hafez Assad must be turning in his grave.


For some reason, I have been unable to your piece.

At 7/16/2006 05:57:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Activelistener, who in the past attacked me, and still portrayed himself as Opposing the Assad Regime exchanges his congratulaty saluatations with The criminal "Innocent criminal".

Is there any more needs to prove that most if not all of the posters that Joshua Landis permits to post on his Syria "exspertise" comment belong to one side, and one side only , that is the side of the Assad regime?


At 7/16/2006 06:16:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

Uri Avnery has an unexpected answer to my question:

Uri Avnery: The Real Aim

THE REAL aim is to change the regime in Lebanon and to install a puppet government.

That was the aim of Ariel Sharon's invasion of Lebanon in 1982. It failed. But Sharon and his pupils in the military and political leadership have never really given up on it.

As in 1982, the present operation, too, was planned and is being carried out in full coordination with the US.

As then, there is no doubt that it is coordinated with a part of the Lebanese elite.


The calculation now is that if the Israeli Air Force rains heavy enough blows on the Lebanese population - paralysing the sea- and airports, destroying the infrastructure, bombarding residential neighborhoods, cutting the Beirut-Damascus highroad etc. - the public will get furious with Hizbullah and pressure the Lebanese government into fulfilling Israel's demands. Since the present government cannot even dream of doing so, a dictatorship will be set up with Israel's support.

At 7/16/2006 07:06:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

hizbullah has arsenal that can last three to four weeks, they will continue to bombard Isreal, Saddam hoped the the arab masses will come to his help and get mad enough to overthrow their leaders, he was disappointed and lost, Nassrallah may have similar hopes, he will be disappointed,arab will not throw their leaders, even that they are obviously traitors.
after three weeks HA will pull back and Nassrallah may go to Iran,this way Bashar may be delivering HA, he will look like he is on their side, but acctually delivering them to America,thru Isreal,this is the deal, he will be thus forgiven for Harriri killing.he encouraged HA to provoke Isreal, then stand on the side not helping HA.,again, if syria do get involved this theory is stupid.

At 7/16/2006 07:50:00 PM, Blogger Joe M said...

In all due respect, you are far too confident of your views. You should show some more humility. Your hatred for "the bearded men" is really too much.

I am a liberal Palestinian Christian, but I have deep respect for Hizbullah and Hamas. Nasrallah is correct when he talks about being the only one to defeat Israel, and being the only ones to stand up for justice. You may not like his Islam, but I am tired of you reducing people to simply their religion. It is not healthy for our (Arab) society, nor is it accurate. I personally hope Hizbullah succeed and manage to force Israel into a deal. Even if they fail, Nasrallah is a true hero for actually standing up for justice and being willing to do more then kiss and hug Olmert.

By the way, the New York Times reported that Muktada Sadr is starting to call for support to Hizbullah and may be willing to fight the USA in Iraq again.

Landis reported some time ago that Muktada was very very impressed with Lebanon and Syria when he was traveling before the Samarra bombing. I think you are being pretty naive to think that Hizbullah has not earned the respect of enough people throughout the Middle East to make anything they do regional (for example, a liberal Sunni Egyptian friend called me the other day from Cairo, literally bubbling, saying "I want to join Hizbullah now, even if i have to wear hijab..."). This is especially true since they are fighting Israel and everything Israel does is automatically regional. Also, as I said above, Islam aside, Hizbullah represents the exact opposite of governments like Saudi, Egypt and Jordan. So their actions seem likely to me to further polarize the MENA into pro and anti American and (hopefully) spark a few revolutions to get rid of the crusty old order.

Also, I don't think Israel can "cripple" Hizbullah militarily. You seem to believe in the Israelis far too much. Hizbullah is more then just a few rockets, they are an ideology. Just like Hamas, you can't beat them by killing them. As Nasrallah said in the speech i posted above, "All that we need is to persevere, stand steadfast, and confront them united..." He is absolutely right and they seem to be the ones most able to do that. Israel uses suck massive and criminal force because they know they are not able to outlast groups like Hizbullah and Hamas. The only advantage Israel has is in pure firepower. But I feel like Hizbullah has set a trap for Israel. If Israel uses too much force or tries to invade Lebanon from the ground, Hizbullah will have then right where they want them. I think we are on the cusp of that right now. And Israel has to decide whether it is willing to lose this round and strike a deal (like Fisk said), or whether they are want to do what Michael Ladeen says (in the above post) and expand the war. it seems 50/50 to me right now. But also, to a large degree, Israel is at the mercy of Hizbullah's actions. Israel will think itself forced to be more and more savage to the Lebanese (and maybe Syrians) as Hizbullah is more and more effective.

At 7/16/2006 07:57:00 PM, Blogger ActiveListener said...

In case anybody thinks JAM above is being rational and realistic, I would like to officially register that I am intractably disgusted and infuriated by the Assad regime and heartbroken that Syrians are being held hostage to this criminal garbage gang. As I have often said on this site. And interestingly, I have also supported JAM at times and wished he would just serve us the good quality fruit minus all the dead leaves and worms of conspiracy theories and personal dislikes.

I agree Dr Josh is sometimes irritatingly soft on Syria's "leaders", but I also have many times appreciated Josh's courage and insights.

In the case of Innocent Criminal’s comments on the BBC, I found his comments on Israel’s fear of peace and a couple of other things he said worth hearing.

I have more than once disagreed with what IC has written here, but I admire the way he spoke so well on the BBC and made an interesting contribution to the debate.

I doubt I would do so well with an audience of millions on such an emotional topic. But maybe you could, JAM. Why don’t you put yourself out there?

At 7/16/2006 08:08:00 PM, Blogger Nafdik said...


What do you think will be the carrots and the sticks that Isarel can use to convince HA to disarm?

Their shells might motivate the other parties in Lebanon to demand it more vigourously, but unless the collective punishement will convince HA supporters to back off I dont see how it will change the equation.

The experience in Gaza shows that this strategy did not work with Hamas.

As for Joe M comments, while I share your admiration for the achievements of Hizbullah and Hamas, on the long term I see their success as a problem for our region. While ultra-nationalism is not in any way better than ultra-religiosity in the abstract, it does have a practical advantage that at least within the bounderies of one countries all citizens can be treated equally (in the case of Syria like shit :) ).

At 7/16/2006 08:39:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Joe M

I am sorry if I irritated you as much as I seem to have done.

You claim that my “hatred for the bearded men is really too much”.

You then say:

“You may not like Islam, but I am tired of you reducing people to simply their religion”.


I cannot help it if you cannot see the distinction between “Islam” and “radical Fundamentalist Islam”. Please show me a single example when I expressed my dislike for Islam. When I go on and on about bearded men, I indeed do so on purpose.

In my opinion, the Middle East is in the middle of a massive fight between the radical fundamentalist and the rest of us. I am extremely wary of this group.

You seem to think that you hate Israel more than I do and therefore you feel that you can use the favorite tactic of “takhween”. Our collectivize criticism of Israel, however, must not blind us to the dangers of radicalism in our midst. You seem to see no problem with it. So long as a person can demonstrate his hate Israel credentials, you seem ready to embrace him. The difference between you and I is that I don’t. If that seems to upset you as much it clearly does, may I suggest skipping the annoying EHSANI2 commentary in the future.


I honestly do not see a scenario where carrots and sticks can work between these two parties. I think that Hezbollah supporters may well spread and increase in numbers. The issue here is the military capabilities of this party. Israel seems intent on changing its current status. I agree with you that this will make the current supporters of both Hamas and HA angrier and more committed to continue the fight. It is the means to carry this fight that Israel seems intent on eliminating.

At 7/16/2006 10:19:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

If Hizballa loses the Arab will propably surrender and axcept peace on Israel,s term , and we will live in shame for along time a counrty of six milions dictates it,s well on 240 milion ,we might stop calling ourseves is sad.

At 7/16/2006 10:40:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

"Will Syria Get Respect?"

Respect for pushing for a regional war and further destabilizing Lebanon? I guess that it depends on your definition of respect.

Does North Korea have respect?

At 7/16/2006 10:46:00 PM, Blogger Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

"I am a liberal Palestinian Christian, but I have deep respect for Hizbullah and Hamas."

In other words, you're a dhimmi.

At 7/16/2006 11:02:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

it will not get better,till after it gets worse.
History always amaze me, how in few years things chages to the opposit.
Hafez and Bashar Asad, did not get the syrian army stronger in the last 40 years,while Isreal get much stronger.

At 7/17/2006 01:03:00 AM, Blogger Joe M said...

I am not asking you to stop writing and I enjoy reading your posts, but i disagree with you greatly on many issues. I enjoy arguing about them, often vociferously. arguments are not the end of the world...

Anyway, I am not trying to prove my "hate Israel credentials". But I think it is fairly ridiculous that you seem to believe that Islamists are more dangerous to the Arab world then Israel, WHILE ISRAEL IS LITERALLY DESTROYING LEBANON AND THREATENING SYRIA AND IRAN. I don't need to prove that I hate Israel, every day it proves how criminal it is itself. It is self evident how bad they are and i don't need to say anything about them. My point was about the Islamists and how extreme you are against them. I am just guessing, but it seems fairly clear to me that you are more sympathetic to Israel then you are to Islamists. If true, that is very sad.

I, like you, am not a fan of religious extremism. I, too, am generally worried when any group or ideology gets too dominant in a society. but my problem with your analysis is that you consistently attack the Islamists beyond their crimes.

For example, you put Assad as a "permanent member of the bearded men club" (a category that is akin to pure evil in your book) because he has an alliance with Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah. But these 4 are a political alliance and the only forces in the Middle East that are independent of American influence. Are they together because they are all Islamic extremists? not at all. But since the Islamist issue is the most important factor to you, that is how you define them and attack them.

Another example is that the Akhwan in Jordan, Egypt, Syria... and basically all Arab countries, are the most democratic, uncorrupted financially and economically liberal (like you) political forces in their societies, much more then the left leaning forces are generally. "Democracy", corruption and economic liberalism would be your top issues under normal conditions, but not when it comes from Islamists. In this respect, frankly, I am amazed by your views. It seems to me like you are willing to throw away your political beliefs in favor of your fears of religious extremists. this is not reasonable to me. Of course, you will argue that you don't believe they are being honest in what they say about democracy, but i don't know any example of an Islamist group doing the "one man, one vote, one time" nonsense that the American right wing always accuses them of.

Anyway, Hizbullah and Hamas are really good examples of noble, yet Islamist, political organizations. Unlike other groups, they have never shown that they want absolute power or want to force their beliefs on the population. They are Islamist, but I personally find very little to criticize them for politically. They are usually seen as some of the most radical groups in the Middle East, but my experience with them has shown them to be generally practical and flexible. They are not so flexible as to give up their central beliefs, but they are not psychotic ideologs as you seem to believe.

My point is that it just shocks me that you can be claiming how dangerous the Islamists are, even now, as Israel is destroying Lebanon. You don't give them credit for the things they are good at and you only see them as a threat. It is wrong. Even if you don't like them, in this fight they are on the side of justice. You know, again, even if you don't like them I think you should be more honest about them. They are not automatically bad because they are Islamist. Just as any party or ideology, they have good and bad. Maybe it is easier for them to organize because they have a common belief in god, but they are still human. And lastly, even their fundamentalism itself would not be a problem if we didn't have so many other problems. First of which is probably the influence of the USA and Israel on our countries.

At 7/17/2006 01:17:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...

From Alhayat today ...

الى ذلك، اقترح سفراء في الاتحاد الاوروبي على مسؤول شؤون الأمن والخارجية في الاتحاد الاوروبي خافيير سولانا بضرورة زيارة دمشق والتحدث الى الرئيس بشار الأسد. وقال أحد السفراء لـ «الحياة» أمس :»ان الأزمة الأخيرة ستعيد سورية بقوة الى اللعبة الاقليمية».
وكان لافتاً ان رئيس الوزراء الايطالي رومانو برودي اتصل ليل اول من أمس بالرئيس الاسد ليبحث معه التطورات في لبنان والاراضي الفلسطينية، وذلك اول اتصال من نوعه لرئيس وزراء اوروبي منذ اغتيال رئيس الوزراء اللبناني رفيق الحريري.
واوضحت المصادر :»لم تكن هناك سياسة رسمية معلنة بعزل سورية، لذلك فإن التراجع عنها سيكون سهلاً»، قبل ان تقول :»اذا اردنا فعلاً ضبط الأزمة كي لا تتحول الى مواجهة اقليمية، لا بد من فتح اقنية مع دمشق».
واشارت هذه المصادر الى ان «شعرة معاوية» لا تزال قائمة بين واشنطن ودمشق، حيث جرت في اليومين الاخيرين اتصالات دبلوماسية. وفي مقابل طلب الاميركيين من سورية «بذل جهود لتهدئة الامور وعدم التصعيد»، اكد الجانب السوري «على جميع الاطراف التزام التهدئة».
وظهرت بعض التحليلات الديبلوماسية التي تفيد ان «اسلوب عزل سورية لم يكن مفيداً» على أساس القناعة ان «لا بد من التحدث الى السوريين اذا اردنا تغييراً في السلوك».

