Sunday, July 30, 2006

Time to Get Out?

A long piece from Fjordman at the Brussels Journal makes some very good points about whether it is time to say farewell to the UN, and he doesn't even talk about them saying that our Constitution is illegal according to International law. It is well worth reading in its entirety. More about the UN and their attack on our Constitution later. Read this.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Civilian Casualties...Who's Responsible?

Alan Dershowitz, however you might disagree with him on some issues, speaks with clarity on Israel. He has a column in the Wall Street Journal on how warfare today has changed the definition of who is a civilian and what a civilian casualty means.

This is all well and good for democratic nations that deliberately locate their military bases away from civilian population centers. Israel has its air force, nuclear facilities and large army bases in locations as remote as anything can be in that country. It is possible for an enemy to attack Israeli military targets without inflicting "collateral damage" on its civilian population. Hezbollah and Hamas, by contrast, deliberately operate military wings out of densely populated areas. They launch antipersonnel missiles with ball-bearing shrapnel, designed by Syria and Iran to maximize civilian casualties, and then hide from retaliation by living among civilians. If Israel decides not to go after them for fear of harming civilians, the terrorists win by continuing to have free rein in attacking civilians with rockets. If Israel does attack, and causes civilian casualties, the terrorists win a propaganda victory: The international community pounces on Israel for its "disproportionate" response. This chorus of condemnation actually encourages the terrorists to operate from civilian areas.

While Israel does everything reasonable to minimize civilian casualties -- not always with success -- Hezbollah and Hamas want to maximize civilian casualties on both sides. Islamic terrorists, a diplomat commented years ago, "have mastered the harsh arithmetic of pain. . . . Palestinian casualties play in their favor and Israeli casualties play in their favor." These are groups that send children to die as suicide bombers, sometimes without the child knowing that he is being sacrificed. Two years ago, an 11-year-old was paid to take a parcel through Israeli security. Unbeknownst to him, it contained a bomb that was to be detonated remotely. (Fortunately the plot was foiled.)

This misuse of civilians as shields and swords requires a reassessment of the laws of war. The distinction between combatants and civilians -- easy when combatants were uniformed members of armies that fought on battlefields distant from civilian centers -- is more difficult in the present context. Now, there is a continuum of "civilianality": Near the most civilian end of this continuum are the pure innocents -- babies, hostages and others completely uninvolved; at the more combatant end are civilians who willingly harbor terrorists, provide material resources and serve as human shields; in the middle are those who support the terrorists politically, or spiritually.

The laws of war and the rules of morality must adapt to these realities. An analogy to domestic criminal law is instructive: A bank robber who takes a teller hostage and fires at police from behind his human shield is guilty of murder if they, in an effort to stop the robber from shooting, accidentally kill the hostage. The same should be true of terrorists who use civilians as shields from behind whom they fire their rockets. The terrorists must be held legally and morally responsible for the deaths of the civilians, even if the direct physical cause was an Israeli rocket aimed at those targeting Israeli citizens.
Dershowitz makes some very good points and will no doubt be vilified for confronting the reality of the terrorist war. A reminder, Iran has declared war on America (again) and plans on releasing thousands of suicide bombers to target the US and the west. The FBI has its hands full tracking Hezbollah cells in the US and for what it is worth, 7000 of the Americans now in Lebanon are from the Dearborn Michigan area and known Hezbollah supporters.

As the US rushes to evacuate American citizens from Lebanon, Debbie Schlussel says that many, if not most Americans in Lebanon Are Hezbollah Supporters.

One thing is lost in all the press coverage of the whining Americans who went to Lebanon of their own accord and now want us to pick up the tab to get them out.


Most of them are Shi’ite Muslims, many of whom hold dual U.S. and Lebanese citizenship. Many are anchor babies born here to Muslims in the U.S. illegally. Some are illegal aliens who became citizens through rubber-stamping Citizenship and Immigration Services (and its INS predecessor) coupled with political pressure by spineless politicians.

Of the 25,000 American citizens and green-card holders in Lebanon, at least 7,000 are from Dearborn, Michigan, the heart of Islamic America, and especially Shia Islam America. These 7,000 are mostly Shi’ite Muslims who openly and strongly support Hezbollah. Ditto for many of the rest of the 25,000 that are there.

