Monday, July 17, 2006

Hounding the Hell Out of Hizbullah and Hamas

Israel has sent ground forces into Lebanon to deal with Hizbullah bases in South Lebanon. Israel had been telegraphing such a move for some time now.

Haifa was hit once again, and a 3-story building was badly damaged. At least six were wounded in that attack. Katuyshas continue to rain down all across Northern Israel, including Safed and Tiberias. Among those areas and places damaged was a memorial to Babi Yar (history of Babi Yar here).

Meanwhile, a lone terrorist was caught in Jerusalem with a five-kilo bomb, with the intent to blow it up in a crowded area of the city:
A suicide bombing in downtown Jerusalem was thwarted Monday, after a 25-year-old Palestinian was caught carrying a bomb in a bag on a main city thoroughfare, police said.

The male suspect, a West Bank resident, was stopped by police on the city's Jaffa Road near the Jaffa Gate for a routine security check during the late-morning incident.

The man was arrested on the scene, after the estimated five kilograms of explosives were found in his bag.

During his initial police interrogation, the suspect confessed that he was carrying a bomb and said that he came to the area to carry out a terror attack, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said.

Ace finds the Democrats position on the current conflict between Israel and the terrorists quite enlightening. "Just say No" has a new meaning.

In an open-mike night moment, President Bush was caught speaking by an open mike during the G-8 conference to Prime Minister Tony Blair. Let's just say that folks who doubt his committment to Israel and defeating Islamic terrorism should be comforted by the following:
"See, the irony is what they really need to do is to get Syria to get Hizbullah to stop doing this shit and it's over,"
It certainly looks like he gets it, and doesn't need the diplobabble to do so. It's blunt language for a blunt situation. Israel's existence is at stake and even the G-8 statement condemning the violence calls for Israel to exercise restraint (just as I wrote last nite). So, while the statement places blame on the crisis on
"extremist forces" of Hamas and Hezbollah, just as Bush has done from the beginning. But it also went further than he had been willing to go in demanding that Israel "exercise utmost restraint" and "avoid casualties among innocent civilians" in its retaliatory strikes in the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon.
Of course, that's precisely what Israel has been doing all along, not that the media would bother to note the fact that Israel isn't carpet bombing all of Lebanon or purposefully targeting civilians. Hizbullah is firmly entrenched in civilian areas and purposefully hides among civilians, so Israel's task is made all the more difficult.

Prime Minister Blair is calling for an international peacekeeping force in Southern Lebanon. Sorry, but that's not going to cut it. Peacekeepers have been stationed along the border in the past and did nothing to stop Israelis from being killed or captured. A peacekeeping force will not disarm Hizbullah - and if they even try, they'll be subject to the same attacks Israel is facing right now. Hizbullah sees the West as the enemy, and will not be dissuaded from attacking Israel. That's why Israel is continuing to press its attacks against Hizbullah throughout Lebanon. A peacemaking force might be a better option, but I doubt that any of the G8 is going to put troops towards that force, including the US. Israel is already doing the peacemaking by eliminating the threat to both Lebanon and Israel. They need to finish the job, which could include expanding their attacks to Syria.

Some Arab leaders are concerned about Iran's role in this current crisis - as they should. Iran has designs for the region that include domination over the Sunni Muslim populations. That's why I've stated that Iran may not necessarily target Israel with the first nuclear weapons it produces, but rather Saudi Arabia to show the Muslim world who's boss. That could also explain why the Sunnis in Iraq now want the US to stick around longer, as they're seeing the Shi'ites taking a more hostile stance towards them in Iraq. That is also due in part to Iranian meddling in Iraqi affairs.

The primary bloggers to check with are Carl in Jerusalem, Israellycool, Dave Bender, Meryl Yourish, Euphoric Reality, Pajamas Media, and Hot Air. Check back with them regularly for updates.

I was reading somewhere earlier that Iran may have miscalculated in the conflict because Hizbullah and Hamas are being decimated by Israel without any tangible improvement in Iran's strategic interests. In fact, losing their prime proxies in the region is a huge loss for them, which means that they either have to save face themselves, or force Syria into the fray, which Syria is loathe to do knowing that they've had their hats handed to them every time they've engaged Israel. After all, from the Golan Heights to Damascus is very short indeed.