At 7/17/2006 01:36:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...

George Ajjan at the State Department

At 7/17/2006 03:14:00 AM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

Last Thursday, the US Security Council "failed", or rather, was "un-interested" in calling for a cease-fire in Lebanon??

Today,it is the opposit. Blair, and Kufi Anan are now seeking a UN presense in Lebanon as well, as if Lebanon has not been down that path before!!. Good, and never mind in whose interests the Security Council is acting, but the question is: What would happen in Lebanon, and to Lebanon then??? That is; what is to be expected from the Shia'at majority in Lebanon -being the "wishfuly disarmed" ex-Hizbullah supporters- should such a plan succeed? You can not ship them of Tunis this time. And when even crude "Israel" could not control the growth, actions and the resistance of Fateh, Hamas and Jihad inside "Israeli-occupied areas", what would Siniora, Blair and Anan propose to do with the execlusively pro-Hizbullah population in Lebanon. Would they expect them to roll over and play dead???

I do not expect that such a thing would easily happen as many "able, willing and interested" parties would not allow it. But, just what "if"....????

Have the wiser brains figured that one out yet?

Incidently; What was Sayed Hassan Nassrallah referring to -or hinting at- in his first speach, in the portion he directed at the People of Israel when he said: "You will soon discover how stupid your new government is"??? Why the word "stupid" in particular? This also tells us that he "did expect" that the Israeli government will act stupidly, or should we say "irrational" or "disproportionate" manner as Israel certainly had. That means that he knew what to expect. And so far, he has acted in a confident, cold, calculating, and measured manner. So for God's sake, slow it down a little when continuing to "bet" that Hizbullah must have had "miscalculated" this time.

But again; why the selection of the word "stupid"???

At 7/17/2006 03:39:00 AM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

A very cute one just appeared on Haaretz newspaoer site:

Kufi Anan asks both sides to "Keep Civillians Out Of The Firing Line"... I will be dammend, but I thought the whole thing started when the "Army" of Hizbullah captured 2 soldiers, wounded 20 and killed 8 of the Israeli "Army"!!!

Amer Mousa admitted in yhe Cairo press conference that the Arabs -now realise- that they have been "fooled" by the West, the UN, Israel and the US tricks about the peace-process for years, but it looks like Kofi Anan is "still" adamant in taking Arabs for fools.

By the way, a nice editorial by Haaretz's Gedoun Levi the same site today...among the other good news appearing on its news ticker!

At 7/17/2006 03:54:00 AM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

P.S. the editorial is: "OPERATION OEACE FOR THE IDF". It is in the Opinion section (middle left hand side of the site) of

At 7/17/2006 05:18:00 AM, Blogger annie said...

Syrian Bloggers:

Today, we are all Lebanese.

Lebanon has been sentenced to death. On Wednesday 12 July, she was put in prison, and now she's being tortured.

Israel's war is with Lebanon's civilians, not Hizbollah. Nearly every person killed has been a civilian. Power stations, bridges and petrol stations have been targeted. Israel has warned residents to get out of certain villages, but bombed roads to make it difficult - and refugee convoys have been picked out for deadly air raids.

And getting out of the country is impossible now too. The airport has been destroyed, the sea ports are blockaded, and the border posts and highways have been razed to the ground.

Lebanon is held hostage to the angry Israeli war machine. And now more than ever, Syrians bloggers, just like every Syrian stand by her.

Another generation of Lebanese will know nothing but war. We can't let this happen, Again.

At 7/17/2006 09:04:00 AM, Blogger Disrespectfull said...

The wisfully thinking Syrians posting these blogs never fail to amaza me. Time for you guys to realize the end of Syria as a country of any significance in the ME. Last Arab meeting proved that. G8 meeting confirmed that. The only thing Syria is allowed to do is bow down and submit. As for Lebanon, we thank all the Syrians who express empty words of so-called solidarity but we only buy it with a grain of salt. Lebanese people know very well who is majority and who is minority in Lebanon and it is a purely an internal matter. So I suggest that you guys stop dreaming about having a role in Lebanese affairs or any other ME country for that matter. This is simply never going to happen. Save your energy to doing someting internal and useful inside Syria. All your neighbors are sick of Syria.

At 7/17/2006 09:30:00 AM, Blogger Ivanka said...

Yesterday I tried to explain that the article posted by ameen always is unimportant. However, I take that back. I explain,

I had said that this is only one crazy forgotten neocon, babbling his old hate. I think I was wrong.

It seems to me the neocons are conducting a campaign to call on the US to participate in this war. A few of them have been on TV and called for war on Iran or Syria. They are all arguing that this is America's war because it's Israel's war. (they just say it, in your face. amazing)

It seems impossible to me that the US would just enter the war like this, and especially now. But it is a fact that the neocons are campaigning with their usual determination and anger.

At 7/17/2006 09:30:00 AM, Blogger Karfun said...

Well said, Mr Disrespectfull.
Shame on us syrians.
Any society deserves their government

what they say and what they do.....well.............

So Annie, you should better close your mouth. What a shame.

May God bless Lebanon.

Karfun the syrian

At 7/17/2006 09:53:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - It wasn't meant to be overheard. Private luncheon conversations among world leaders, picked up by a microphone, provided a rare window into both banter and substance — including President Bush cursing Hezbollah's attacks against Israel.

Bush expressed his frustration with the United Nations and his disgust with the militant Islamic group and its backers in Syria as he talked to British Prime Minister Tony Blair during the closing lunch at the Group of Eight summit.

"See the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over" Bush told Blair as he chewed on a buttered roll.

He told Blair he felt like telling U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who visited the gathered leaders, to get on the phone with Syrian President Bashar Assad to "make something happen." He suggested Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice might visit the region soon.

The unscripted comments came during a photo opportunity at the lunch. The leaders clearly did not realize that a live microphone was picking up their discussion.

At 7/17/2006 10:17:00 AM, Blogger t_desco said...

I guess the term "irony" could be seen as confirmation of the Al-Hayat report quoted above.

Tony Blair also advanced his idea of an international peace force to be deployed in southern Lebanon and John Bolton directly called for it to be transformed into an intervention force that would "disarm Hizbullah" and take on Syria and Iran (in his remarks at the UN today)...

At 7/17/2006 10:39:00 AM, Blogger norman said...

The Arabs should stop beging for their rights and start taking them ,that is the only way to get attention ,nobody cares about human rights violation if you are victorious.

At 7/17/2006 10:47:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

I wish Bashar would devote as much time and effort to improving the standards of living of the Syrian people when compared to his preoccupation with gaining Syria more “respect”.

At 7/17/2006 10:55:00 AM, Blogger Ivanka said...

1)I completely agree with EHSANI's above comment.

2)Why did Bush use the word Irony? It seems very inappropriate in this sentence. Maybe he doesn't know what it means and maybe t-desco is right.

At 7/17/2006 11:26:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Sorry Alex but I had to grab my Oxford English Dictionary again. Here is how it defines the word “irony”:

“A figure of speech in which the intended meaning is the opposite of that expressed by the words used; usually taking the form of sarcasm or ridicule in which laudatory expressions are used to imply condemnation or contempt”.

Assuming Bush knows what irony means (no guarantee) let us go back to the quote:

“See the IRONY is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it’s over”.

At 7/17/2006 11:34:00 AM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

well, after re-reading the exact words (the open Microphone stuff) of Dubbya, it seems like he -and his friends in Israel- are not very keen on "doing" Syria or Hizbullah by themselves. He now wants someone else to do the "talking-to-them", nevermind the "doing them" for now...

I do not know if the words "irony" and "they" were in reference to the Russians, Europeans, or to the Arab states? Given his short recall capacity, I think it was in reference to the European and Russian objections.

Good news as I read it: He is not up to doing anything about "doing them" himself! He has apparently grown out of that stuff. It must have been a shortsighted fellow who said Bush was an idiot who would lead the world and the US to a disaster?? The man IS obviously learning from his past misfortunes... This could actually provide for a good start! What a wounderfull thing those few determined men and their Katuyshas could do. Unless you think that the spilled Lebanese blood was what has got most of everyone's attention.

Now, mind you, and as regards "talking" to Syria, there could be the little tiny problem, that Syria is not very interested in talking to some people for sometime. They have just told Larsen off... And Saued Hassan Nassrallah and many of the real brave Lebanese seem to be capable of doing the talking for themselves. They are grownups do not need Syria as intermediary now. And their address is well known: any place from which smoke is rising now. I mean, any place in Lebanon, not in Israel!

And to annie I say,

All Syrians are with Lebanon, and by God I do wish Israel attacks Syria now so that Syria would join the battle alongside those brave heros in Lebanon..for this seems the shortest way to get what we aspire to get. There is and there would be heavy price, but what people or nation have ever achieved anything without paying that price.. Even if it means paying it over and over again to maintaine your worth.

At 7/17/2006 11:44:00 AM, Blogger Nafdik said...

The IRONY is that Assadist are viewing the current situation with a triumphalist attitude thinking that Assad++ will become a REGIONAL FACTOR because of it.

I have a feeling that they will, in the same way Saddam became the center of world politics before his short lived carreer as a taxi driver, and hole dweller.

In ME politics, as opposed to hollywood, any publicity is not good publicity. Assad senior knew that, I hope it is too late for junior to learn this lesson.

At 7/17/2006 11:54:00 AM, Blogger ForFreedomOfExpression said...


about Syrias future read here:

At 7/17/2006 11:59:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...


Instead of opining on a keyboard from the comfort of your seat, why don’t you take a flight down and join your heros? Why don’t you lead us by example instead of asking other “people” or “nation” to pay the so-called heavy price to maintain “your worth”

Cut out this nonsense.

At 7/17/2006 12:13:00 PM, Blogger Ivanka said...

Doesn't irony also mean an unpleasant twist of fate. I am pretty sure it does.

At 7/17/2006 12:31:00 PM, Blogger Ausamaa said...


I have seen it, full of holes so that you can find a sixteenwheeler through it. Tx


I wish I could,
I wish we all could, truly.
But even if am not capable of carrying out such a dream, at least allow me the right to think about it so not to become another defeatist. We have plenty of those around...

By the way, I think that this was a discussion forum not a political contest forum where I have to LEAD BY EXAMPLE.

P.S. Also, we do happen to have few good smart leaders, Bashar al Assad and Nassrallah, for example (this will get you hot now I bet).

But truly again, I wish I could do that..

At 7/17/2006 12:31:00 PM, Blogger Joe M said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7/17/2006 12:41:00 PM, Blogger Joe M said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7/17/2006 12:43:00 PM, Blogger Joe M said...

Just to add, Israel has very tight military censorship and total information is not getting out. so, according to Robert Fisk:

"Last night, Hizbollah's missiles - after killing 10 Israelis in Haifa - were falling on the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, setting the forests alight, and on the Israeli city of Acre."


"The long-range Iranian-made missiles which later exploded on Haifa had been preceded only a few weeks ago by a pilotless Hizbollah drone aircraft which surveyed northern Israel and then returned to land in eastern Lebanon after taking photographs during its flight. These pictures not only suggested a flight path for Hizbollah's rockets to Haifa; they also identified Israel's top-secret military air traffic control centre in Miron.

The next attack - concealed by Israel's censors - was directed at this facility. Codenamed "Apollo", Israeli military scientists work deep inside mountain caves and bunkers at Miron, guarded by watchtowers, guard-dogs and barbed wire, watching all air traffic moving in and out of Beirut, Damascus, Amman and other Arab cities. The mountain is surmounted by clusters of antennae which Hizbollah quickly identified as a military tracking centre. Before they fired rockets at Haifa, they therefore sent a cluster of missiles towards Miron. The caves are untouchable but the targeting of such a secret location by Hizbollah deeply shocked Israel's military planners. The "centre of world terror" - or whatever they imagine Lebanon to be - could not only breach their frontier and capture their soldiers but attack the nerve-centre of the Israeli northern military command."


Hizbullah hit the oil refineries in Haifa and Nasrallah said he purposly did not hit the chemical plant. BBC has a picture of the refineries smoking on the "have you say" site linked above.

Hizbullah also seems to have shot down an Israeli jet.
Does anyone know where to confirm the report Landis mentioned about the Americans giving Israel $300 million for jet fuel?

Also, have there been any other reports about the 72 hours report?

I have not seen these widly reported, so I assume they are unconfirmed speculation.

At 7/17/2006 12:50:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Ehsani, always a pleasure to learn the exact definitions of English words.

