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August 1, 2015 / 16 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘hizb’allah’

Send the #FreedomFlotilla to Syria

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

I was thinking, what’s the most productive way Israel could handle this latest Hamas supporting flotilla to Gaza.

Presumably the IDF will simply bring them to Ashdod, where they’ll then be allowed into Gaza (assuming they’re allowed into Israel) via one of the open land crossings that ships in humanitarian supplies every single day.

But that’s not really the most effective use of these anti-Israel activists who must love their Islamic terrorists.

With so much killing and misery in the region, there are far better places the flotilla could go.

Obviously We could send them to a beach in Tunisia and ask them to help the tourists hoping to escape the Islamic terrorists, but the tourists might be on wrong side of their equation.

We could send them to the Sinai, and they can enter Gaza through Egypt’s border. Oops. Egypt like to keep it closed because of the Gazan terrorism.

So the best move would be to send them to Syria. There they can select whichever Islamic group they want to help… Hezbollah, ISIS, Al Qaida, all of them even… there’s so many to choose from over there.

And with a few hundred thousand Syrians dead, the flotilla fools won’t even have to look like the hypocrites and anti-Semites they are.

UN Peacekeepers Wounded by Syrian Shelling — Will UN Probe This One?

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Two members of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) were hit by mortar fire Monday in the Golan Heights in Israel in what was allegedly a “spillover” attack on their base from Syria.

One of the two was taken to a hospital in serious but stable condition. The second, a female soldier, was treated at the scene. She is in good condition, the Hebrew-language Ynet site reported. Both were stationed in their base on the Israeli side of the border with Syria at the time of the attack. There has been no confirmation of the above information from the IDF Spokesperson, who issued a terse statement saying only that two UNDOF soldiers were slightly wounded in a “spillover” attack on their base from the Syrian civil war across the border in the Golan Heights.

(Ed. Note: The UNDOF force is comprised of some 800 soldiers from the Republic of Ireland, Fiji, India, Nepal and the Netherlands. It has been monitoring the cease-fire line that separates Syria and Israel on the Golan Heights since 1974. Israel won the territory after a defensive battle with Syria in 1967, and was forced to defend in again in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. It was subsequently annexed by Israel.)

According to military sources, the mortar fire was launched from Syria. But it is not clear who fired the two shells.

They could have been launched by a number of terror organizations or the Free Syrian Army which whom the revolt began. It is also possible they were fired by the government troops fighting to keep President Bashar al-Assad in power.

Likewise, it is possible the mortar fire came from Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps troops, who have been fighting alongside Assad’s troops for years, together with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror guerrillas from Lebanon.

The undisputed fact is that this is not the first time mortars have been fired across the border on the Golan Heights. This time IDF designated the area a “closed military zone” following the attack – even though the IDF again determined it to be another “spillover” from the four-year-long Syrian civil war.

UNDOF transferred its Golan Heights base last year across the border from Syria to Israel due safety concerns. Irish soldiers serving in the force say “It’s a unique mission; danger lurks around every bend,” according to a report posted Monday in the Irish Times.

In that, UNDOF soldiers are facing circumstances similar to those of their colleagues in UNIFIL (UN Interim Force in Lebanon) and the former European Union monitors at the Rafa border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

That is, when things get a little too hot, they acknowledge the danger and back down – fast.

In this case, they were allowed to move their base to the Israeli side of the border, but today’s attack on the base — “errant mortar fire” — proves such a move is no sinecure.

This past January – just a couple of weeks after the Paris terrorist massacres, in fact – a UNIFIL unit got caught in the crossfire when Hezbollah terrorists attacked an Israeli civilian convoy with a military escort traveling along a road a few kilometers from the northern border.

Hezbollah fired six missiles at the convoy from a position three kilometers deep into southern Lebanese territory in the cross-border attack. The convoy was traveling on a road also deep into Israeli territory.

Two IDF soldiers and a civilian died; several others were wounded. A home in an Israeli Druze village took a direct hit and went up in flames; it was completely destroyed and most of the residents were badly traumatized.

