Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Several sources on the Israeli war in Lebanon, with my observations or selected text:

   UN Security Council Resolution 1701, 11 August 2006. Passed unanimously by the Security Council.

Many have noted that paragraph 1 [“1. Calls for a full cessation of hostilities based upon, in particular, the immediate cessation by Hezbollah of all attacks and the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations;”] leaves open the possibility of Israel defining any operations it might choose to conduct as ‘defensive’.

Comment has dwelt on provisions of UNSC 1701, but not on three other issues which might have proven deal-breakers. Should Israel be banned from sending warplanes over Lebanon, as it did during the first half of 2006? Should Lebanon be guaranteed against blockade of its ports and airfields? And should Israel—rather than the ‘international community’—be required to pay for repair of the damage done to Lebanon?

   Seymour Hersh has published “Watching Lebanon: Washington’s Interests in Israel’s War,” in the current issue of The New Yorker. [Note 1] Excerpts follow. The Bush administration

… was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s retaliatory attacks. President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preëmptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground. …”

“The United States and Israel have shared intelligence and enjoyed close military coöperation for decades, but early this spring, according to a former senior intelligence official, high-level planners from the U.S. Air Force—under pressure from the White House to develop a war plan for a decisive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities—began consulting with their counterparts in the Israeli Air Force.

“ ‘The big question for our Air Force was how to hit a series of hard targets in Iran successfully,’ the former senior intelligence official said. ‘Who is the closest ally of the U.S. Air Force in its planning? It’s not Congo—it’s Israel. Everybody knows that Iranian engineers have been advising Hezbollah on tunnels and underground gun emplacements. And so the Air Force went to the Israelis with some new tactics and said to them, ‘Let’s concentrate on the bombing and share what we have on Iran and what you have on Lebanon.’ ’ The discussions reached the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, he said. … ”

   Max Hastings is a long-time commentator on military and political affairs, from the vantage of London. He writes in The Guardian, “Bush’s belief in a worldwide Islamist conspiracy is foolish and dangerous”. [Note 2] Excerpts:

In the United States a disturbingly large minority of people – polls suggest around 40% – remain willing to accept Bush’s assertions that Americans and their allies, which chiefly means the British, are faced with a single global conspiracy by Islamic fundamentalists to destroy our societies.

“In less credulous Britain one could nowadays fit into an old-fashioned telephone box those who believe anything Bush or Tony Blair says about foreign policy. Many of us are consumed with frustration. We know that we face a real threat from Muslim fundamentalists, and that we are unlikely to begin to defeat this until we see it for what it is: something infinitely more complex, diffuse and nuanced than the US president wishes to suppose. …”

“The madness of Bush’s policy is that he has made a wilful choice to amalgamate the grossly irrational, totalitarian and homicidal objectives of al-Qaida with the just claims of Palestinians and grievances of Iraqis. His remarks on Saturday invite Muslims who sympathise with Hamas or reject Iraq’s occupation or merely aspire to grow opium in Afghanistan to make common cause with Bin Laden.
… ”

   Robert Fisk writes, surprisingly, that on the day the ceasefire went into effect he judged there were only small numbers of Israeli soldiers along the Lebanon-Israel border: [Note 3]

In Srifa, I stood with Hizbollah men looking at the empty roads to the south and could see all the way to Israel and the settlement of Mizgav Am on the other side of the frontier. This is not the way the war was supposed to have ended for Israel. …

“It is now clear that the 30,000-strong Israeli army reported to be racing north to the Litani river never existed. In fact, it is unlikely that there were yesterday more than 1,000 Israeli soldiers left in all of southern Lebanon … ”

   Lara Marlowe, now based in Paris, lived for seven years in Beirut, and has paid close attention to the Levant as a respected correspondent for The Irish Times. Writing from Lebanon, she concludes an assessment of the effects of the 33-day war in today’s Irish Times as follows: [Note 4]

If any other country did what Israel has done in Lebanon for the past 33 days, it would be labelled a terrorist state. Yet politicians, diplomats and media bosses so fear being called ‘anti-Semitic’ that they continue to chant the mantra that ‘Israel has the right to defend itself‘.

“What happened in Lebanon between July 12th and yesterday was not self-defence. It was mass murder.”

   In the interest of broad coverage, you might want to check out two interviews on today‘s RTE1 news [Irish public radio]. One is a report by Declan Walsh of the Guardian, and the other an interview with Caroline Glick, deputy editor of the Jerusalem Post. Links to the audio files are on the RTE page for the program Five Seven Live:

RTE Interview of Caroline Glick, 16 August 2006; [Note 5]

The Glick interview really has to be heard to be appreciated. Or consider this column by Caroline Glick from the Jerusalem Post, 8 August 2006: “Our World: Talkin’ about a revolution.” She calls for [Note 6]

an Israeli and allied strike against Hizbullah’s state sponsors Syria and Iran, which promote Hizbullah’s wanton aggression against Israel as a central campaign in their global jihad aimed at annihilating the Jewish state and defeating Western civilization.”

I wonder which ‘allies’ she proposes join Israel in launching war against Syria and Iran?


[IF CITING] On 2014.08.03 several original links failed [see below] and were replaced. The old links are shown below the [Notes].

[Note 1] Seymour Hersh, “Watching Lebanon: Washington’s Interests in Israel’s War,”, The New Yorker, issue of 21 August 2006, posted on the New Yorker website on 14 August 2006. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2006/08/21/watching-lebanon 2014.08.03: NOTE that the original link fails and has been replaced.

[Note 2] Max Hastings, “Bush’s belief in a worldwide Islamist conspiracy is foolish and dangerous,” The Guardian, 14 August 2006. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1844195,00.html

[Note 3] Robert Fisk, “Desert of trapped corpses testifies to Israel’s failure”, The Independent [London], 15 August 2006. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/fisk/article1219260.ece 2014.08.03: NOTE that this link no longer works.

[Note 4] Lara Marlowe, “Israel’s actions add up to mass murder”, The Irish Times, 15 August 2006. [If you subscribe or have institutional access, try the keywords Marlowe murder Lebanon.]

[Note 5] Interview of Declan Walsh, and of Caroline Glick: http://www.rte.ie/news/2006/0815/57live.html, subtitle ‘Lebanon Truce Holds for Second Day’, on which you may select the Declan Walsh and Carolyn Glick interviews. [Revised 2014.08.03: The link to Walsh interview fails. Original links to Glick interview and Jerusalem Post article [Note 6] are stale and have been replaced. Try http://www.learnworld.com/blog/uploaded_images/RTE-Caroline-Glick-20060816-re-Lebanon.mp3 ]

[Note 6] Caroline Glick, “Our World: Talkin’ about a revolution.” http://www.jpost.com/Features/Our-World-Talkin-about-a-revolution

[Bruce’s Blog: 2006.08.15 Additions 2006.08.16 Revision of links and [Notes 5 and 6] 2014.08.03  Post: B– Short Link: P=32 Front Door Index: http://blog.learnworld.com Permalink: http://www.learnworld.com/BRUCE/uncategorized/❄-lebanon-iii/]

[Failed links replaced on 2014.08.03]

Hersh: www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060821fa_fact

RTE interviews: http://www.rte.ie/news/2006/0815/57live.htm [Note 5]

Glick: www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1154525826363&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/Printer

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