But I'm afraid you concentrated on the wrong keyword ... "Assad" was the keyword... "we need to talk to Assad and everything will be fine" .. the irony is that ... we are not talking to Assad!

Before this thing started, for the past year, when the Syrian regime was under the worst days of the Hariri investigation and Lebanese/Saudi/American/French negative press, I have been hyping my favorite way out of many Middle East problems ... a deal with Syria.

So I am not an "Assadist who is viewing the current situation with a triumphalist attitude". I am not even sure Syria will emerge as a winner here.

And the first day the violence started In Lebanon, I asked a bold question which none of you took seriously

So I'll ask again, maybe some of you are a bit more convinced today of the wisdome of a US Syria deal: What components do you think a deal between Syria and the United States should include?

It's ok, don't answer it yet. We are not there yet.

At 7/17/2006 12:52:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...


If you are incapable of carrying out “such a dream” for the time being, I wish the day were near when you “could” actually fulfill your dreams and in the process help restore some of our “worth”.

Foolish endeavors and empty words do not gain self-worth. A country’s self-worth is gained by the civility of its institutions, education system, academic and scientific achievements, standard of living of its people, its economy’ competitive position in the global market place.

While you fulfill your dream of joining your heroes to achieve your definition of self-worth, I shall promise you to work on my version of the definition.

At 7/17/2006 01:25:00 PM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

Joe M,
Israel did ask the US yesterday for something like $ 270 mil in jet fule.It could be either to take opportunistic advantage of the naieve US administration, or to test the quickness of the US response to such request, or to give Syria the impression that the IAF fule situation is bad. Strange request after only three days of fighting.

Worrying is Israel's targeting of the Radars of all Lebanese sea ports. They went after the radars not the other facilities.

As to Hizbullah's attack on the Meron post and the attacks on the HQ of the Northern Command in Safad and on the other three IAF bases in and the near occupied Golan, it is worth noting that those targets were the first targets Syria hit at the beggining of the 1973. Again, Hizbullah went after command and control facilities from day one.

The 72 hours ultimatum story was denied by officials of the IDF. Many officers also repeatedly mentioned that Syria was not on the board now. Further, in an answer to a question about the possibility of Syria attacking Israel, IDF Chief of Staff said something like "the Syrians would not join a war -or enter into waters- where they "might" drawn in". The mannerism of question and the answer and especially the use of the word "might" gets me to believe that they do not have any immediate intention of attacking Syria. Unless the blows by Hizbullah continue prove too much to swallow, only then a face saving strike against Syria might be considered I think. But again, I do not believe they would risk even a limited strike that has unknown consequences. Rational? If the rockets of a small fighting group like Hizbullah can shake them up so much, then what would the effect of the more sophisticated Syrian rockets alone can have on the State of Israel.

P.S. Please, I do not want the customery experienced DEFEATISTS to come back and bark about Syria's rusted Army and useless Missiles. They could prove to be as shiny as Hizbullah's...

Finaly, the IDF Reservists have not been called yet, and if you are goint to fight on three fronts you will still need them.Superior tech or not.

Actually, I do not think anyone -on both sides- knows what to think right now. This round being uncharted territory for Israel, and considering the Fog of War someone posted about yesterday.

At 7/17/2006 01:28:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...


The deal should be between Syria and itself not Syria and the United States.
Syria’s leadership needs to come to terms with where “it” wants to take this nation going forward. As we speak, I for one do not have a clue.

Don’t you think that we need to define our own vision first before we sit with the United States or any other country for that matter?

You or others may already be privy to what this vision is. I would appreciate learning what it exactly is.

At 7/17/2006 02:05:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...


Yes, In an ideal world (as Joshua says) we should start with the Syria-Syria deal as you proposed.

But in reality, the Syria-Syria deal depends on the Syria-US deal ... Think about the influence of the United States, The Saudis, the Iraq war, Iran, Lebanon ... on the "negotiating positions" and expectations of those who would, in the ideal world, negotiate on the table of the Syria-Syria deal talks.

You accuse the regime of not wanting to reform things internally using the excuse of the everlasting outside threats. Opponents to the regime take similar positions ... no support for external, regional deals because the regime is not democratic and they do not want any outsiders to make the regime more empowered.

I, would happily take any improvement possible. Internal of external.

Sadat signed peace with Israel before starting an Egypt-Egypt talks with his people. King Hussein of Jordan did the same. Arafat did the same with Oslo ...

Again, why is it only Syria and the Assads that you expect to behave as if they are leading a country that borders Sweden and Denmark, rather than Iraq and Israel... Why is it that the Saudi and Egyptian opposition can not convince the Americans to not speak to their leaders?

At 7/17/2006 02:16:00 PM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...


I totally agree, and I keep saying that it’s quite the comedic tragedy when I see some Arabs still assuming that the US is sincere about bringing peace and democracy to the region. That could not be further from the truth and people who say otherwise are either complete morons or liars trying to push their own agenda through American support. If Syria was an American puppet you would not have heard a word about democracy there. Can you believe that they call Jordan and SAUDI ARABIA moderate Arab countries??? MODERATE!!! these two countries (especially the latter) are absolute monarchies for fuck's sakes. Women can’t even drive in KSA so when have you ever heard Bush supporting Saudi rights? What about Tunisia and Egypt? I am sick and tired of people who make it look like Syria is the worst possible regime in the region what a bunch of fucking hypocrites. This is a dirty region and to survive you have to play a very dirty game so grow up and get over it already.

At 7/17/2006 02:18:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Israeli officials clarified to Washington over the weekend that they do not wish to widen their assault to hit targets inside Syria, despite being privately urged by some US defense officials to use the opportunity to send a clear signal to Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.

Israel is reluctant to light up the Syrian front, not so much due to the threat of reprisals from Damascus or Syria’s alliance with Iran, but because Israeli sources fear an escalatory dynamic could crack Assad’s hold on power, only to see his regime replaced by the kind of destabilizing sectarian conflict raging in Iraq. “A week Assad is preferable to seeing Syria collapse into chaos”, a security source in Israel’s ruling Kadima party says.

Nor does Israel plan to mount a large-scale ground invasion into Lebanon. Israel hopes to limit its ground war to local incursions and commando assaults, and to carving out a narrow 1-km strip directly on the Israeli frontier to ensure Hezbollah fighters will never again stand eyeball to eyeball with Israeli frontline positions.

Israeli military sources feel they are being afforded diplomatic freedom, if not encouragement, from an odd consensus of the White House, pro-Western Arab regimes and anti-Syria Lebanese politicians to give Hezbollah a “serious whack”, and will prosecute their campaign to degrade Hezbollah capabilities as long as conditions allow even as cease-fire mediation efforts begin.

There is a loose consensus among these forces that the growing strength of Iran, Syria and its Islamist proxies needs to be checked, and the timing of Hezbollah cross-border raid that ignited the present round and Iran’s deadline to respond to a US/EU nuclear offer are hardly seen as coincidental. The quiet hope in Riyadh, Cairo and Amman is that Hezbollah emerges from this round both politically and militarily weakened.

White House officials are more convinced than ever that if an Iran merely on an eventual path to nuclear capacity is brazenly encouraging Arab-Israeli violence on two fronts (Gaza via Hamas and Lebanon via Hezbollah), all the more reason to imagine the strategic threat a nuclear Iran would pause, and all the more reason to stop it.

The current crisis, Bush Administration officials say, underscores the importance of four goals: making the Palestinian Hamas fail, disarming Hezbollah, stopping Iran’s nuclear advance, and attempting to stabilize Iraq. Any of those goals may be impossible without strategic understanding with Damascus and Tehran. US hawks, however, are loudly saying that meeting those goals via “appeasement” by running to cut deals with Syria and Iran is a false hope. The stakes could hardly be higher.

At 7/17/2006 02:26:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Alex and IC,

I don't have a single problem with everything you said.

Do you think that Syria's leadership has carved out a clear vision of where it it leading the country?

This was my specific question.

At 7/17/2006 02:51:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...


Publicly, Syria's leadership has been the most consistent in its regional policy.

The problem is: everyone prefers to assume that the Syrian leaders have nothing but personal survival goals and they are losers who do not know what they are doing.

Where did that assumption get us so far?

Before I fully put the blame on Bahsar for not doing much the past few years, I also blame those who create teh Hariri investigation pressure tactics which kept him busy for 19 months for example.

When the west cooperates with SYria ... syria, and the Middle East move forward. Did you notice the corellation? ... go throught 1977 till now.

At 7/17/2006 03:36:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7/17/2006 03:44:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

"Democracy Now!" will broadcast an "exclusive interview" with President Bashar al-Asad tomorrow.

The name of the program is clearly something he should think about... ;-)

As'ad AbuKhalil was on today and he recommended this background article by Robin Wright on Israel's strategy and goals in Lebanon:

Strikes Are Called Part of Broad Strategy
Washington Post, July 16, 2006

"Israel, with U.S. support, intends to resist calls for a cease-fire and continue a longer-term strategy of punishing Hezbollah, which is likely to include several weeks of precision bombing in Lebanon, according to senior Israeli and U.S. officials.

For Israel, the goal is to eliminate Hezbollah as a security threat -- or altogether, the sources said. A senior Israeli official confirmed that Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah is a target, on the calculation that the Shiite movement would be far less dynamic without him.

For the United States, the broader goal is to strangle the axis of Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria and Iran, which the Bush administration believes is pooling resources to change the strategic playing field in the Middle East, U.S. officials say.

Whatever the outrage on the Arab streets, Washington believes it has strong behind-the-scenes support among key Arab leaders also nervous about the populist militants -- with a tacit agreement that the timing is right to strike.

"What is out there is concern among conservative Arab allies that there is a hegemonic Persian threat [running] through Damascus, through the southern suburbs of Beirut and to the Palestinians in Hamas," said a senior U.S. official who requested anonymity because of sensitive diplomacy. "Regional leaders want to find a way to navigate unease on their streets and deal with the strategic threats to take down Hezbollah and Hamas, to come out of the crisis where they are not as ascendant." "

At 7/17/2006 04:11:00 PM, Blogger souria el hora said...

the only way for syria to get respect is with a new democratic non assad leader

At 7/17/2006 04:58:00 PM, Blogger Nafdik said...


When I talked of Assadists I did not have not have you particularly in mind :)

As for a deal, I can think of many deals that are win/win/win (in the wors of Ammar) for the regime, Israel, and the US, but rhe only thing that is in the interest of the Syrian (and the Lebanese) poeple is to not compromise with the regime until it stops human rights violations.

At 7/17/2006 04:59:00 PM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

Has anyone seen the latest FART by Tony Badran? I didn’t even wanna dignify his post with a comment. Yet another racist crock of shit and I quote

"One might add that Syria's destructive role is not confined to 1967. In fact, they were at the heart of the calls for war in 1948."

so basically the Syrians have been evil for generations it’s not just Assad. I just hope that dork is getting paid well to create this garbage.

Not only does he not criticize Israel’s brutality against his (own) people. But actually blames Syria for supporting the 1948 war. Maybe soon he will come out of the closet and confess that he answers to “bring out the gimp”. I wonder if this is the result of some sort of abuse when he was a kid???

At 7/17/2006 05:05:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

I have the right to dream, that HA get more missile capable of attacking Tel Aviv, that the egyptian revolt against the traitor Mubarak.I will pray for that.

At 7/17/2006 05:14:00 PM, Blogger Ivanka said...

EHSANI, can you please give me the source of your information when you say...

"Israeli officials clarified to Washington over the weekend that they do not wish to widen their assault to hit targets inside Syria, despite being privately urged by some US defense officials to use the opportunity to send a clear signal to Bashar al-Assad in Damascus."

I seem to be mostly reading reports in the other direction. Thank you in advance

At 7/17/2006 05:59:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...


Is there ANY win/win/win/win/win solution?


basically ... is there a solution that is good for

1) Israel
2) the US
3) the Syrian authorities
4) the Syrian people
5) Lebanon?

I'm trying to work on such a proposal, and I would love to hear your ideas. Same for Tarik, Ausama, Norman, ... and all of you who do not insist that there is no way the regime and the syrian people could benefit at the same time from any arrangement.

At 7/17/2006 06:44:00 PM, Blogger Philip I said...

From Philip I []

Yes Alex. I have a brilliant idea which I've just lifted off a broken record. It's called democracy.

At 7/17/2006 07:14:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...


I forgot to add: it has to be something practical. Where none of the 5 parties above would fight it.

At 7/17/2006 07:42:00 PM, Blogger Philip I said...


You are smart and I'm being unhelpful and facetious. However, so I can enjoy having the last word in this duel, I would say Only the Syrian authorities have a reason to fight it!

But to answer your question, what is good for the Syrian people should be also good for the Syrian authorities(it would be strange if it wasn't!) I cannot imagine the Syrian people not wishing their Lebanese cousins the same beneficial outcome. So we are only taking about 3 parties: Arabs, Israelis and Americans.

