Defeating as-Sadr, defeating Iran

November 25, 2006 at 3:00 am (Arabic, Blogs, Cold War II, Culture, History, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Islamism, Lebanon, Middle East, Military, Persian, The United States, US Government, War)

(Inspired by “Disenfranchising Moqtada al-Sadr the easy way” by geoff of Uncommon Misconceptions.)

We should have taken out Muqtada as-Sadr (سيد مقتدى الصدر, sayyid muqtadā aS-Sadr; titled: حجة الإسلام, Hujjat al-islām, meaning “proof or expert on Islam,” meaning he’s a middle-ranking Shiite cleric).

Within Iraq, one may say that there are two prominent factions: the activists, under as-Sadr, and the quietists, under Grand Ayatollah as-Sistani (السيد علي الحسيني السيستاني, as-sayyid ‛alī al-Hussaynī as-sīstānī; titled: آية الله العظمى, āyatullāh al-‛uZmā, meaning “Great Āyatullāh,” referring to the senior-most level of Shiite clerics).

After a period of time, the activist Shiites, who are organized in political parties and militias, gained control of and prominence in Iraqi politics. As-Sadr is certainly a person to consider. He’s no small fry. But one needs to also see why he seeks this attention. Read the rest of this entry »

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Damascus to Washington, DC: Make the Jews give us land, then we can be friends

November 22, 2006 at 7:09 pm (Arabs, History, International community, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, The Rest, The United Kingdom, The United States, US Government)

(Inspired by “@#&@ The Jews” by Isaac Schrödinger of Isaac Schrödinger and by “Naming the Price, Waiting for Response” by AbbaGav of AbbaGav.)

Many people in the Middle East…in fact, many people throughout the world believe that Israel is a puppet under the command of The United States. It is believed that Israel does nothing without The United States’ orders or, at the very least, permission. Such characterizations are most evident in anti-Israeli propaganda when Israel makes the unforgivable mistake of trying to save itself from hostile forces. Consider, for example, how the recent Israeli-Lebanon war was characterized as one between Israel and The United States on one hand and poor, amateurish, ill-equipped freedom fighters (that is, the terrorists of Hezbollah) on the other hand. Except for supporting Israel and agreeing to speed up arms deliveries, The United States had no role with or upon Israel whatsoever.

Shortly before the near-miraculous Six-Day War, Israel consulted with the government of The United States regarding its situation. The Government made it perfectly clear, with no unmistaken terms, that The United States would not support any preemptive strike whatsoever. Were Israel to be attacked by Arab forces (Egypt, Syria, and Jordan were mobilizing to attack Israel), The United States would rush to Israel’s support; but were Israel to strike first, Israel would be in the situation alone, without any help, assistance, or support from The United States. All this notwithstanding, Israel struck first, in essence discarding the stern warning from The United States’ government. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cold War II

November 17, 2006 at 10:08 pm (Afghanistan, Blogs, Cold War II, Europe, History, India, International community, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Middle East, Military, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Russia, South Asia, The Rest, The United Kingdom, The United Nations, The United States, The West, US Government, War)

geoff of Uncommon Misconceptions has been doing an excellent job posting on what can be called the Second Cold War: the efforts of Russia and China to check, hinder, diminish, and threaten America’s influence (or, rather, that of capitalism and The West) just as The Soviet Union tried to do during the First Cold War. I do lament that this is something that has not been on the People’s mind lately. (Although I do know that certain agencies of the government have kept this on their mind, seeing it as a continuation of a traditional threat or issue rather than the resurgence of a new one.)

For more information, please read the following by geoff of Uncommon Misconceptions:

Regarding some military aspects, please read “Shadowland” by Spook86 of In From the Cold; “The Submariner Community Responds” by the same somewhat tempers the significance of what happened.

Now, let us delve a little into international relations. Read the rest of this entry »

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About the situation between Israel and Lebanon/Hizbullah

November 13, 2006 at 11:34 pm (Blogs, International community, Iran, Islamism, Israel, Lebanon, Military, The Rest, War)

In “So, how’s that peacekeeping thing going?”, HayZeus of HayZeus, Inc., links to a post, “The Gathering Storm, Redux” by Spook86 of In From the Cold, which discusses the situation between Israel and Lebanon. It is a good (though not very optimistic) read.

I asked Spook86:

Two questions, if I may:
1. Would Hizbullah still be interested in taking on Israel considering Hizbullah’s claims that it suffered more than they expected in the last encounter? Or are such claims (as I suspect) simply propaganda to lull their opponents into a false sense of security?

2. How would a new Israel-Lebanon war benefit Syria and/or Iran? (I ask so as to figure out Syria and Iran’s intentions.)

To which Spook 86 answered:

Mushiloon:

I believe Hizballah was emblodened by what happened last summer, despite the losses it suffered at the hands of the IDF. Their rapid resupply strikes me as someone getting ready for an inevitable rematch, vice an organization looking for some sort of diplomatic settlement.