Many of the 7,000 plus Detroiters in Lebanon are active in Dearborn’s Bint Jbeil cultural center (the Lebanese American Heritage Club also features mostly Hezbollah fans). Bint Jbeil is a Hezbollah-dominated city in the South of Lebanon, a frequent destination of Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, who is very at home there. Bint Jbeil is a frequent source of shellings on Northern Israel.

Bint Jbeil natives now living in our country so strongly support Hezbollah that they got Republican Congressman Joe Knollenberg (and his then top staffer, Paul Welday) and then-U.S. Senator Spencer Abraham to give Hezbollah forces in Southern Lebanon about $86 million of our tax money, no strings.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Strange Bedfellows

In what I find to be a first, several Arab countries are condemning Hezbollah and supporting Israels effort to wipe them out. This from the NYT by Hassan Fattah:

BEIRUT, Lebanon, July 16 — With the battle between Israel and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah raging, key Arab governments have taken the rare step of blaming Hezbollah, underscoring in part their growing fear of influence by the group’s main sponsor, Iran.

Saudi Arabia, with Jordan, Egypt and several Persian Gulf states, chastised Hezbollah for “unexpected, inappropriate and irresponsible acts” at an emergency Arab League summit meeting in Cairo on Saturday.

The Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, said of Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel, “These acts will pull the whole region back to years ago, and we cannot simply accept them.” Prince Faisal spoke at the closed-door meeting but his words were reported to journalists by other delegates.

The meeting ended with participants asserting that the Middle East peace process had failed and requesting help from the United Nations Security Council.

It is nearly unheard of for Arab officials to chastise an Arab group engaged in conflict with Israel, especially as images of destruction by Israeli warplanes are beamed into Arab living rooms. Normally under such circumstances, Arabs are not blamed, and condemnations of Israel are routine...


“There is a school of thought, led by Saudi Arabia, that believes that Hezbollah is a source of trouble, a protégé of Iran, but also a political instrument in the hands of Iran,” said Adnan Abu Odeh, a Jordanian sociologist. ‘This school says we should not play into the hands of Iran, which has its own agenda, by sympathizing or supporting Hezbollah fighting against the Israelis.”

Hanna Seniora, a Palestinian analyst with the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, lauded the Arab opposition to Hezbollah on Sunday.

“For the first time ever, open criticism was heard from countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan against the unilateral actions carried out by radical organizations, especially Hezbollah of Lebanon,” wrote Mr. Seniora, who favors coexistence with Israel and opposes radical Islam. “It became clear and beyond doubt that the most important Arab countries did not allow their emotions to rule their judgment.”

The willingness of the leading governments to openly defy Arab public opinion, which has raged against Israel’s actions in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, underscores the readjustment of risks Arab governments say they face.

I would not want to go so far as to call this a watershed moment or a sea change or any of the other well worn cliche's but it is an interesting development.

Additional: Another first, two good articles from the NYT posted here in one day. This is another strange but overdue trip to reality in the Middle East, this time from Iraq. Apparently the Sunni factions have come to the conclusion that they need the American forces in Iraq for their very survival.

As sectarian violence soars, many Sunni Arab political and religious leaders once staunchly opposed to the American presence here are now saying they need American troops to protect them from the rampages of Shiite militias and Shiite-run government forces.

The pleas from the Sunni Arab leaders have been growing in intensity since an eruption of sectarian bloodletting in February, but they have reached a new pitch in recent days as Shiite militiamen have brazenly shot dead groups of Sunni civilians in broad daylight in Baghdad and other mixed areas of central Iraq.

The Sunnis also view the Americans as a “bulwark against Iranian actions here,” a senior American diplomat said. Sunni politicians have made their viewpoints known to the Americans through informal discussions in recent weeks.

The Sunni Arab leaders say they have no newfound love for the Americans. Many say they still sympathize with the insurgency and despise the Bush administration and the fact that the invasion has helped strengthen the power of neighboring Iran, which backs the ruling Shiite parties.

Captain Ed has more.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Interesting developments in Lebanon

From Beirut to the Beltway just reported this little bit of news.