Right now the Israelis are calling the shots with American cover, if not encouragement. The Arabs are in no position to negotiate a beneficial outcome. why? Because they are weak. Why are they weak? Because they allow themeselves to be ruled by dictat. So, as you can see, all roads lead to Rome.

At 7/17/2006 08:11:00 PM, Blogger Nafdik said...


Democracy is a lose/lose/GameOver/WIN/win


I hate being a party pooper, but the basics of dealmaking is that the parties bring something to the table with which to exchange favors. Unfortunately, the Syrian poeple have nothing to offer. So to repeat the obvious, step 1: Get back our country, step 2: do deals.

At 7/17/2006 08:13:00 PM, Blogger SimoHurtta said...

One my reporter friend told me an interesting story. When the Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni (a rather good looking lady for a minister as my friend said) was visiting Helsinki last week (Finland holds now the EU presidency) one other reporter asked the foreign minister just when she was leaving to the airport what will Israel do if they will not get the soldiers back. “We will destroy our neighbours” was the answer with a big smile. My reporter friend said to me that this lady is considered to be a dove among Israeli politicians. Together we were pondering “and these guys have 200 nuclear weapons” and want to join NATO and EU. Heaven help.

Ehsani2 is speaking about the fight between bearded men and shaved men. Well indeed there is a big struggle, but what is the example and solution the bearded men of Israel / USA are offering the shaved (= moderate) people of Middle East? Secular democracy and free trade say the Ehsani’s of “US-Syria” and breaded men of Israel and USA. A secular democracy like Israel – an example of what? Well then everybody can start wars, hold millions in economical slavery in Bantustans, make racial, religious laws etc. And solve diplomatic problems in Israeli style - targeted assassinations and bombings. In such of the future the world will miss the old dictators and kings.

The core problem in Middle East is Israeli occupation and Israel’s strategic supremacy, allowed for it but not to others by USA. In every occupied area, especially where occupier uses brutal force and weakens the rights of the “original” people in that area, has existed military resistance. And that military resistance always uses “terrorism” as the fighting strategy. Actually the forming of Israel was a giant terrorism act (in concrete forms). Even after forming Israel terrorism has been the new state’s strategy. Actually Israelis taught the Middle East most of the methods used in modern terrorist war. Some of Israel’s highest politicians were terrorists leaders who make the leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah look amateurs.

USA / Israel punish Lebanon, Syria and Iran for harbouring “terrorists”. On the same time USA finances militant extremists all over the world and gives them a place to live and Medias to import their “bearded” message. Let us not for get who created Al Qaida and helped it to grow. Let us not forget where the foreign minister of Shamil Basayev, Akhmed Zakayev is living.

USA says that the solution is a two state solution, but is not willing to speak what exactly are the borders of the second state. Israelis say that there is nobody with whom they can talk and keep on their land grabbing and destroying time after time the Palestinian governmental infrastructure (build with EU aid) even they perfectly well know that that infrastructure is needed no matter who leads that “independent second state”. It is obvious that the bearded men of Israel do not want a solution and the bearded double passport men in Washington support it. They want to keep West Bank and Golan Heights without their Arab inhabitants. Also the present situation gives Israel huge political and financial benefits. Israel’s living standard is much based on the “free” water of Golan and West Bank. Demolishing time after time Palestinian infrastructure makes it possible for Israelis to get of a “fair” share of the imported goods paid by the EU and Arab money used to rebuild the “ministries”. Having an own test shooting ground and slave camps gives Israeli “defence” industry huge benefits. And last but not least the steady “development aid” from USA pays for the cost of the occupation and “democratic self-defence” aggressions.

Speaking that the Israeli struggle is a part against radical Islam is complete bullshit. Before Israel / USA was fighting against pan-Arabic ideology. The simple truth is that Israel doesn’t want to give the areas won in wars it started back and doesn’t want the people on those areas as Israeli citizens. It is the core of the struggle, not Islam or pan-Arabic ideology. But in the end the only solution to is in Israeli hands. Changing all Arab countries to “Bush” democracies with “free trade” doesn’t bring any solution if Israel doesn’t let Palestine be created and doesn’t give back Golan Heights.

As a summary it is difficult to for me to define who are the breaded (=extremists) and who are the shaved (=moderate) men in the world are. Certainly it is clear the nationalistic, religious movements like Hamas and Hezbollah only grow and get stronger thanks Israeli / US politics. From my own country’s history I know that showing strength by the occupier or foreign power only makes the resistance more determined and stronger. As George Bush himself said (ironically indeed), “the most important thing for people is freedom”.

At 7/17/2006 08:27:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...

OK, Nafdik,

If Syria has nothing to offer .. then how come Israel says that their costs of this conflict in the first few days are about 400 millions? How come 1 million Israelis are hiding in shelters?

How come Bush said today "the irony is .. if we just talk to Bashar he can make things happen"?

Philip ... I agree the Arabs are weak ... but, the US and Israel are also weak ... everybody is tired from trying and failing to have a monopoly on events.

I believe the time is getting closer to being right for "a deal".

At 7/17/2006 09:06:00 PM, Blogger Fares said...

please check my latest random posts at

At 7/17/2006 09:08:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...


My friend Joe M will have a fit reading about another person talking about bearded men.

You and many others here have continuously made rather passionate speeches about Israel and its atrocities. Moreover, I think that it is clear to every sane person that the U.S. has an asymmetric policy towards the Middle East. Israel’s interests come as a first priority regardless of how blatant the bias is. Unless you are an Israeli citizen, you cannot but feel betrayed, angry and hopeless when it comes to this unfair contest.

Having established the above, one needs to ask him what is the “solution”?

It seems to me that this is where we as Arabs have failed.

The vast majority of the Arab world continues to operate on the premise that the State of Israel cannot be allowed to survive and prosper in this region. After all, this is what we have been taught since we were born. Most of our governments have acted and plotted according to this same principal.

Realistically, what amounts to a dream by this vast majority of Arabs is surely nothing but a dream. The mistakes that have allowed Israel to become as well entrenched as they are today were made by past leaders and not us. We cannot continue to be asked to pay the price. The day must come when the Arab world will need to swallow the bullet and face the hard facts on the ground.

Hamas is a case in point. What is their long-term objective? Is it to liberate Palestine and kick the Jews out? Is this really a feasible course to take your people on? Is it not about time to raft a “realistic” long-term strategy for lifting the Palestinian people out of their misery? I know that many of you will jump and say but it is Israel that is the problem. Can’t you understand what they are doing to our people?

As I said earlier, only when we could craft a “realistic” agenda for our current and future generation of young men and women can we have a chance at reversing this vicious circle we are in.

Many of you will call me a defeatist. But, is it not time to cut our loss? Has there not been enough signs that our current path is not leading us anywhere? I think it is time to stop arguing about how bad Israel is and how biased America is. Everyone knows this to be true. What we owe our people is a solution and a vision for the future not playing the same CD over and over.

At 7/17/2006 10:22:00 PM, Blogger Disrespectfull said...

This is the Guide for the Perplexed in Basic English:
"Stop doing this shit" is used when someone is impatient with a misbehaving 'kid' or a grown up looking kid (immature person) not knowing the consequences of his actions. It is also used as a sign that severe punishment will follow if the misbehavior is not corrected. It is never used as an enticement to do something with the hope that you may be rewarded for it. Failure to listen or to heed the warning may risk your well being. Quite often, when the party uttering such aberration has the means at its disposal to inflict heavy damage, then the utterance may be considered as a threat.
Next time I will deal with the Guide for the Perplexed in the Art of Making Deals.

At 7/17/2006 10:22:00 PM, Blogger Nafdik said...


You are again confusing the Syrian poeple with the Syrian government. The Syrian government has many things to offer. As for for We the poeple....

At 7/17/2006 10:48:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

Alex ,this is a respose to your chalenge which i think will give all parties you mentioned somthing good to brag about ,What i see as a solution is for Israel to go back to 1967 border and making Juroselem a united city (israeli request) but under international soverenty and a recognised capital to Israel and Palestine where the christian sites are under christian managment muslem sites under muslem managments and the jewish sites under jewish managment,the Palestinian (encluding my mother ) will not be able to return to June 4th 1967 Israel but will be offerd genorou compensations either directly or to Syria ,Lebanon and Jordon as yearly assistance simmiler to what germany paid Israel for compensation for the Holocost ,return of the Golan hights is essential to satisfy the Syrian people and goverment and will give the Syrian goverment now that israel left the Golan hights for a full peace treaty which enclude full peace with Israel and cooperation on water which will enclude a canal from the Asad Lake to the sea of Galeli ,all this will give Syria a great incentive and pride to help stabelize Iraq by intreducing Syrian forces into Iraq to stabelize the country,giving a great credect to the US for the setlmenta nd for the withdrowel of Israel to 1967 border and a setlment for the Palestenians will give the US a significant bost in our lands and between our people Syria will add by recognizing the American example of democracy and asks the US to help Syria establish an American syle republic which i beleive is more compatible to our culture than a represenative democracy which people vote for a religous party or ethnic group like what happened in Iraq a republic will allow people to vote for local represenstives they know and are resposible for their needs that will be a great present for the Syrian people and the US and Bashar Asad will take cridet for ,there will be no set aside for the Baath party or any party i prefer to have a cosevetive party and a liberal one and each side will put forword their reps for the available seats with clear programs on healthcare deffense economy education and yes woman rights ,now Lebanon ,Hizballa will become a politecal party and give away his wepons to the Lebanese army or join the Lebanese army as with Israel recognizing Lebanon border and a full peace treaty between Lebanon and Israel there will be no need for weapons as long as Lebanon is under a full American protection from any interfarence by Israel and Syria and Lebanon will stop harbering oposition group to any Arab country and making it clear that it will not tolerate assylem seekers in Lebanon to work against a freindly country ,as i said in return for setling the Palestenians who are in Lebanon Lebanon and Syria and JOrdon will get economic aids and most favoret status with the US and the EU ,the Us will provide the know how and help in economic ,educational and politecal and legal reforms in these countries and get a fan fair for their help to Arabs and muslems that will go a long way in defusing and eradicatin the Anger against the US and the west that Ben laden inspired.about the polital System in Lebanon ,that is a difficult one but they can start by deleeting religion from their ID cards then having simmiler System to US start with local election and see what they can do for their people ,most people want good roads clean water good schools and when they know the people who are runing for office they will vote for the good person no matter what his religion or ethnic origin,Alex ,I hope you can read this and understand inspite of my poor spelling.I almost forgot Israeli reward ,full peace with Arab and Islamic countrie and a large market that is as big as the US market with a new found wealth in Arab countries and eagerness to build their countries and economies that Israel could be part ,that will give Israel a chance to be the silicone valy of the midleast which is somthing it can never acheive with war.

At 7/17/2006 10:58:00 PM, Blogger Nafdik said...

Here is my prediction of the long term impact of the unfolding events.

The big lesson of these events is how vulnerable Israel is. The rockets being launched at Haifa are surprisingly accurate. Projecting this into 50 years in the future we can see that a motivated group can seriously hurt Israel with light long range missiles.

What would Israel then want:

1) Make peace as quickly as possible with the Palestinians. Hoping it can revive a PLO like partner after it has been trying to sabotage peace for the last 20 years.

2) Prevent Iran at any cost from advancing warfare technology, ideally by creating a situation that will cripple the economy and destroy the country as happened in Iraq.

So my prediction is that life will be tough for Iran from now on and Paletinians might get some breathing room.

As for Hizbullah, an international force will be deployed on the border of Israel and Israel will in the future bomb at will Hizbullah positions as well as suspect shipments transported from Syria or Iran.

At 7/17/2006 11:11:00 PM, Blogger Nafdik said...


in my previous post I missed the opportunity to add a doubly morbid remark. So here is the corrected version.

1) Make peace as quickly as possible with the Palestinians. Hoping it can revive a PLO like partner after it has been trying to sabotage peace for the last 20 years. They might have a better chance reviving Ariel Sharon.

At 7/17/2006 11:44:00 PM, Blogger Alex said...


I bet you I'm the only one who read your proposal till the end. There aren't many dreamers here. Only me, you, and Zenobia.

I like it of course, and any logical person would like it.

To me, the problem, of this far reaching solution is that:

1) Israeli public for the past 5 years concluded that they are too powerful to sacrifice by giving back all those occupied territories. The events of the past week might have been helpful to the peace process, as Nafdik mentioned, by illustrating the limits of Israel's power. The Israeli people, for their own good, need to learn to become a bit more humble. Sharon's power trip was short term pleasure and long term loss to his nation.

2) All those religious people who do not care for Ehsani's economic plans, instead they have one clear goal in life .. to empower their religion. Undoing fundamentalism will take some time ... the earlier they start the better.