Also, check out Ed Morrissey's latest on why Arab countries are wondering about Iran's intent. Austin Bay has some details on the Israeli raid into Lebanon and notes that Hizbullah has fired off more than 1,400 rockets into Israel in the past six days. He also comments that Hizbullah is holding more than just two Israeli soldiers hostage, they're holding all of Lebanon hostage and I'd include Northern Israel hostage as well. All are under the gun and Hizbullah would much rather see everything burn than admit defeat, release their hostages and disarm.

Jay Tea pulls together the comments from the G8 summit about sending peacekeepers to Lebanon. I concur that it is an extremely bad idea. Jay notes there is no peace currently, and there's no reason that the US should ever agree to protect the very terrorists that until 9/11/2001 killed more Americans than any other Islamic terrorist group. The Marines certainly haven't forgotten, and neither should we. Wretchard also weighs in. The EU says that it would be willing to take part in an international force in Lebanon. Yippee. Unless those forces were going to kill Hizbullah, there's no reason for anyone else to get involved. Peace will come to Lebanon when Hizbullah is eliminated from Lebanon.

As usual, All Things Beautiful has a good roundup. HotAir has the video of Bush being blunt about Hizbullah and Syria. Of course, not everyone thinks Bush telling the truth is a good thing - though the US Embassy in Beirut is doing a very poor job of assisting US citizens get out of the country.

Israel has detained the head of al Jazeera again, for violating broadcast rules about the scenes of the latest rocket attacks against Israel. Israel prohibits specifically identifying the location of the attacks so as to provide the terrorists with aim points to fire more accurately.
Walid Al Omari was first taken into custody on Sunday along with the Israel crew of the Qatar-based satellite Arab TV station for a real-time broadcast of a Hizbullah Katyusha attack on Haifa, which disclosed the area of the rocket attack, in violation of Israeli military censorship guidelines.

Eight people were killed and dozens were wounded in the mid-morning attack, the most lethal Hizbullah rocket attack since Israel's withdrawal from South Lebanon six years ago.

Military censorship rules ban real-time reporting on the exact location of rocket hits, so as not to help the Lebanese-based Shi'ite terror group refine future attacks.

The longstanding security regulations have been accepted by Al Jazeera when they opened their office in Israel.
And there's word that an al Jazeera tv crew was detained for the third time for doing the same thing.
Police detained Al Jazeera crew members three times in twenty-four hours, the last being on Monday. The official cause for the brief arrests was suspicions against the crewmembers of reporting on the location of rocket hits in order to assist Hezbollah.

Other TV networks, including Israeli news services, made similar reports without suffering from police intervention. On Monday police detained Al Jazeera manager Walid al-Omri for reporting of rocket hits in the Upper Galilee village of Kfar Yasif. Al-Omri was also detained late on Sunday.

Also on Sunday police detained for questioning Al Jazeera correspondent Elias Karam and the team working with him in Acre. The team was released after an hour of questioning.
It certainly appears that Hizbullah and Hamas are taking a beating from Israel so much so that Iran is begging for a ceasefire on absurd terms. There's absolutely no reason for Israel to stop now. They haven't accomplished their objectives yet. Hizbullah remains a threat, even though it is getting badly beaten in this war. Iran is getting beaten in this war as well - as they see their proxy disappearing right before their eyes - vaporized in airstrike after artillery strike. Sure, they're lobbing thousands of rockets into Israel, but Israel has responded far more harshly than Iran or Syria expected, and have taken the fight to Hizbullah's leadership in Lebanon. Israel isn't going to back off on eliminating the threat, eliminating long range missiles as they are discovered.

Prime Minister Olmert sees no reason to start talks with Lebanese Prime Minister Sinora, especially since it doesn't further Israeli objectives, despite what Shimon Peres thinks. There is nothing to be gained from these talks now. It is far too premature to be making these discussions when Hizbullah remains a threat to both Israel and Lebanon. Peres keeps reverting to type - offering terms of ceasefire that only prolong the conflict instead of seeing victory and a secure peace. That isn't to say that Israel wouldn't be willing to enter an eternal covenant with its neighbors. Olmert says exactly that - but the time must be right and the threats to Israel must be addressed first.