IDF Expects 1200 Daily Hezbollah Rockets in Next War

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

An assessment by the IDF Home Front Command expects the Iranian-supported Hezbollah to launch 1200 rockets a day, and hundreds of Israelis could die in then next war with Lebanon.

The IDF will also need to decide where to deploy their limited number of Iron Dome anti-rocket systems up north, deciding whether to protect population centers or strategic sites.

It is not known if the report considered what would happen if the IDF took a disproportional response against Hezbollah at the beginning of the war, instead of its current tactics of proportional responses and preemptive notifications, and if that strategy would result in fewer estimated rocket launches and Israeli casualties.

But if Israel did respond strongly, Beirut would be devastated.

Explaining Everything in Washington in 600 Words (Really)

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

“I had always thought wishful thinking a motive frequently underrated in political analysis and prediction.”  –WALTER LAQUEUR

If you have never understood U.S. Middle East policy  here it is: The  (wrong) response to September 11.
What do I mean? Simple.

There are two ways to respond to September 11:

A. There is a struggle on with revolutionary Islamists which is a huge battle that is parallel to the Cold War or the Allied-Axis conflict. America must organize a united front to fight this battle against the Islamists:

Sunnis or Shia; Turkish, Iranian, or Arab; the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafist, and al-Qaida. Hamas, Hizballah. And the Taliban.

B. Or, what appears easier, having a lot more allies and fewer enemies (I said seems) only to focus on al-Qaida. That’s the problem! After all, who else attacked the United States, Great Britain, Spain, and Kenya? Etc.? And anyway, the conflict is probably America’s fault or a lack of communication.

That’s it. Honest. And guess what? The Washington insiders, “experts” (anything but), officials, lots of intelligence (people and also John Brennan, the head of the CIA), a lot of military officers, and lots of sectors of the Republican party (especially Senator John McCain) believe this.

It is not healthy in Washington for one’s career not to believe it.

But after all, it is understandable (albeit also inaccurate and stupid).

Look at this point:

Who do you believe is an enemy who wants to fight and hurt America and the West?

A. The Syrian and Egyptian Muslim Brotherhoods, the Salafists, al-Qaida. Hamas, Hizballah, the Taliban, Iran, and Turkey.

B. Just al-Qaida?

See what I mean?

Think some more:

Suppose we could get all these non-al-Qaida Islamists as allies?

Suppose we could get all these non-al-Qaida Islamists to repress al-Qaida and so stop terrorist attacks?

Wouldn’t that be an easier task? One that would theoretically involve costing fewer American lives, less money, and be more popular with voters?

Of course.

And finally, of course, that’s what the president and mass media believe.

The problem is, though, that gets the Islamist ideology wrong. Al-Qaida and the other revolutionary Islamist have different tactics but not different goals. Learning that lesson will take years and be very painful. The wrong ideas are deeply embedded in large parts of the arrogant, ignorant, and financially interested establishment.

You should understand that: It is not acceptable in official Washington or its peripheral sectors to say that the Muslim Brotherhood (Egypt, Syria, Hamas) is a terrorist group.

It is not acceptable in official Washington or its peripheral sectors to say that the Muslim Brotherhood (Egypt, Syria, Hamas) is an anti-American group.

BUT  IT IS PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE TO CLAIM THAT THE REPUBLICANS ARE TERRORISTS, HOSTAGE-TAKERS, AND ANTI-AMERICANS.
 
STRANGE, HUH?

Well, consider this from my mentor Walter Laqueur who is now in his 92nd year and still writing brilliantly:

“Another factor frequently overlooked is the reluctance to admit mistakes which also seems hardwired to the human brain.  Perhaps most important of all is the crucial factor of moving with the right crowd.  As Jean Daniel put it:  Better to be wrong with Sartre than right with Raymond Aron (originally it was Camus). Sartre might have been consistently wrong in his political judgment and Aron almost always right. But did it really matter very much?  Aron and Isaiah Berlin might have been right but during the cold war they were pro-American and this was not good at all– even if their American connections were mainly  with  liberals. This is how reputations quite often develop and how they endure. It is an interesting  issue certainly in need of further investigation.”