In an emotional address to the Lebanese people, PM Fouad Siniora declared Lebanon a disaster area, and called for 3 things:

1- An immediate cease fire brokered by the UN

2- The Lebanese state to extend its control over all lebanese territories with UN help. He vowed that Lebanese will additionally abide by the 1949 armstice agreement with Israel.

3- Called on Lebanon's friends to send humanitarian aid and economic assistance to Lebanon

Siniora condemned the unjustified Israeli aggression on Lebanon and held Israel responsible for the humanitarian catastrophy. Most importantly, he said the "Lebanese state will not rise if it is the last to know." He reiterated that he did not condone Hizbullah's operation (he did not call Hizbullah resistance). He said "only the state has the right to make war decisions."

With this, Lebanon's prime minister has officially pulled the plug on Hizbullah. Yet his government is weak, which is why he asked for UN help.
That's all well and good Fouad except for a few details. Who is going to kick Hezbollah out of the South? It sure won't be the Lebanese Army and it damned well won't be the UN. The UN can't even keep the peace on any of their touted "peace-keeping missions" and they sure as hell won't go into anyplace where they may be in harms way. Rhetoricly pulling the plug on Hezbollah and actually doing it is two entirely different things. The last time Israel left the South of Lebanon in 2000, Syria and Hezbollah took over the entire country. They are still there. When Israel left, attacks on them increased. When they left Gaza, attacks increased. They haven't left the West Bank yet and there are no rocket attacks. Is there a lesson here?

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have donated a total of US$70 million to Lebanon on Sunday.

As somebody is fond of saying...developing.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Syria Next?

The excelent Egyptian blog Big Pharaoh seems to think so and seems to think it is about time. The pan-Arab daily newspaper Al Hayat reported that Israel informed Syria's Assad that a regional war would erupt in 72 hours if his country didn't prevent Hezbollah attacks.

According to the report, a Pentagon source said that if Syria does not try to influence Hezbollah, Israel could bomb essential installations in Syria. The source neither confirmed nor denied rumors that Israel had given Damascus 72 hours to comply with international demands.

According to analysts and senior officials in Syria, Damascus is aware of the threat of an Israeli strike. In recent days, senior officials warned Israel against attacking. Lawmaker Muhammad Habash stated that if Damascus is attacked, another front would open on the Golan Heights. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has warned Israel against attacking Syria.

He writes: Just like its ally Iran, Syria doesn't like fighting its own wars, it prefers proxy wars, surrogates fighting on its behalf. Yet it wets its pants when the barrel is pointed at it. This is what the Turks understood.

Syria encourages Hezbollah to "liberate" the Shabaa Farms, it supports Hamas in Palestine, and it allowed "Mujahideen" into Iraq, yet it never allows a fly to go fight the Israelis in the Golan Heights which Israel occupied in 1967. Syria doesn't want the barrel to point at it. Read it all.

ADDITIONAL: Jordan and Egypt both pointing fingers of blame at Hezbollah.

Last but not least, the Lebanese Blogger Forum has some definitions to share. Just a taste to whet the appetite.

When you attacked without being provoked, you are a resistance movement. When you sacrifice a country for your agenda, you are righteous.

Tribal Mentality:
So, you cross into a sovereign nation, kill some of their soldiers and kidnap others. Of course you're justified, they're soldiers. That's what they're there for.

What, the nation wants retribution? Murderers! Imperialists! Zionists! Leave me alone, I don't want to play anymore. Wait, how about I trade you my soldiers for yours? That's fair? No? Maaaaaaaa! The big bad zionist doesn't want to let me play... Maaaaaa!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The balloon goes up in the Mid East.

As I have believed for some time, the start of our next "big one" will start in the mid-East and Iran will be the kingpin with Syria playing the part of the Iranian toady. I also believe that the actions of Hamas and Hezbollah were done at the request and orders of Iran. The escalation continues with is from Haaretz

By Amos Harel and Jack Khoury, Haaretz Correspondents

Israel has concrete evidence that Hezbollah plans to transfer the two Israel Defense Forces soldiers abducted Wednesday to Iran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said Thursday.

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

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

I will be following this in the hours and days to come.