The potential benefits to Iran and Syria are enormous. By backing Hizballah, they get an eager proxy who can fight their common enemy, with little danger to themselves. Supporting terror groups in the Levant has always been Damascus’s favorite tool for putting pressure on Israel, and potentially forcing some sort of favorable settlement over the Golan. Creating a short-range problem also forces the Israelis to spend defense dollars on that problem, versus concentrating their resources on traditional enemies, i.e. Iran and Syria.

If there is a second Lebanese War, I don’t expect the Israelis to confine their operations to Lebanon. It makes no sense to allow Iranian transports to land in Damascus, offload military hardware and return to Tehran for another load. Israel must devise a military strategy for crushing Hizballah, and neutralizing Syria as well–no small feat. Once those issues are resolved, they can focus on Iran. Meanwhile, Tehran has to decide how far they want to go in supporting both Hizballah and Syria. Currently, the Israeli nuclear deterrent, coupled with weaknesses in Iran’s conventional forces, limits what they can do.

(With thanks to HayZeus for bringing this to my attention, and to Spook86 for such a great post and for answering my questions so well.)

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The United Nations’ legitimacy and utility

November 3, 2006 at 7:32 am (International community, Israel, Lebanon, The Rest, The United Nations, War)

The following is inspired by the excellent post “Meanwhile, on the Lebanese front…” by HayZeus of HayZeus, Inc.

Please tell me, my friends who have faith in The United Nations, what relevance or authority remains with The United Nations when on August 13, 2006, the Government of Israel, the Government of Lebanon, and Hezbollah accepted the stipulations of Resolution 1701 of the Security Council, and thereafter on August 14, 2006 (which, if it escapes anyone’s attention, is one day after the acceptance and implementation of the resolution) it is written:

Shortly after the resolution was adopted Hezbollah said that it was not in favor of being disarmed, Lebanon said that it would not disarm Hezbollah, and the UN indicated it also would not disarm Hezbollah.

Also:

On August 14, Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said on Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV that he is not in favor of Hezbollah’s disarmament, since the Lebanese army is not strong enough to defend Lebanon and the Israeli army is still occupying Lebanon, and that his fighters would not be forced to disarm by “intimidation or pressure.” Along the same lines, on August 16, 2006, senior Hezbollah official Hassan Fadlallah stated that the issue of his organization’s disarmament was not on the agenda.

Let it be known that Israel had completed its withdrawal on October 1, 2006, and yet there seems to be no disarmament of Hezbollah.

Curious, is it not, that states and peoples and organizations the world over are so fond of accusing Israel and The United States of flouting or ignoring resolutions of The United Nations’ Security Council, yet no one speaks out against similar flouting or ignoring by other states. Are Israel and The United States somehow specially required to abide by The United Nations’ Security Council’s resolutions that other states are not required to?

You know, forget Israel and The United States and the Iraq War. The very flouting by Lebanon and Hezbollah of Resolutions 1701 and 1559 (of September 2, 2004) has demonstrated the utter illegitimacy of The United Nations, and The United Nations’ refusal to address these violations has demonstrated its impotence and irrelevancy. And considering that The United Nations had an armed force to enforce these conditions, the utter failure of The United Nations is so clear and evident that only a fool would recommend abiding by The United Nations’ Security Council’s resolutions or ascribing any legitimacy or utility thereto.

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Cluster bombs

November 3, 2006 at 7:21 am (Israel, Lebanon, Middle East, Military, The Media, War)

The Jerusalem Report (by The Jerusalem Post) has an article on the use of cluster bombs by Israeli Defense Forces (Ina Friedman, “Deadly Remnants”, The Jerusalem Report issue for November 13, 2006 / Heshvan 22, 5767, pp. 20-22.)

This article is nothing but dreck.

Nu, is The Jerusalem Report going to publish a similarly scathing article on Hezbollah’s use of cluster bombs?

The Human Rights Watch was horrified to find out that Hezbollah used cluster bombs against Israeli targets in the Israel-Hezbollah war earlier this year. Now, the Human Rights Watch is one of those silly leftist outfits, so if they admit this then Hezbollah has sinned indeed.

So, both sides used cluster bombs. One side targeted militant targets (which, by the way, were deliberately established in proximity to residential areas) while the other launched them willy-nilly. (Just so we all are on the same page: the former refers to the Israeli Defense Forces while the latter refers to Hezbollah.)

Nu, where’s the outcry against Hezbollah? Or is it that people already expect Hezbollah to act like demons so they feel no need to raise any voice in protest?

Feh. Leave Israel alone; or, if one is going to tackle Israel, let him/her also tackle Hezbollah, Fatah, Hamas, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Syria, Iran, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, with equal venom.

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