In Reporting Israeli Strike, the Guardian Adopts Arab Narrative

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Check out the front page of last Monday’s (May 6th, 2013) edition of the Guardian and your hair will be blown back by this scorching headline: “Syria Accuses Israel of Declaring War.” The fact that the Guardian chose to legitimize the Syrian narrative is a relatively minor nuisance in an article that effectively intertwines one nation’s right to self-defense with the looming threat of a wider regional conflict.

The article, written by Julian Borger and Joel Greenberg, does not deny the Israeli version of events leading up to the recent air strikes against military targets around Damascus. Rather, and much more insidiously, the piece draws an incongruous parallel between terrorism’s enablers and the chief regional check against its expansion.

First, the Guardian quotes an Iranian army ground forces commander as saying that, “Iran was ready to train the Syrian army if necessary.” Next, the winds of war are further fanned with this bit of sabre rattling, courtesy of the office of the Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, which denounced the attack, declaring it illegal and a threat to “security and stability in the region.” Meanwhile, Nabil Elaraby, chief of the Arab League, appealed to the U.N. Security Council to “move immediately to stop the Israeli aggressions on Syria.”

The Guardian fails to frame the most recent conflagration between Israel and the forces of terrorism with appropriate historical context, therefore distorting coverage enough to publish inaccurate information. Exhibit A: whilst Hizballah is mentioned several times, no space is dedicated to defining what Hizballah is: an extremist Shiite Muslim group that receives financial and political support from Iran and Syria. Borger and Greenberg also neglect to note that the governments of the U.S., Netherlands, Bahrain, France, U.K., Australia and Canada classify Hizballah as a terrorist organization.

Next, the Guardian piece spends a good couple of paragraphs describing the effects of Israel’s unleashed war machine on the average Syrian citizen:

“Mohammed Saeed, another activist who lives in the Damascus suburb of Douma, said: ‘The explosions were so strong that earth shook under us.’  He said the smell of the fire caused by the air raid near Qasioun was detectable kilometers away.”

Heart-wrenching. However, the Guardian simply ignores recent history by not including any background as to what precipitated the Second Lebanon War, which is important if readers are to gain a comprehensive understanding as to the geo-political forces currently at play.

Here’s a dose of inconvenient reality to consider: on July 12th, 2006, the Second Lebanon War began when Hizballah terrorists opened fire with rockets on the Israeli border towns of Zar’it and Shtula, wounding several civilians. This was a diversion for an anti-tank missile attack on two armored Humvees patrolling the Israeli side of the border fence. The purpose of the attack was to capture Israelis who could be used in a prisoner exchange barter.

Under cover of this diversionary shelling, two IDF (Israel Defense Forces) patrol vehicles were ambushed. Three soldiers were killed in this attack, two were hurt and two others – Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev – were taken prisoners.

Following the kidnapping, IDF forces opened a massive attack on Hizballah posts near the border. An armored force entered Lebanese territory seeking to retrieve the abducted soldiers, but a short time later it hit a mine and its four crew members were killed. Attempts to extricate the tank back to Israel ended with another soldier dead.

Shortly after the kidnapping, the Israeli Government unanimously authorized a military operation against Hizballah forces in Lebanon.

Following a 33-day war, Israel agreed to abide by the terms of United Nations’ Security Council resolution 1701 for an armistice between it and Hizballah. The resolution called for “a complete halt of acts of aggression, and especially those committed by Hizballah and the military actions on behalf of Israel.”

Furthermore, Lebanon was asked to implement the already existing resolution 1559 dealing with disarmament of armed militias – first among them being Hizballah.

It is the article’s historical myopia that makes it possible for the Guardian to downplay the moral imperative behind the recent Israeli military strike and to frame the story as a no-win situation pitting one country’s security against larger regional stability.

And Israel’s right as a sovereign nation to defend its citizens is thus neatly nullified.