Javier Solana is pessimistic over a Lebanese cease-fire. He has good reason to be. Israel isn't interested in a cease-fire that leaves Hizbullah intact in Lebanon. It isn't in Israel's interest, nor is it in the interests of Lebanon either. It serves no one except Syria and Iran to leave Hizbullah intact or provide a cease-fire to a terrorist organization. It shows just how out of touch many of these diplomats are about the situation. Waging war against terrorist organizations that occupy land should not include the terms ceasefire, strategic pauses, or any kind of halt to attacks. The only terms that must be used are victory, defeat of the terrorists, and elimination of terrorist strongholds. Anything less provides the terrorists the ability to claim propaganda victories that are completely undeserved.

Via Discarded Lies, the Lebanese Forces Student Official Website has running updates on what's going on inside Lebanon, from reporting on misfired Hizbullah rockets to the latest on the US preparations to assist US citizens leave Lebanon.

Sandmonkey has an insightful piece on the left's demonstrations in Egypt. Compare the left in Egypt with the left in Israel. Worlds apart.

Meanwhile, Olmert spoke at the Knesset. Hot Air and Stop the ACLU have more.
Israel would agree to a cease-fire in its six-day-old offensive against Hezbollah if the Lebanese guerrillas withdraw from the border area with Israel and release two captured Israeli soldiers, a senior official said Monday.

The official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the diplomacy, said Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had conveyed Israel’s position to Italy’s prime minister, who is trying to broker a cease-fire deal.

Israel had previously demanded the full dismantling of Hezbollah as a condition for ending hostilities.
The withdrawal from Lebanon would be completely unacceptable to Hizbullah, or its sponsors Iran and Syria. It would never accept such terms. Hizbullah loses its base of operations, and Iran and Syria lose a forward operating base for their war against Israel. It's far more difficult to launch a war against Israel from Syria - crossing the Golan Heights is worse than running the gauntlet, and Syria should not forget what happened the last time - 150 Israeli tanks held off 1,400+ Syrian tanks and most of those Syrian tanks ended up being destroyed in the counter attack. This time, the Israelis would know the Syrians are coming.

Others commenting include AJ Strata and Atlas Shrugs.

This is a very enlightening read from Treppenwitz. Go forth and be educated. AbbaGav has more on the situation in Israel.

Meanwhile, Hizbullah has already issued its rejoinder to Israel's demands for any kind of a ceasefire; they resumed firing rockets into Israel as they rejected the terms.

Not quite a "Nuts" moment, but Hizbullah is definitely batShi'ite crazy.

Lots of pro- and anti- Israel rallies taking place around the world, and it is always enlightening to see what each are saying (Rome and Berlin among others). Of course, Sandmonkey figured that all out a while back.

Hizbullah continues to try and kill Israelis but were thwarted from infiltrating into Israel. More rocket attacks injured Israelis in Safed. Hizbullah's mouthpiece says that there is heavy fighting on the ground in the Sheba Farms area. Figures. Hizbullah has long claimed that Israel was still occupying Sheba Farms, but even the UN has said that is not the case.

Israelis are calling up three reserve battalions.

In an interview with ABC anchor Charlie Gibson interviewed Israeli Foreign Minister Livni who says that it will do what it has to do because it's about the lives of Israelis. It's about the existence of Israel. It's not just about the events in Northern Israel. It's the threat posed by Hizbullah and an axis of hatred. Peacekeeping forces could eventually be part of the situation at some point in the future. The best option is to get the Lebanese army on the border, but they say that they don't have the ability to do so. Livni says that they've degraded Hizbullah's military capabilities, but is still worried about the situation. That echoes Olmert's statement, where he said that Israel's enemies misjudged the situation and Israel's resolve. Israel sent ground forces into South Lebanon to carve out a 1km zone along the border. The zone would not be manned by Israeli forces, which I take to mean that if Israelis see anything crawling in that zone, it's gonna be pasted.

Pamela at Atlas Shrugs reports on a pro-Israel rally in NYC.

Others blogging the crisis: Blue Crab Boulevard, Laurence Simon, Dr. Sanity, Dutchblog Israel, The Anchoress, neo-neocon, QandO, Howie at The Jawa Report, Meryl Yourish, Macranger, Outside the Beltway, AJ Strata, Confederate Yankee, QTMonster, Dry Bones, Sister Toldjah, and Israellycool.

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