Battlepanda: Lebanon's burning


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Lebanon's burning

Greg Djerejian: I think Israel is making a strategic mistake by over-reacting to Hezbollah's provocations (the IDF should have limited the lion's share of its retribution in the south of the country, near the border, or only very specific Hezbollah-related targets elsewhere). If Bush and Rice don't exert pressure to very significantly cool down the offensive by early next week important American interests will increasingly become jeopardized, as ironically increased chaos in Lebanon will likely strengthen Iran and Syria's position there, rather than weaken it. Middle East peace has always been a race between moderates trying to cobble together democratic space and politics (like Hariri's son has been trying since the, so short-lived it appears, Cedar Revolution), and extremists who thrive on chaos (such as Nasrallah and Co). Bombing Lebanon back 20 years serves to assist the latter, not former.

Laura Rozen interviews Mark Perry: Hezbollah and Israel stand along this border every day observing each other through binoculars and waiting for an opportunity to kill each other. They are at war. They have been for 25 years, no one ever declared a cease-fire between them. … They stand on the border every day and just wait for an opportunity. And on Tuesday morning there were two Humvees full of Israeli soldiers, not under observation from the Israeli side, not under covering fire, sitting out there all alone. The Hezbollah militia commander just couldn’t believe it -- so he went and got them.

The Israeli captain in charge of that unit knew he had really screwed up, so he sent an armored personnel carrier to go get them in hot pursuit, and Hezbollah led them right through a minefield.

Now if you’re sitting in Tehran or Damascus or Beirut, and you are part of the terrorist Politburo so to speak, you have a choice. With your head sunk in your hands, thinking "Oh my God," you can either give [the kidnapped soldiers] back and say "Oops, sorry, wrong time" or you can say, "Hey, this is war."

It is absolutely ridiculous to believe that the Hezbollah commander on the ground said Tuesday morning, "Go get two Israeli soldiers, would you please?”

Kampfeblog: My girlfriend, like many visitors in Lebanon, is a hostage of the Israeli army. She is confined to her aunt’s house, and she cannot come home to the U.S., though she desperately wants to do so because her classes begin soon at her university. She is frightened, because she has never been in such a situation before. She is angry, because her vacation is ruined and because her newborn cousin is living through war conditions. She is tired, because she has not slept, for fear of a mass evacuation or a bombing. She has considered leaving through Damascus, but the roads have been cut off and destroyed “in order to protect the Israeli hostages.” My girlfriend, like many visitors in Lebanon, is a hostage of the Israeli army.