Fortunately for Israel, it has the United Nations as an ally. Article 51 of the U.N. Charter states the following: 

Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of collective or individual self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to maintain international peace and security…

Good, worthy journalism is based on journalistic objectivity, which has been defined as a “genuine effort to be an honest broker when it comes to news. That means playing it straight without favouring one side when the facts are in dispute, regardless of your own views and preferences.”

When a front page news story about Israel and Hizballah omits both the background and the staggering results of the previous conflict between these two regional players – 4,000 rockets fired upon northern Israeli cities, 164 Israeli citizens (119 soldiers and 45 civilians) killed and hundreds injured – one is compelled to question the qualifications of the journalists on duty to deliver just the facts and allow their readership to draw its own conclusions.

Going forward, Julian Borger and Joel Greenberg would be well advised to keep their opinions firmly within the confines of the Guardian’s op-ed page.

Visit CifWatch.

Preventing More Muslim Teenagers from Becoming Terrorists

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

The lesson from the Boston Marathon bombings could not possibly be clearer. Yet few people, due to various complications, will address that real issue.

Part of the problem is this. Most powerful institutions and people say that Islam is a religion of peace. There’s no problem, except for a few mysterious extremists who just seem to pop up either at random or due to American and Western sins.

The next largest segment says that Islam is an inherently violent and extremist religion so since the problem is Islam there’s nothing to do but to combat it directly in some form.

Both of the main Western responses, then, deny the importance of waging a real and serious battle within Islam.

Yet where do the terrorists come from? In the case of these two brothers, they were Muslims all of their lives and yet suddenly they became—without any major direct experience—radical terrorists.

The cause, of course, was revolutionary Islamist propaganda, especially but by no means exclusively, from al-Qaeda. There are literally hundreds of internet sites, videos, preachers, books and everything else you can think of that promote revolutionary Islamism. They tell Muslims that they should and must be revolutionaries and terrorists; they cite holy works to do so.

What the heck is there on the other side?

Let’s think for a moment about some of the things that don’t exist:

–A Radio Free Islam that systematically preaches (the last word is not chosen at random) an anti-extremist approach to Islam.

–Virtually no programs at mosques to explain why terrorist, Islamist and extremist Islamic positions are wrong and bad. Wrong because they don’t accord with what those who say so deem to be a “proper” Islam; bad because they are immoral, ruin the lives of those who embrace such ideology, and hold back the societies where enough such people have such a view.

–Remarkably little literature and remarkably few preachers—especially ones who are as well-financed as the radicals—that a young Muslim is going to read on internet or hear on videos or elsewhere which suggests an alternative path.

–Where are the videos? Where are the web sites? Where is the social disapproval among Muslims?

On this basis one could argue that there is no moderate—or at least no non-violent, non-revolutionary– Islam that can be developed. But that simply isn’t true. The works and the moderate individuals exist but they are not given support, even in Western countries, nor do they have the resources to wage the battle.

It is like the situation in the Cold War when the Soviets and their supporters were well-organized and well-financed but the social democrats, liberals, and conservatives opposing them were not. Not only the U.S. government–through covert and other means–stepped into the breach but so did lots of organizations, foundations, non-governmental organizations, and others.

IN THE ERA of Islamism there are a lot of major problems in terms of its opponents’ responses. First, any Western, non-Muslim financing or help to those groups would be used to discredit them. Second, in a bizarre manner Western societies favor the radicals, giving them a good press and praise. Third, moderate Muslims are penalized and ignored.

Fourth, the ability to critique precisely what is radical in Islam and what is wrong with Islamism is handicapped by the successful effort to brand any attempts at making such distinctions as “Islamophobia” instead of a sensible fear of revolutionary Islamism. It is equivalent to branding any such attempt to critique Communism as anti-Sovietism. Communists tried such techniques but they only worked to a very limited extent.

Fifth, part of the last three problems is due to the far left’s (often pretending to be liberal) alignment with radical Islamism (the current world’s most powerful right-wing ideology), despite the latter’s repression of women’s rights, desire to murder gays, and opposition to just about everything else the left is supposed to believe.

Sixth, who cares that Islamist organizations that are mere covers for radical activities issue a statement decrying an Islamist terror attack simply because it was staged by some other group, wrong place, or at an inconvenient time? Let them campaign against radical, violent and intolerant interpretations of Islam or be exposed for who they really are.