So, I am claiming that neither Israel, not Hizbollah should be allowed to win this battle. It is simply not good for them ... They both get over confident too easily.

AND I am claiming that it is in the United States's best interest to have a perception of a strong Syria. I read last year, when Syria was very weak, comments on Haaretz after readers were asked if Israel should return the Golan heights to Syria ... most readers said: "why should we? .. Syria is so weak"

When the Israelis do not win ALL their battles with ease, and when the "bearded men" do not conclude that god is always bahind them ensuring their continued victories, then ... Norman's logical plan could become mainstream, not just a dream.

At 7/17/2006 11:53:00 PM, Blogger Joe M said...

SimoHurtta is right and you are wrong.

For example, if Iran had a nuclear weapon it would be perfectly "realistic" for them to "wipe Israel off the map". In that case, unless you are a genocidal maniac, being realistic is also totally insane.

The reason that is true is because justice is the only thing that creates and sustains peace. You are asking people like myself and Simohurrta to accept grave injustice in the interest of being "realistic", but really you are the one who is unrealistic in thinking that any people should be forced to suffer such violent injustice. Why do you accept the status quo of American/Israeli power and ask us to give up our basic and fundamental rights? Why not ask them to show a touch of humility and treat us with fairness? You are not being defeatist when you ask this of us, what you are doing is selling us out for the false comfort of not being technically at war. You don't gain peace, you just are not fighting.

Really, your contempt for your own brothers is very disheartening. I don't expect everyone to love Hizbullah, but it is a true disgrace when the Saudis love their personal comfort so much that they are willing to blame Hizbullah and Hamas for the bombs that Israel is throwing on the heads of the innocent. Fine, you don't have to love Hizbullah. No one asked you to. But you don't even understand the basic importance of solidarity. You know, the reason families like mine are split up into a million pieces, or that my cousins are still suffering in Gaza under heavy bombardment 60 years after the fact is largely because people like you decided to buy you comfort at the cost of our freedom. It makes me sick. We are not strong enough to defend ourselves from the Jews. They just take our land or kill us. And they will keep doing it. We can't stop them. That is obvious. But we would be able to stop them if, for once in a lifetime, someone came to our aid. You have abandoned us and we suffer for it. you are comfortable, that is all that matters.

Just look around, a tiny group like Hizbullah has been able to shake them to their core. Nasrallah has shown more honor and courage then any other Arab I can think of. What would happen if Saudi, Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Iraq (God help them), Libya... all the Arabs came to our aid like he has? Militarily or even diplomatically if you must? As individuals we are just sand niggers, but, at least, together we might be able to stand up for ourselves. At some point you have to choose to fight. Nasrallah could not bear to watch any longer. He is a hero for it.

If you think you can buy peace by befriending the Americans and the Jews, you are wrong. Maybe you can for a little while, but you can not in the long term. And the difference is that you will have a hole in your soul, while we can stand up with honor. And we may get cut down in the process, but you will get cut down too. For us it will happen all at once, for you it will be a little bit at a time. but that is a price we have to pay. It will happen to us either way. We are standing up for ourselves while you are sitting down and watching. If we all stood together we would not have to endure endlessly, divided we all lose.

At 7/18/2006 12:14:00 AM, Blogger Joe M said...

I agree with most of what Norman said. I am going to keep my comments specific to Palestine because it is more of my interest then to go on about the type of settlement I want to see internal to Syria or Lebanon.

But in Palestine, it really needs to be a federal one-state solution. Two states "Israel" and "Palestine" in which all the people share the same political, social and civil rights, as well as share the same institutions, within the land of greater Palestine (call it whatever name you want overall). They don't have to live together, but it is obvious that neither one is going anywhere. I think they should internationalize Jerusalem by moving the UN headquarters out of New York and into Jerusalem. The Americans hate the UN anyway, so move it to the third world. All the diplomats and people floating around will only help our region, plus Jerusalem really is the world's capital anyway.

The "one-state" solution is best for everyone because then they can all claim some victory. Jews still have a place to live, while Arabs and Muslims gain control of the land as well.

Qadaffi proposed this plan decades ago, so did Edward Said. they were both right and it is obviously the best way.

At 7/18/2006 01:14:00 AM, Blogger Karfun said...

Beside your small intelligent talk here just go and see what happens really. And dont forget to remember that it was SYRIA who called the devil. There will be no forgiveness next hundred years for us. You can say it was our government but also guilty is the whole society, stealing money for their daily bread in the name of God. Eighteen million people and no one who can stop this desaster.
This is our beloved country where the people are specially peaceful?

Is there not a big conflict within you? Why do you not discuss about shame and responsibility? If you now are all lebanese you should force his EXCELLENCY to stop and go.

Will Syria get respect? Is your selfrespect not forcing you.........................

At 7/18/2006 01:19:00 AM, Blogger Karfun said...


well said.

E. Nough

At 7/18/2006 01:34:00 AM, Blogger Karfun said...

Your speeches here, ALEX, do you not think that you should ask other questions? Or be quiet for a while? Where is your sence for humanity?

Are you not a lebanese today? So what about lebanese prisoners in syria? If you call yourself not a lebanese what about Michael Kilo, what about Dalilah????? You should ask those questions till someone excellent heard your voice. This I could respect.


At 7/18/2006 02:24:00 AM, Blogger SimoHurtta said...

Ehsani you post your opinion here 15 times more often than I. So speaking about continuous posting is a little offending. When you speak about passionate speeches you should take a good look in the mirror. A person who speaks about free-trade as an only solution to Syria’s economical future is hardy an “economist”. A passionate propagandist is a more describing term for such a person. A person who in the same sentence demands democracy to Syria and is demanding a veto over democracy for the Syrian Army is simply a hilarious passioninate “democrat”.

Ehsani you have still not answered the free trade homework I gave to you: Which Latin American countries with 200 years of “free trade” with USA have made rich, stabile and well educated?

Ehsani I am clever enough to realize that the core of Middle East’s problem is Israeli occupation and not the ruling style of Arab countries. Even if all Arab countries would be like democratic like the Nordic countries, would it make Israel to end the occupation? I doubt it. If Israel would pull back to 1967 borders and make a compensation plan for those Palestinians with property claims who are not allowed to that democratic secular paradise (=Israel), would encourage democracy and moderate movements in the region more than anything else. I am not demanding “erasing” Israel; it is a fact on the “ground”. But I demand that it should operate as civilized nation do and treat their ethnic brothers as they treat their own tribe.

Speaking about the mistakes of past generations is bullshit. If your son continues a chess game you started, your son can say only my father was an idiot but I have to play with these pieces my father left me. Nations do not start a “game” from a clean table when ever there is a regime change. Would Syria get back Golan Heights simply by electing a Republican (secular naturally, like in USA :) ) majority to their parliament?

At 7/18/2006 04:08:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

No need to get offended. I was not referring to you personally when I wrote. I actually value your many insights and your demonstrated intelligence. I wish you opined more often. As to your questions, I will address them in due course unless you want me to quit my job.

At 7/18/2006 05:20:00 AM, Blogger t_desco said...

Nice plan, norman. The problem is, like Tarek said on BBC "Have Your Say", that at the moment Israel has absolutely no incentive to move into that direction.

BTW, I noticed that the comments by Uri Avnery and by Robin Wright quoted above seem to converge in one point (the problem with Avnery's article is, of course, that he relies on analogy more than on actual inside information like Wright does).

Avnery: "THE REAL aim is to change the regime in Lebanon and to install a puppet government. ... As then, there is no doubt that it is coordinated with a part of the Lebanese elite."

Wright: "Whatever the outrage on the Arab streets, Washington believes it has strong behind-the-scenes support among key Arab leaders also nervous about the populist militants -- with a tacit agreement that the timing is right to strike."

The Saudi/Arab non-response which Michael Ledeen and Ehsani are so exited about also seems to confirm that Washington's assumption was correct.

This automatically leads to the question if "the key Arab leaders" did coordinate their strategy in some way with their Lebanese allies.

At 7/18/2006 08:11:00 AM, Blogger norman said...

Alex, The war in Lebanon if it is to continue and Hizballa refuse the the Israeli conditions Israel can not continue the war for a long period of time and will see it,s limitation that will make them wake up to the realities that they won their previous wars because of lack of determination by Arab countries not because of their militery might only Continued low intensity war will drain the Israeli economy and bring peace to the midleast under American flag .That coud be the reason for American refusal for a cease fire to show israel that they need the US.

At 7/18/2006 08:11:00 AM, Blogger norman said...

Alex, The war in Lebanon if it is to continue and Hizballa refuse the the Israeli conditions Israel can not continue the war for a long period of time and will see it,s limitation that will make them wake up to the realities that they won their previous wars because of lack of determination by Arab countries not because of their militery might only Continued low intensity war will drain the Israeli economy and bring peace to the midleast under American flag .That coud be the reason for American refusal for a cease fire to show israel that they need the US.

At 7/18/2006 09:12:00 AM, Blogger norman said...

Alex ,sombody said ,(If you can dream it you can do it ).

At 7/18/2006 09:22:00 AM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

if this air attack continues,it will not destroy HA,,and they will bomb Isreali cities,also international pressure will mount up, and Isreal will run out of targets to hit, the only choice left to Isreal is land invasion, which is costly,also how far they need to go?,and how long they will stay?, also resistance will force them to pull out,especially with UN resolution that all foreighn troops must leave Lebanon,without land invasion,HA will re-arm, and will be stronger. Syria will wait till Seniora Goverment collapse.
HA has the ability to hit Tel Aviv,continue the policy of HORROR BALANCE, this will soften isreal demands, Olmert emotional speech,tells me that he feels this situation, he may release lebanese prisoners, and may pull out of Shabaa farm, but will not do it unless there is agreement with third country(germany),to do it, there is already negotiations going on,Iran feels there is a chance of Victory,for HA.
I doubt Isreal will attack Syria, unless Syria makes a mistake, this has ramifications,and needs american OK, if Isreal slow down the air attack,so will HA, I think Isreal may have over reacted.

At 7/18/2006 09:30:00 AM, Blogger BP said...

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was sent to Damascus to urge Hizbullah to curb rocket attacks against Israel and to release two Israel Defense Forces soldiers captured a week ago in order to avoid further escalations, a London-based Arabic daily reported. Al-Sharq al-Awsat reported that a European country warned Iran that Israel is ready for a confrontation with Syria, which recently signed a defense alliance with Iran. The alliance stipulates that Iran would send arms and troops to back Syria should Damascus be attacked. Iran was also warned that Israel is determined to crush Hizbullah’s infrastructure and liquidate its leadership.

At 7/18/2006 09:34:00 AM, Blogger BP said...

SPIEGEL ONLINE - July 18, 2006, 03:55 PM
America and Iran

Opening a Second Front

By Georg Mascolo in Washington

Ostensibly Israel and Hezbollah are the two sides battling each other in renewed fighting in the Middle East. But in Washington the conviction is growing that Iran is trying to deflect attention from its dispute with the United States by stoking the conflict.

Everything had been prepared: At the G-8 summit in St. Petersburg, US President George W. Bush wanted to lay the groundwork for the delicate matter of economic sanctions against Iran. In spite of international pressure, the mullahs in Tehran still weren't giving a clear answer to the proposals from Germany, France, Great Britain, and the United States to resolve the dispute over Iran's controversial nuclear program.

Anything besides a clear 'yes' would be taken as a rejection, according to a promise Bush had received from his European partners, and the pressure was rising every day. Even UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, in an interview with SPIEGEL, called on Iran to make a decision.

But instead of the expected diplomatic answer, Iran's long arm in Lebanon, the militant Islamic group Hezbollah, took the initiative and kidnapped two Israeli soldiers. An escalation -- as both Hezbollah as well as the Iranian government knew -- was unavoidable. Kidnappings and the deals they lead to have a tradition in the Middle East, and the exchange of prisoners and wounded soldiers has often been brokered by Germans. The last swap mediated by Berlin took place in early 2004 at an air base in Cologne -- and even then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in a gravelly voice, warned that the next kidnapping of an Israeli soldier would be answered with massive force. "There are measures to which we didn't resort," he said at a ceremony in Israel welcoming those prisoners home. "But if, God forbid, the circumstances change, we won't hesitate to use them. That's a promise."

Washington's war too

But why now? The Bush administration thinks Iran wants to spark a dangerous conflict to mask the diplomatic tug-of-war over its nuclear ambitions. Iran wants "chaos," says President Bush. American experts believe the Tehran government -- with the aid of its allies in Syria -- has fired a warning shot for Israel and the United States to see: "You can't threaten us, you can't stop us," is the supposed message. "Look what we're ready to do." If this theory is right, then Tehran has already answered the Western powers' nuclear proposal.

