Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Destruction of Lebanon Completed within one more Week?

The US intends to give the IDF at least another week in which to complete the destruction of Hezbollah, before applying pressure for a cease-fire, or so it is broadly interpreted by the international media.

While the IDF can certainly claim a number of successful raids on Hezbollah missile launchers and rocket depots/transports, Hezbollah's capacity to fire rockets into Northern Israel appears largely undiminished and there has been no let-up in the number of rocket barrages, some sources are in fact claiming the opposite.
Isaac Herzog last night when confronted by Stephen Sackur on BBC 24's "HardTalk", admitted that the destruction of Hezbollah was probably unachievable and that the goal is rather to cripple its capabilities and push it back from the Northern border. That doesn't quite seem to be working all that well either, at least at first sight.

Meanwhile, the wholesale destruction of Lebanese civilian infrastructure continues unabated and much more successfully. Airports, civilian population centres, factories, petrol stations, highways and more all seem to fall into the IDF's idea of "Hezbollah targets".

Here are the first week's casualty figures in Lebanon
according to the Jerusalem Post:

At least 229 people have been killed in Lebanon and more than 450 wounded since the fighting began one week ago, according to figures reported by Lebanese police and the military. Among the dead are 20 Lebanese army soldiers and three Hizbullah guerrillas.

Among the civilian deaths are eight Canadians, two Kuwaiti nationals, one Iraqi, one Sri Lankan, and one Jordanian, police have reported.


It's increasingly hard to believe this is but the result of unwanted and "regrettable" collateral damage.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Siniora claims infrastructural damages worth $3 billion. An estimated half million displaced persons have also been created by the IDF. Israel are succeeding in setting back the clock in Lebanon by twenty years, as promised.

A bombardment of the "Lebanese wall flowers that look snazzy in uniform", aka the regular Lebanese Army, was also successfully completed, resulting in 20 casualties. Forgive this here simpleton but aren't these guys sooner or later to take control of the border with Israel? Isn't that very much part of what the Israelis claim to be one of their objectives? But it is suspected some might be assisting Hezbollah, a contentious claim based on the presumption that they too are Shia Muslims. Better go bomb them as well, presto!

Who will be the real victors in this conflict? Olmert and Amir Peretz will come out stronger than ever before, now having proven their military credentials, so necessary to be a credible Israeli leader. Shimon Peretz must be eating his heart out, this Poulidor of Israeli politics never really gets a look in when the shooting gets going.

Hezbollah? Serious damage to its capabilities may yet materialise when the smoke has cleared but personally I feel they too will have scored points: while some Lebanese are undoubtedly turning against them, others will rally around them with greater fervour. And if the onslaught on Lebanon continues for another week or possibly more, few Lebanese will not feel at least sympathy for this contradictory organisation. Nor is all this going to motivate Nasrallah to further trade in the AK-47 for the ballot box, instead further entrenchment can be expected.

Meanwhile Israel can continue its rightful mantra that she has the right to defend herself. Very rightful, indeed. Then why does it ring so hollow to me?

2 Comments:

At 9:52 AM, Blogger Oleh Yahshan said...

"Nor is all this going to motivate Nasrallah to further trade in the AK-47 for the ballot box, instead further entrenchment can be expected."

I think they have proven that this idea that groups like this going into politics will turn them against arms is truly wrong - all it seems to do is legitimise their claim to weapons even more.
Both Hezbollah and Hamas play both sides of that idea today.

We pulled out of Lebanon 6 years ago and Hezbollah has gotten much stronger since then - while also involving itself in politics - it uses the "ballot Box" as another means to power not instead of the AK-47.

While I don't like the idea of this war that is going on, in addition to the personal aspect that my Family is in the line of Katyusha Fire, I don't see that there is much other choice.
Once again - it is easy to stand on the side lines condemning what Israel is doing.
But: We already withdrew to the border in agreement with the U.N. we did not attack, when Hezbollah attacked Israel 4 times in the past 6 years Kidnapping 2 Israeli soldiers (oct. 2000) killing kids (in Shlomi 2002) and attacking an Israeli town (Rajar - 2005), and firing Katyushas months ago.
Having said that - how many time in the past 5 years have you mentioned that Lebanon has not filled out U.N.1559?? Did you Govt. ever take that to the U.N. were there any meeting about it?
Your are very quick to judge what Israel does, but it doesn't seem like you want to look at the whole picture.

 
At 2:02 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Oleh:

"I think they have proven that this idea that groups like this going into politics will turn them against arms is truly wrong - all it seems to do is legitimise their claim to weapons even more.
Both Hezbollah and Hamas play both sides of that idea today. "


We have seen in the past, most spectacularly in N. Ireland with the IRA, that politisation of terrorist organisations can work very well in demilitarising them. Politicising them means giving more power to moderates, who eventually take over the whole structure. The IRA decommissioned its weapons voluntarily, following years of negotiations.

"While I don't like the idea of this war that is going on, in addition to the personal aspect that my Family is in the line of Katyusha Fire, I don't see that there is much other choice.
Once again - it is easy to stand on the side lines condemning what Israel is doing.
But: We already withdrew to the border in agreement with the U.N. we did not attack, when Hezbollah attacked Israel 4 times in the past 6 years Kidnapping 2 Israeli soldiers (oct. 2000) killing kids (in Shlomi 2002) and attacking an Israeli town (Rajar - 2005), and firing Katyushas months ago."


Well, firstly I hope that your family keeps safe.

No one, least of all me, questions Israel's right to defend herself but the reaction to Hezbollah's acts of war is very, very disproportionate and it seems civilians and their infrastructure are taking the brunt of the Israeli actions. To dismiss the many scenes of carnage I've seen on the BBC, Sky News, EuroNews, CNN, CBS and Fox as mere mistakes seems simplistic. Yesterday the IDF even bombed an affluent Christian area: what on earth do Christians have to do with Hezbollah? Not so long ago Israel and the Phalangist movement were allies, remember?

"Having said that - how many time in the past 5 years have you mentioned that Lebanon has not filled out U.N.1559?? Did you Govt. ever take that to the U.N. were there any meeting about it?"

Let's not "trade UN resolution violations", shall we? Israel has ignored whole reams of resolutions, including those regarding the occupation of Palestinian Territories.

"Your are very quick to judge what Israel does, but it doesn't seem like you want to look at the whole picture."

No, I'm not. I've maintained right from the start that Israel has the right, if not duty, to respond to acts of war, in both the Gaza and Hezbollah situations. But in both cases Israel has chosen to use an extremely heavy-handed approach, costing many civilian lives and destroying valuable civilian infrastructure, without achieving its stated goals.

Thanks nonetheless for your measured comment.

 

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