Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Strangest War

There is an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council as the conflict in Lebanon appears ready to erupt further.

The New York Times:
QANA, Lebanon, July 30 — A series of Israeli airstrikes in this small mountain town today killed dozens of people in the deadliest single attack in the war here so far. At least 54 people were killed, with 37 of them children, news agencies reported.
Substantial anti-Western protests were held in Beirut.

U.S. stance

No call for an immediate cease-fire from the U.S. administration. Bush sees this as a mix between the Global War on Terror and a proxy war with Iran. The strategy is, at best, risky. More likely this strategy is flawed and dangerous.

The Washington Post:
But now, analysts said, the administration is effectively back endorsing all-out force again, in defiance of allies, as part of its policy of trying to rid the Middle East of militants and radicals, or the "drain the swamp" policy.

In his weekly radio address, President Bush placed the Lebanon crisis in the context of Iraq and the broader U.S. war on terrorism. "As we work to resolve this current crisis, we must recognize that Lebanon is the latest flash point in a broader struggle between freedom and terror that is unfolding across the region," Bush said.
The Los Angeles Times:
"The stakes are larger than just Lebanon," the president told reporters Friday after meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. "The root cause of the problem is you've got Hezbollah that is armed and willing to fire rockets into Israel; a Hezbollah … that I firmly believe is backed by Iran and encouraged by Iran."

He added: "I also believe that Iran would like to exert additional influence in the region. A theocracy would like to spread its influence, using surrogates…. And so, for the sake of long-term stability, we've got to deal with this issue now."

Another U.S. official, who spoke about the Middle East turmoil on condition of anonymity, was more blunt. In Lebanon, the United States and Iran "are conducting a proxy war," he said, with Israel fighting for one side and Hezbollah for the other.

"It is in our interest to see Hezbollah defeated," he said.
Tony Blair's position is vulnerable.

The Observer:
Tony Blair was facing a full-scale cabinet rebellion last night over the Middle East crisis after his former Foreign Secretary warned that Israel's actions risked destabilising all of Lebanon.

Jack Straw, now Leader of the Commons, said in a statement released after meeting Muslim residents of his Blackburn constituency that while he grieved for the innocent Israelis killed, he also mourned the '10 times as many innocent Lebanese men, women and children killed by Israeli fire'.

He said he agreed with the Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells that it was 'very difficult to understand the kind of military tactics used by Israel', adding: 'These are not surgical strikes but have instead caused death and misery amongst innocent civilians.' Straw said he was worried that 'a continuation of such tactics by Israel could destabilise the already fragile Lebanese nation'.

The terrorist organization appears politically strong. An honest assessment of the military strength of the group is next to impossible.

The Times of London:
The furious battle and its toll sent shock waves through Tel Aviv and revealed to the wider world that there was going to be no quick ending to this Middle Eastern conflict. Three weeks after Hezbollah ignited the violence by killing eight Israeli soldiers and kidnapping two others, the Israelis are still struggling to clear the militants and their rockets out of southern Lebanon.

Yesterday Hezbollah remained entrenched in Bint Jbeil; the death toll in Lebanon had reached more than 600, according to the Lebanese authorities, and hundreds of thousands had fled from their homes.

Yet some 80% of the Lebanese people, far from rejecting Hezbollah, were expressing their support for its actions, according to one opinion poll. In Iran radical Islamic students were setting off to join the battle.
The Observer:
Two weeks into the fighting between Israel and Hizbollah, Wednesday's battle - 'the longest day', one newspaper called it - may have marked a bloody turning point. Indeed last night Israel announced it was pulling its ground troops out of Bint Jbeil, saying it had accomplished its objectives there and dealt a heavy blow to the militant group, but admitting it had paid a heavy price with the lives of Israeli soldiers. Heavy indeed, as it was a withdrawal, not a victory. Hizbollah fighters still hold Bint Jbeil.

The strangest war in Israel's history began almost by accident. In the safety of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, out of range of the rockets, it has had an air of bizarre unreality. Now it has become desperately real - a grim swirl of military funerals and interviews with grieving families.


Blogger Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

It was Sunday, the day of worship in gentile Christian culture.

And Qana is the place where this “weird Jesus cult” started when the beloved King Herod ruled over Israel.

His modern successor, Prime Minister Olmert, probably couldn’t resist the subtle symbolism: razing Christianity’s birthplace on a Sunday… Yeah that would be grand! The faithful few in Washington would love it!

1:08 PM  

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