And the mullahs have made a risky calculation: Any further crisis, of course, would raise the price of oil, which would fatten coffers in Iran -- but the regime also seem convinced that the Iraq-war debacle will keep the US from intervening militarily. Bush looks helpless and harmless to them. However, provoking even a wounded superpower is never a good idea. In Washington these days the opinion is rising that Iran can only be made to see reason through violence. They argue that a conflict where one party just tries to get whatever it wants can't be solved by negotiation. "Iran's Proxy War," is what the neoconservative Weekly Standard calls the current conflict in the Middle East. "This is our war too," the magazine argues.

This view also seems to dominate the White House, or at least that's one way to interpret President Bush's behavior so far: He may have warned Israel to act "with restraint" around Lebanese civilian targets, but he refused to call for a ceasefire, as Kofi Annan and other world leaders wanted him to do. At the G-8 summit in St. Petersburg Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were overheard on an open microphone discussing what Bush thought of Annan's suggestion: "His attitude is basically ceasefire, and everything else happens."

Crisis as opportunity?

Bush sees a big test of wills on the horizon. His government sits on one side, still hoping to bring peace to the Middle East; Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Syria have joined forces on the other side to keep him from accomplishing his historic task. In a recent interview with US magazine Newsweek, Bush said one part of Iran's strategy was to "create conditions" which would force moderate governments to "step back in fear, and the vacuum would then be filled by the proponents of an aggressive ideology." Giving up the fight now would only delay the problem, the White House believes, not solve it. So if Israelis now try to put down Hezbollah with airstrikes, that's only in Bush's interest -- another phase in the "War on Terror" and the simmering contest with Iran.

Where the world sees nothing but death and destruction, Washington seems inclined to view the current flare-up in the Middle East as an opportunity. Since Arab regimes fear Iran's claim to leadership in the Muslim world at least as much as Washington, they should -- theoretically -- help the Americans frustrate Iranian dreams of hegemony. This strategy has achieved at least one small early success. Condoleezza Rice pointed proudly to a statement released by the Arab League on Saturday: Instead of the usual unanimous Israel-bashing, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt criticized Hezbollah for its "unexpected, inappropriate, and irresponsible acts."

"Mr. Big Satan," and "Ms. Axis of Evil," as Washington Post columnist David Ignatius has labelled the United States and Iran, are busy sizing each other up. How will things progress? "It doesn't help to speculate about kind of apocalyptic scenarios," said Rice while she was in Germany last week. She's expected to travel soon for urgent talks in the Middle East.

At 7/18/2006 09:39:00 AM, Blogger BP said...

Bush Wants the Hizballah-Israel War to Give Iran a Bloody Nose

DEBKAfile Special Analysis

July 17, 2006, 8:07 PM (GMT+02:00)

Since the onset of the Israel-Hizballah war on July 12, US president George W. Bush never tires of repeating that Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorists and that it is up to Syria to press Hizballah to stop shooting rockets at Israel.

His secretary of state Condoleezza Rice says she doesn’t see how an immediate ceasefire can solve the Middle East crisis.

UN secretary general Kofi Annan, playing along, is in no hurry to take a hand. “It will be a while before fighting ends,” he says calmly. And Germany’s Angela Merkel thinks the kidnapped Israeli soldiers should be returned before any talk begins.

Britain’s Tony Blair would like to put an international force into southern Lebanon, but Bush put him off none too gently according to an open mike at the G-8 summit. Anyway, south Lebanon already has an international force. It is called UNIFIL, and it has never stopped Hizballah firing a single cross-border shot.

All the world powers assembled in St. Petersburg for the G-8 summit agreed that Hizballah started the war as Tehran’s proxy terrorist arm. They picked up on the attitude of the US president, who is telling Israel: Let it run; but keep civilian casualties down and don’t kick too much Lebanese infrastructure.

Even Arab governments, which automatically fought any Israeli military action in the past, have formed a solid Sunni Muslim front, led by Saudi Arabia, which is content to watch the Shite Hizballah take a beating and the burgeoning Shiite assertiveness in the region squashed.

The Olmert government is eagerly exploiting this leisurely international climate to smash as much of Hizballah’s terror machine as he can before Washington holds up a stop sign. Monday, July 17, a clutch of would-be ceasefire brokers descended on Beirut and Jerusalem. None came with Bush’s nod, so they will not get very far.

In Tehran, the hardline supreme ruler, Ayatollah Khamenei, picked up on the prospect of the only export arm of Iran’s Shiite revolution facing a hammering in a drawn-out conflict. Sunday, July 16, four days into the hostilities, he spoke his first words in support for Hizballah. Typically, he struck out at UN Security Council resolution 1559 when he declared: No one will ever disarm the Hizballah.

On the same day, when black clouds of rockets and warplanes filled the skies of Lebanon and northern Israel, both Tehran and Damascus made a point of supporting Syria – not Hizballah – against a possible Israel attack.

This was seen by DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources as a jab at Bush and Rice first, Israel second.

This poker game between Tehran and Washington is going back and forth over the heads of Israel and Lebanon. It is the cause of the muddled statements coming from Israeli leaders with regard to the targets of the Lebanon campaign. They range from recovering the kidnapped soldiers, to smashing the Hizballah, breaking up its terrorist infrastructure (what about its personnel?), moving their positions back from the Israeli border to one kilometer or more (depending on the estimated range of their rockets), and forcing the Lebanese government to displace the Hizballah in the south and disarming the Shiite terrorists as ordered by the Security Council.

Meanwhile, no more than 25% of Hizballah’s arsenal has been destroyed in Israel’s six-day air blitz and cannonade, and no one is quite sure what surprises are in store in the form of long-range, heavy rockets or missiles, what hardware is being smuggled from Iran via Syria past the Israeli blockade, and whether either or both will intervene at some point – and how.

The green light flashing in Washington may give Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert a latitude never before granted any Israeli premier. But it also tells the Islamic Republic that its rulers’ meddling in Iraq carries a high price tag. By pulverizing Iran’s surrogate, Israel is articulating America’s determination to smash Iran’s strength and positions of influence around the Middle East and the Persian Gulf.

This determination was sparked by an unnoticed incident in Iraq on July 4, 2006.

On that day, for the first time in the Iraq War, Nasrallah activated the three-year old sleeper terror and sabotage networks Iranian and Hizballah intelligence had established across Iraq shortly after the US invasion. He was obeying orders from Iranian supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

America’s Day of Independence 2006 was selected for this group to make its first low-key attacks against US forces in Baghdad and British units in Basra and break surface under the name of The Abu al Fadal al Abas Brigades. No one had heard of it because Tehran had kept this Iraqi arm of Hizballah dark as the ultimate weapon to spring on the Americans in Iraq at the appropriate moment.

President Bush saw that if he looked away and let Iran’s challenge burst into full-blown action without responding, America’s standing in Iraq and the rest of the region would be forfeit. He was further stirred into a response by Tehran’s developing appetite for quick gains. On July 12, believing they had got away with it in Iraq, Iran and Hizballah followed it up by opening a second front against Israel, America’s ally: the Shiite terrorists kidnapped two Israeli soldiers.

That was the last straw, but George W. Bush turned it around as a boomerang to hit Tehran. The Israeli Defense Forces, there to hand, were more than ready to punish Hizballah and had been raring to go after five years of forced restraint against the Lebanese group and Palestinian terrorists. For Bush, this course offered America the chance of a bold, efficient blow against a Shiite extremist terrorist group without a single American soldier having to step onto the battlefield.

Therefore, Israel’s Operation Just Reward, which started out as a rescue operation for its two abducted soldiers, then a campaign to push Hizballah back from its border, within six days opened Lebanon up as a major arena for the showdown building up between the United States and Tehran over a whole bagful of issues - not least Iran’s nuclear defiance. However, the unacknowledged object of Israel’s campaign is none of the highly rational goals outlined by officials. It is to satisfy Washington that Tehran has been given a bloody nose and is ready to pull back from its deepening political, military and intelligence interference in Iraq.

To this end, Bush decided to let the armed forces of the Jewish state strike out against a fundamentalist Islamic force. For Israel, this is a first, a chance awaited since the first Gulf War of 1991 to get its own back on the radical Arab assailants besetting the country. This chance was denied even when it came under attack from Saddam Hussein’s missiles in 1991. Israel was then consistently held back from ridding itself of the vicious Palestinian suicide terror launched in 2000, leaving the conflict unresolved to this day. Israel was kept on the sidelines of the US global war on terror, even though it targeted the Jewish state no less than the West.

Now, Ehud Olmert has picked up the gauntlet handed by Washington and decided to settle a long score with a Shiite terror group plaguing Israel from its northern border. He has plunged the country into a conflict that may well draw Iran and Syria in on the side of the enemy.

No one can tell how it will come out.

Israeli generals and officials asked about the objectives of this war are cagey; they can’t tell what will eventuate in the next 24 hours – and not only because of the uncertain fortunes of war. The tricky test is to correlate Israeli and American interests from one day to the next. Hizballah keeps on threatening “new surprises,” because its leaders are also playing their tactics by ear, dependent on the support and weapons Tehran judges it politic to release.

The conflict may only just be at the beginning. None of the main players show any eagerness to cut it short before they attain their purpose.

At 7/18/2006 09:46:00 AM, Blogger Nafdik said...

"You are not being defeatist when you ask this of us, what you are doing is selling us out for the false comfort of not being technically at war. You don't gain peace, you just are not fighting."

Joe M you talk of Ehsani call for realism as a sell out.

While it would be great if we can fight injustice everywhere it is found. For example the injustice on Kurds in Syria and Turkey, on the tribes of Darfur, on the Chritians in Southern Soudan, on the Shiites in Saudi Arabia, on all Syrian, Egyptians, Lybians, and others who are prisoners in their own country.

So as I said, while it would be great to fight all kinds of injustice, the people who REALLY ARE SELLING YOU OUT are those who keep you in refugee camps for generations in order to use you as a pawn in some hilariously misguided "card game", it is the people who promise you waves of soldiers who will liberate you in the name of Allah or Salah ElDein, and then let you live like beggars relying on the charity of a few European nations while any money they send you is allocated to send you back to the middle ages or to your maker.

Wake up!! do not live in the hope that nations who can not protect their own children from the gangs have enslaved them, will protect you from one of the most powerful armies in the world that is backed by the most powerful nation in the world.

At 7/18/2006 10:20:00 AM, Blogger t_desco said...

I was really wondering why President Asad would choose a program like "Democracy Now!" as his platform in this crisis...(although I like both the program and the motto very much). OK, it turns out that the interview is from June 14, more than a month old:

"Today, a Democracy Now U.S. broadcast exclusive: An interview with Syrian President Bashar Al-Asad. Last month, he gave a wide-ranging interview to independent journalist Reese Erlich in Damascus. Erlich is a freelance foreign correspondent who reports regularly for CBC, ABC Australia, Radio Deutche Welle and National Public Radio. He also co-author of the book "Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You"

In the interview, Asad discusses United States foreign policy, resistance to the occupation of Iraq, Syrian relations with Lebanon and much more.

Bashar Al-Asad, president of Syria interviewed by freelance foreign correspondent Reese Erlich on June 14, 2006.

We get response on Bashar Al-Asad's comments from British journalist Patrick Seale, a British journalist who has covered the Middle East for over 30 years. He is the author of the definitive biography of Bashar Al-Asad's father Hafez, titled "Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East""
Democracy Now!

At 7/18/2006 11:08:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...


As usual, very well said.

To be fair to Joe M, perhaps it is easier for a Syrian citizen to ask a Palestinian to essentially cut your loss and accept reality. If the roles were reversed, it is conceivable that I would feel differently.

Having said this, since the days of Nasser, Saddam, Arafat, Hafez and now Hamas, Nasrallah, Ahmadinajad or Bashar can we really point to anything positive that has come the way of the Palestinian people?

Generations of your own people and those in the wider Arab world have suffered from the strategy. Is it not perhaps time to think differently? Shouldn’t our efforts be directed at improving the lives of the millions of our citizens that we catch an ugly glimpse of on our TV screens?

As Nafdik said, do you still wan to be a pawn in this colossal card game?

At 7/18/2006 11:28:00 AM, Blogger Nafdik said...

"a pawn in this colossal card game?"

Ehsani you should watch for those mixed metphores :)

At 7/18/2006 11:43:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Too much right?

At 7/18/2006 12:38:00 PM, Blogger syrian said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7/18/2006 03:39:00 PM, Blogger Nafdik said...


I was referring to my own mixed metaphore of pawns and cards.

At 7/18/2006 06:35:00 PM, Blogger Anton Efendi said...

Pauvre, pauvre Tarek...

"Of all the Arab states, Syria was the most adamant about the need to go to war. Indeed, it was the first in and the last out of the war and, thus, bears much responsibility for the extent of the nakba or disaster that befell the Palestinians as a result."