The Case for Supporting Assad

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Analysts agree that “the erosion of the Syrian regime’s capabilities is accelerating,” that step-by-step it continues to retreat, making a rebel breakthrough and an Islamist victory increasingly likely. In response, I am changing my policy recommendation from neutrality to something that causes me, as a humanitarian and decades-long foe of the Assad dynasty, to pause before writing:

Western governments should support the malign dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad.

Here is my logic for this reluctant suggestion: Evil forces pose less danger to us when they make war on each other. This (1) keeps them focused locally and it (2) prevents either one from emerging victorious (and thereby posing a yet-greater danger). Western powers should guide enemies to stalemate by helping whichever side is losing, so as to prolong their conflict.

This policy has precedent. Through most of World War II, Nazi Germany was on the offensive against Soviet Russia and keeping German troops tied down on the Eastern Front was critical to an Allied victory. Franklin D. Roosevelt therefore helped Joseph Stalin by provisioning his forces and coordinating the war effort with him. In retrospect, this morally repugnant but strategically necessary policy succeeded. And Stalin was a far worse monster than Assad.

The Iraq-Iran war of 1980-88 created a similar situation. After mid-1982, when Ayatollah Khomeini’s forces went on the offense against those of Saddam Hussein, Western governments began supporting Iraq. Yes, the Iraqi regime had started the hostilities and was more brutal, but the Iranian one was ideologically more dangerous and on the offensive. Best was that the hostilities hobble both sides and prevent either one from merging victorious. In the apocryphal words of Henry Kissinger, “It’s a pity they both can’t lose.”

Applying this same logic to Syria today finds notable parallels. Assad fills the role of Saddam Hussein – the brutal Baathist dictator who began the violence. The rebel forces resemble Iran – the initial victim getting stronger over time and posing an increasing Islamist danger. Continued fighting endangers the neighborhood. Both sides engage in war crimes and pose a danger to Western interests. In this spirit, I argued then for U.S. help to the losing party, whichever that might be, as in this May 1987 analysis:

In 1980, when Iraq threatened Iran, our interests lay at least partly with Iran. But Iraq has been on the defensive since the summer of 1982, and Washington now belongs firmly on its side. … Looking to the future, should Iraq once again take the offensive, an unlikely but not impossible change, the United States should switch again and consider giving assistance to Iran.

Yes, Assad’s survival benefits Tehran, the region’s most dangerous regime. But a rebel victory, recall, would hugely boost the increasingly rogue Turkish government while empowering jihadis and replacing the Assad government with triumphant, inflamed Islamists. Continued fighting does less damage to Western interests than their taking power. There are worse prospects than Sunni and Shi’ite Islamists mixing it up, than Hamas jihadis killing Hizballah jihadis, and vice-versa. Better that neither side wins.

The Obama administration is attempting an overly ambitiously and subtle policy of simultaneously helping the good rebels with clandestine lethal arms and $114 million in aid even as it prepares for possible drone strikes on the bad rebels. Nice idea, but manipulating the rebel forces via remote control has little chance of success. Inevitably, aid will end up with the Islamists and air strikes will kill allies. Better to accept one’s limitations and aspire to the feasible: propping up the side in retreat.

At the same time, Westerners must be true to their morals and help bring an end to the warfare against civilians, the millions of innocents gratuitously suffering the horrors of civil war. Western governments should find mechanisms to compel the hostile parties to abide by the rules of war, specifically those that isolate combatants from non-combatants. This could entail pressuring the rebels’ suppliers (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar) and the Syrian government’s supporters (Russia, China) to condition aid on their abiding by the rules of war; it could even involve Western use of force against violators on either side. That would fulfill the responsibility to protect.

On the happy day when Assad & Tehran fight the rebels & Ankara to mutual exhaustion, Western support then can go to non-Baathist and non-Islamist elements in Syria, helping them offer a moderate alternative to today’s wretched choices and lead to a better future.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-case-for-supporting-assad/2013/04/16/

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