"n short, President Shukri al-Quwwatli went to war not for pan-Arab notions of unity or brotherhood, but to prevent that very same spirit from undermining Syria’s independence. He hoped to block King Abdullah from carrying out his Greater Syria unity scheme."


"From the outset of the war, the primary concern of the Arab states was the inter-Arab conflict and the balance of power in the region. In this respect it is useful to view the 1948 war primarily as an inter-Arab struggle or an Arab civil war, and only secondarily as a war against Zionism and the Jews."

OOOOOOOOOPS! Guess who is the "racist" who wrote that "crock of shit"!

Yalla habibe, a la maison... yalla allez-vous-en... galope.

At 7/18/2006 08:14:00 PM, Blogger Joe M said...

I wrote a post before, but it was taken down for some reason. So I am going to try to post something similar again.

Nafdik, EHSANI,

Who do you think you are fooling? No one is stupid enough to believe that you care about the Kurds or the people of Darfur or anyone else if you are so quick to sell out even your brothers in Palestine. We know your agenda, and it is not to defend the weak and helpless. When you talk about "realism", you really are talking about selling out, about abandoning those who need help and being entirely selfish. You defend people for your own reasons, not because you care about them of believe in justice.

You two are like Mubarak, Abdullah of Jordan or the Saudis. You don't care about your people, you don't care about justice or freedom or honor, you only care about your own comfort, protecting yourselves and making money.

You keep talking about "realism" but it is a joke. To you, "realism" just means selling your soul to your American and Israel masters. You say Palestinians are pawns, but really it is people like you who are. It is pathetic that you even have the nerve to suggest that the Palestinians or Hizbullah are puppets when those like you are not even able to stand up for your own people when you know they are right.

My comfort is knowing that those like you are outnumbered by 1,000,000 to 1. the only reason you hate the Islamists is because you know that Islam is one of the only things that gives people more motivation to organize then the greed and selfishness that you live by.

Just look at what a tiny group like Hizbullah has been able to do. They have shaken Israel to the core. Imagine what would happen if our leaders were not all paid off and puppets of the USA? what would happen if we were able to use all our resources and potential together for our mutual good, rather then for individual selfish and cowardly goals. It is because people like you continue to divide us that we keep suffering. We would be better of if you just lived your comfortable lives and left us alone, but you don't even do that, you attack us because we want our freedom. get lost, really. leave us alone. I am tired of Ahmed Chalabis like you coming in and bringing death and destruction to our people, or leaving us to die when we are attacked. Just leave us alone if you hate us so much, we don't want you.

At 7/18/2006 09:53:00 PM, Blogger Peter said...

Of all the horrible ironies of Israel's assault on Lebanon, does anybody else see the irony of the use of Resolutions 1559? They were supposed to be implemented to restore stability to Lebanon. It was Hizbollah who argued Resolution 1559 was a tool to serve Israel.

Now, Israel (which is in breach of how many UN resolutions?), is using Lebanon's failure to implement Resolution 1559 to justify its murderous assault on Lebanon. A UN resolution that was designed to bring peace to Lebanon has now become a weapon in its destruction. And somewhere, as he prepares for a jihad on Jerusalem, Hassan Nasrallah is having a chuckle.

At 7/18/2006 10:15:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Joe M

I am writing this because I wanted to and not necessarily to respond to you personally.

I don’t want to speak for Nafdik. He can defend himself better than I would do myself.

If we are outnumbered 1,000,000 to 1, how do you explain the inability of the Arab and Islamic world to unite and fight together?

If we are outnumbered 1,000,000 to 1, why do you think you have not been able to “all work together” so that you can shake Israel to the core?

How can such an outnumbered group have the success to be able to destroy those grandiose dreams of yours?

When you use reason and logic, you will realize that empty slogans do not win wars. A false hope of unity that is based on lies and opportunism has given you and many others the impression that “if only we get together” we can achieve anything.

Growing up in Baathist Syria, we were all intoxicated with the dream of “Wahda”. Since then, I have become convinced that the so-called Arab world has much less in common between its different nations, sects, religions and people than we all want to believe.

When you dream of uniting the mosaic of people and countries from Morocco to Saudi Arabia under one common objective and end up failing to deliver any results in the process, don’t blame the outnumbered minority like Nafdik or EHSANI2. Perhaps you should blame yourself for assuming that you can unite such an ensemble of characters together under one banner in the first place.

It is people like you who have been used, as pawns by the higher up which are the real culprit for our failures as people. Some people on this forum have urged others to support the so-called heroes who are fighting in Lebanon. One of them even wished he could join the fight. When pressed why he doesn’t just take a flight and join those heroes of his, he replied that he “couldn’t”.

You say, “Just look at what a tiny group like Hezbollah has been able to do. They have shaken Israel to the core”

I say this is nonsense. Is Hezbollah any closer to liberating our land? What has Hezbollah done to the strategic balance of power? They have made it worse on both counts. They have succeeded in taking two soldiers and sending some missiles into Israel. Great. Now what? Israel has never been as united against an enemy as they are today. The Arab and Islamic world has been split. An Arab country’s economy has been destroyed. Nasrallah and his masters have miscalculated as usual. Their poor followers will now pay the price also as usual.

Economic development, academic excellence, advanced education, improving standards of living, civil society, protection of civil rights, hope for the future, arts, sciences and leaders that care about their populace are all prerequisites that we need to possess before we embark on foolish endeavors and unrealistic dreams.

Our leaders have convinced us that we cannot expect to fulfill the above dreams because we are in a state of war.

Such a suggestion must be rejected.

Meeting the above demands and asking for our land back are not mutually exclusive events. For our nations to be respected as foes, we must put our house in order first before we go out and pretend that we can fight what is arguably a formidable adversary.

At 7/18/2006 10:32:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

There should be no stop to war untill Israel abide by all UN resolutions ,people who are seeking ceasfire are working for Israel ,Israel is on the run about two million Israeli left their homes or they are in bunkers the economy is at a stand still and will colaps if the war continue for another few months ,Israel will not be able to tolerate low intesity war what the Arabs need is perseverence and israel will lose and give in ,the Arab countries of Saudi Egypt and Jordon remind of the last Abbaside Khalefa who was hoping that Jankeese Khan will leave Bagdad for him only to see how Jankese Khan raped his daughters before killing them and him,that is what these Arab countries will face when Israel and if it wins the war with Hizballa and Syria.

At 7/18/2006 10:37:00 PM, Blogger Joe M said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7/18/2006 11:10:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Nationalist Party said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7/19/2006 12:08:00 AM, Blogger Syrian Nationalist Party said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7/19/2006 12:50:00 AM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

Isreal will not win, we will not loose,the isreali soldiers that are captured by HA, will not be released till Isreal releases ALL lebanese prisoners, south Lebanon,is not like southern Iraq, it is not flat,and mostly desert, it is high mountains,and deep valleys,water is everywhere,fruits are plenty.
JoeM ,I am proud of you.
Ehsani2 yo are good economist,but you must understand our feeling,and the history.

At 7/19/2006 02:30:00 AM, Blogger EngineeringChange said...


Of course the irony of Israel paying attention to 1 UN resolution rather than the countless UN resolutions condemning Israel is breathtaking. Where is our Syrian Golan Heights now that you are paying attention to UN resolutions??

So lets take a close look at UN resolution 242 and UN resolution 497

At 7/19/2006 02:42:00 AM, Blogger EngineeringChange said...

And to really make my point here are all UN resolutions condemning Israel 1955-1992 yes this post is really long because Israel really has committed so many violations of international law....hmmm its almost like a......BROKEN CD!!! Interesting, I wonder if maybe the CD isn't broken after all....

UN Resolutions Against Israel, 1955-1992

1. Resolution 106: "... 'condemns' Israel for Gaza raid"
2. Resolution 111: "...'condemns' Israel for raid on Syria that killed fifty-six people"
3. Resolution 127: "...'recommends' Israel suspend its 'no-man's zone' in Jerusalem"
4. Resolution 162: "...'urges' Israel to comply with UN decisions"
5. Resolution 171: "...determines flagrant violations' by Israel in its attack on Syria"
6. Resolution 228:"...'censures' Israel for its attack on Samu in the West Bank, then
under Jordanian control"
7. Resolution 237: "...'urges' Israel to allow return of new 1967 Palestinian refugees"
8. Resolution 248: "...'condemns' Israel for its massive attack on Karameh in Jordan" 9.Resolution 250: "... 'calls' on Israel to refrain from holding military parade in Jerusalem"
10. Resolution 251: "... 'deeply deplores' Israeli military parade in Jerusalem in defiance of Resolution 250"
11.Resolution 252: "...'declares invalid' Israel's acts to unify Jerusalem as Jewish capital" 12. Resolution 256: "... 'condemns' Israeli raids on Jordan as 'flagrant violation""
13. Resolution 259: "...'deplores' Israel's refusal to accept UN mission to probe occupation"
14. Resolution 262: "...'condemns' Israel for attack on Beirut airport"
15.Resolution 265: "... 'condemns' Israel for air attacks for Salt in Jordan"
16. Resolution 267: "...'censures' Israel for administrative acts to change the status of Jerusalem"
17. Resolution 270: "...'condemns' Israel for air attacks on villages in southern Lebanon"
18. Resolution 271: "...'condemns' Israel's failure to obey UN resolutions on Jerusalem"
19. Resolution 279: "...'demands' withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon"
20. Resolution 280: "....'condemns' Israeli's attacks against Lebanon"
21. Resolution 285: "...'demands' immediate Israeli withdrawal form Lebanon"
22. Resolution 298: "...'deplores' Israel's changing of the status of Jerusalem"
23. Resolution 313: "...'demands' that Israel stop attacks against Lebanon"
24. Resolution 316: "...'condemns' Israel for repeated attacks on Lebanon"
25. Resolution 317: "...'deplores' Israel's refusal to release Arabs abducted in Lebanon"
26. Resolution 332: "...'condemns' Israel's repeated attacks against Lebanon"
27. Resolution 337: "...'condemns' Israel for violating Lebanon's sovereignty"
28. Resolution 347: "...'condemns' Israeli attacks on Lebanon"
29. Resolution 425: "...'calls' on Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon"
30. Resolution 427: "...'calls' on Israel to complete its withdrawal from
31. Resolution 444: "...'deplores' Israel's lack of cooperation with UN peacekeeping forces"
32. Resolution 446: "...'determines' that Israeli settlements are a 'serious obstruction' to peace and calls on Israel to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention"
33. Resolution 450: "...'calls' on Israel to stop attacking Lebanon"
34. Resolution 452: "...'calls' on Israel to cease building settlements in occupied
35. Resolution 465: "...'deplores' Israel's settlements and asks all member states not to assist Israel's settlements program"
36. Resolution 467: "...'strongly deplores' Israel's military intervention in Lebanon"
37. Resolution 468: "...'calls' on Israel to rescind illegal expulsions of two Palestinian mayors and a judge and to facilitate their return"
38. Resolution 469: "...'strongly deplores' Israel's failure to observe the council's order not to deport Palestinians"
39. Resolution 471: "... 'expresses deep concern' at Israel's failure to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention"
40. Resolution 476: "... 'reiterates' that Israel's claims to Jerusalem are 'null and void'"
41. Resolution 478: "...'censures (Israel) in the strongest terms' for its claim to
Jerusalem in its 'Basic Law'"
42. Resolution 484: "...'declares it imperative' that Israel re-admit two deported Palestinian mayors"
43. Resolution 487: "...'strongly condemns' Israel for its attack on Iraq's nuclear facility"
44. Resolution 497: "...'decides' that Israel's annexation of Syria's Golan Heights is 'null and void' and demands that Israel rescind its decision forthwith"
45. Resolution 498: "...'calls' on Israel to withdraw from Lebanon"
46. Resolution 501: "...'calls' on Israel to stop attacks against Lebanon and withdraw its troops"
47. Resolution 509: "...'demands' that Israel withdraw its forces forthwith and unconditionally from Lebanon"
48. Resolution 515: "...'demands' that Israel lift its siege of Beirut and allow food supplies to be brought in"
49. Resolution 517: "...'censures' Israel for failing to obey UN resolutions and demands that Israel withdraw its forces from Lebanon"
50. Resolution 518: "...'demands' that Israel cooperate fully with UN forces in Lebanon"
51. Resolution 520: "...'condemns' Israel's attack into West Beirut"
52. Resolution 573: "...'condemns' Israel 'vigorously' for bombing Tunisia in attack on PLO headquarters
53. Resolution 587: "...'takes note' of previous calls on Israel to withdraw its forces from
Lebanon and urges all parties to withdraw"
54. Resolution 592: "...'strongly deplores' the killing of Palestinian students at Bir Zeit
University by Israeli troops"
55. Resolution 605: "...'strongly deplores' Israel's policies and practices denying the human rights of Palestinians
56. Resolution 607: "...'calls' on Israel not to deport Palestinians and strongly requests it to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention
57. Resolution 608: "...'deeply regrets' that Israel has defied the United Nations and deported Palestinian civilians"
58. Resolution 636: "...'deeply regrets' Israeli deportation of Palestinian
59. Resolution 641: "...'deplores' Israel's continuing deportation of Palestinians
60. Resolution 672: "...'condemns' Israel for violence against Palestinians at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount
61. Resolution 673: "...'deplores' Israel's refusal to cooperate with the United Nations
62. Resolution 681: "...'deplores' Israel's resumption of the deportation of Palestinians
63. Resolution 694: "...'deplores' Israel's deportation of Palestinians and calls on it to
ensure their safe and immediate return
64. Resolution 726: "...'strongly condemns' Israel's deportation of Palestinians
65. Resolution 799: "...'strongly condemns' Israel's deportation of 413 Palestinians and
calls for their immediate return.

The following are the resolutions vetoed by the United States during the
period of September, 1972, to May, 1990 to protect Israel from council

1. ....condemned Israel's attack against Southern against southern Lebanon and Syria..."
2. ....affirmed the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, statehood and equal protections..."
3. ...condemned Israel's air strikes and attacks in southern Lebanon and its murder of innocent civilians..."
4. ....called for self-determination of Palestinian people..."
5. ....deplored Israel's altering of the status of Jerusalem, which is recognized as an international city by most world nations and the United Nations..."
6. ....affirmed the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people..."
7. ....endorsed self-determination for the Palestinian people..."
8. ....demanded Israel's withdrawal from the Golan Heights..."
9. ....condemned Israel's mistreatment of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip and its refusal to abide by the Geneva convention protocols of civilized nations..."
10. ....condemned an Israeli soldier who shot eleven Moslem worshippers at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount near Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem..."
11. ....urged sanctions against Israel if it did not withdraw from its invasion of Lebanon..."
12. ....urged sanctions against Israel if it did not withdraw from its invasion of Beirut..." 14. ....urged cutoff of economic aid to Israel if it refused to withdraw from its occupation of Lebanon..."
15. ....condemned continued Israeli settlements in occupied territories in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, denouncing them as an obstacle to peace..."
16. ....deplores Israel's brutal massacre of Arabs in Lebanon and urges its withdrawal..."
17. ....condemned Israeli brutality in southern Lebanon and denounced the Israeli 'Iron Fist' policy of repression...."
18. ....denounced Israel's violation of human rights in the occupied territories..."
19. ....deplored Israel's violence in southern Lebanon..."
20. ....deplored Israel's activities in occupied Arab East Jerusalem that threatened the
sanctity of Muslim holy sites..."
21. ....condemned Israel's hijacking of a Libyan passenger airplane..."
22. ....deplored Israel's attacks against Lebanon and its measures and practices against the civilian population of Lebanon..."
23. ....called on Israel to abandon its policies against the Palestinian intifada that violated the rights of occupied Palestinians, to abide by the Fourth Geneva Conventions, and to formalize a leading role for the United Nations in future peace negotiations..."
24. ....urged Israel to accept back deported Palestinians, condemned Israel's shooting of civilians, called on Israel to uphold the Fourth Geneva Convention, and called for a peace
settlement under UN auspices..."
25. ....condemned Israel's... incursion into Lebanon..."
26. ....deplored Israel's... commando raids on Lebanon..."
27. ....deplored Israel's repression of the Palestinian intifada and called on Israel to respect the human rights of the Palestinians..."
28. ....deplored Israel's violation of the human rights of the Palestinians..."
29. ....demanded that Israel return property confiscated from Palestinians during a tax protest and allow a fact-finding mission to observe Israel's crackdown on the Palestinian
30. ...called for a fact-finding mission on abuses against Palestinians in Israeli-occupied lands..."

Source: Paul Findley, Deliberate Deceptions: Facing the Facts About the

At 7/19/2006 04:18:00 AM, Blogger Karfun said...

Do you mean this justifies syrians to eleminate isreal? or lebanon?
I didnt get it.
What do you think why we lost Golan?

At 7/19/2006 05:02:00 AM, Blogger Philip I said...

From Philip I []

I quote Norman:
"Israel will not be able to tolerate low intesity war what the Arabs need is perseverence and israel will lose and give in"

Norman, this rather overlooks the fact that what we are witnessing is not a low intesity clash between Israel and Huzbullah but a large scale battle between the US, Israel, Europe and many Sunni Arab governments, on one hand, and Iran on the other.

In this scheme, Syria is useful, because supplying Hizbullah with a few arms gives the Israelis and American further pretext to prolong and intensify the attack on Hizbullah (the garbage in Bush's own words!).

Blame the generations of Arab rules in the Levant and Iraq who ignored and oppressed the Shias. We are all paying the price for this now. Despotism always breeds human "garbage".

At 7/19/2006 08:57:00 AM, Blogger Syrian Nationalist Party said...

It is useless to have a cease fire now. If you evaluate the Jews previous wars and conflicts you will discover that the top of the bell curve is right on the 6 days mark. After all, we have nothing to loose and all others have everything to loose. Syria, Lebanon, Iraq have nothing to loose, they have been utterly economically, socially and humanely destroyed over and over again. Even Iran took their share of the evil West tyranny for nearly a decade. Loosing nearly half a million Iranians in an unjust war imposed on them by the West puppet regime Saddam the Beast.

Jews are cowards, weak, their cowardly campaign in Lebanon is evidence of that. The brainless idiots takes their cue from one of the most evil monsters ever born on this planet, who else Dr. Mengele Rumsfeld and evil Jewish cronies, Yep, the plotters of Iraq shock and awe Democracy camp pain that the illiterate Texan peasant and his colored ranch hand keeps on peddling even to this day, believe it or not, believe it or not. Shocking, that these ignorant think we are that stupid that we will believe them.

Coward Jews will not dare to invade Syria. And should be fooled by Geek god Yahweh ( or is it god of the geeks) to go and take the Cedar land, aggggaiiin, ( I am praying that they will do just that) they will find out how hardware in Hizbullah arsenal has dramatically improved from the 80’s stock piles. Lets talk straight, there is nothing Hizbullah dream about than a land invasion by these Jews. Doubtful, they will do that, they tried to get Omaha boys to do the walking on foot as mules for them in the Middle East. They like to drop bombs from way, way high.

A continual conflict in Lebanon, will destroy the Jews economy, demoralize them, dehumanize them ( as if they are humane in the first place) and most importantly, it will put great pressure on the Bastard Arabs that made peace with the enemy and could act as the catalyst to mobilize the streets in these countries. In fact the street, the poor, the unemployed, the disfranchised should now be organized in these countries and get ready. The Moslem Brotherhood will most likely be the one in charge of this mobilization. Freedom from Tyranny of evil ruler in the Gulf and North Africa could very well come not on the hand of the deceivers but on the hand of a great leader Mahmoud Ahmadi Nizhad and the premier Islamic ruler today his eminence Ayatollah Khemenei.

Now that the coward Jews and their western backers had proven unable or unwilling to challenge Iran, the conflict that can trigger the Islamic World Liberation from the Western Crusaders stooges could very well be this one in the land of the Cedar.

At 7/19/2006 09:15:00 AM, Blogger blowback said...

If this article is correct then Hezbollah will survive and so has 'won'. The only way Israel could destroy Hezbollah's infrastructure would be to invade Southern Lebanon and use the army to do it and that would take more than a week. Airpower alone cannot destroy Hezbollah. For instance, in the former Yugoslavia, NATO claimed (i believe) to have destroyed 104 Serbian tanks. At the end of the hostilities, it turned out that NATO hadn't destroyed a single tank but an awful lot of Yugos with metal pipes stuck on them. The approach that eventually defeated the Serbs was to attack Serbian infrastructure itself. Fortunately for Hezbollah, they are not the Lebanese government.

Will Hezbollah disarm because the international community demands it? No, because Hezbollah know that the international community will neither enforce its demands nor protect the Shi'ites afterwards.

Will Hezbollah return the two prisoners because the international community demands it? No, because Hezbollah knows that the international community will neither enforce its demands nor force Israel to release its Lebanese prisoners.

For all the talk about the Israelis destroying Lebanese infrastructure to prevent Syriia nd Iran re-arming Hezbollah I would refer the people that believe this to either the Ho Chi Minh trail which not even the most powerful military in the world could disrupt for more than a few days or, probably more correctly, to the continuous supply of weapons from Pakistan to the Muhajadin in Afghanistan which at the time the second most powerful military in the world could not disrupt.

If the Israeli government had any scruples and commonsense it would stop this pointless bombing now.

At 7/19/2006 09:54:00 AM, Blogger Nafdik said...

Joe M,

"You said:
You two are like Mubarak, ...... You don't care ..., you don't care ..... honor, you only care .... making money.

You keep ..... ... .... selling your soul to your American and Israel masters. You say ...., .... people like you who are. It is pathetic that you .... those like you are not even able to stand up ...."

And so on and on.

It is amusing how any argument that goes beyond the accepted theology is always converted to personal attacks.

At 7/19/2006 09:58:00 AM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

the Arab summit will be complete failure, since non of the arab leaders has anyting to do with initiating this conflict, they will have no influence to end it, arab leaders are embarassed by this conflict, and they see that their people are against them, and supporting HA.
there are no holy places for She-ah in Lebanon, they have nothing to fear about.

At 7/19/2006 11:49:00 AM, Blogger Joe M said...

Dr. Landis,
Why are my posts getting removed? Are you doing it? on what basis are they being removed? If not you, who is removing them? Is ESHANI? it is pretty self-serving if you allow him to erase posts that are critical of him. Thus far two of my posts have been removed and i don't see the reason for it.

Please answer.
thank you,

At 7/19/2006 01:04:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Nationalist Party said...

Intelligence reports are surfacing that Kaddafi, Iraq’s Jewish puppet government, Mubarak and the Saudis ruling Bedouin clan, (desecrater of the haramaine), are allowing direct deliveries of Jet Fuel shipments from their refineries to Israel. Confidential sources at Aramco reporting that the massive deliveries where approved by the ruling Saudi Bedouin Abdullah to Jordan, eyewitness reports massive caravans of petrol transporters are making the speedy round trip from the Jordanian port in the Gulf of Aqaba inland to the Israeli side for the past 3 days and night, non stop.

Further information obtained from reliable sources that the delivery of Jet Fuel from the Egyptian refineries are making direct delivery to Israel. There are scant reports that shipment of Iraqi crude are currently on the way from the Turkish port to Tel Aviv. Libya’s Western Crusaders installed evil dictator Kaddafi has agreed to deliver substantial crude to be refined into jet fuel at an Israeli refinery in Haifa (Palestine). An American oil conglomerate was contracted for the massive deliveries to Israel.

There are no confirmed reports to determine if the Iraqi have knowledge of the destination of the pumped oil. However, the Saudi and Libyan were in complete knowledge and have demanded a cover. Egyptian officials, confronted with the news, claimed that the deliveries are routine and it is under previously signed Agreements with Israel. While such an Agreement is well known, it does not cover the delivery of refined Jet fuel, and at such grade that are used by fighter jets

It is now confirmed that Saudi, Egyptian and Libyan are knowingly delivering the fuel used by the Jewish enemy fighter jets that are killing thousands of Moslem men, women and helpless children in Lebanon.

At 7/19/2006 01:08:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Joe M / JAM

First, I have no authority to delete anything.

Second, who gave the impression that I am looking for posts that are not critical of me. To the contrary, I welcome them.

As Nafdik said, anyone that writes beyond the “accepted theology” ought to expect to be criticized.

At 7/19/2006 01:13:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

Joe M,

I don't know who removed it, but I also noticed that your last post was removed. Could it be that there was some form of personal insult right at the beginning? If you repost it without that line there shouldn't be any problem, IMHO.

At 7/19/2006 01:22:00 PM, Blogger Nafdik said...

You can email personal insults directly to

At 7/19/2006 01:32:00 PM, Blogger The Rise of The Beast Amen / Marduk said...

Or better yet mail all your insults to these:


At 7/19/2006 03:21:00 PM, Blogger Philip I said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7/19/2006 03:32:00 PM, Blogger Philip I said...

Azmi Bishara, an unsung Arab-Israeli hero []

At 7/19/2006 05:54:00 PM, Blogger Joe M said...

I absolutely admit to being harsh in my last couple posts, but I was not simply spouting insults. I was trying to make larger points as well.

If there is a uniform rule that was applied, and my posts crossed the line, then i can understand.

I was not accusing you (ehsani) of being the one that was removed my posts, but i do know that you have some administrative ability on this blog (because you are able to post your own topics as main subjects). I don't know what administrative ability you have, but since i was attacking you, it did not seem unrealistic to imagine that you erased my posts.

If there is a code or conduct or something, I would think it important to make it know, rather then simply erase posts without giving any explaination as to why.


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