Saturday, August 26, 2006

Exchanging Roles?

This is an essay a close friend of mine - Hassan Harajli - wrote straight after the ceasefire... I thought I'd post it here for all of you to read and analyse...

Amongst other issues we Lebanese must address, Hassan discusses a solution to Hizbollah's military wing in the Lebanese Army which is truly insightful...

Exchanging Roles?

I am not a political analyst or a historian in profession, yet there are some challenging questions out of this latest war between Lebanon and Israel. Who won? At what cost? Who was to blame? Is it over or would there be yet another conflict on Lebanese soil? What will happen next? Would Lebanon survive this Israeli aggression economically, and so on…?

Hizbullah has proven, as a local political party with a military wing, supported financially and militarily by its’ ideological strategic ally, Iran, that it could withstand one of the world’s mightiest and modern military machines through sheer internal organization, by coming from and fighting for the land they are on, by the knowledge of the enemy’s capacities and capabilities, the acquisition of appropriate military hardware (albeit missing the ground to air missiles) to resist, and a faith in God and in fighting on the cause of Justice.

In this aspect Hizbullah has come out more or less victorious. The victory is one that is both national in nature and yet more importantly regional. Regional in a sense that it has sent shockwaves across the Arab world whose leaders have all, more or less, been inflected by an inferiority complex when it comes to Israel from one angle, and been taken forever captive by economic and commercial interests with the U.S (to say the least), denying them the ability to maneuver politically to even dispel the Israel ambassador in their land (for example). Hizbullah has proven that the Israel army is not an invincible machine, yet with strenuous preparation, organization, proper armaments, and faith, it could be put to a stop, so not to say defeated.

Herein, Hizbullah has stood up to a nation that has flouted almost every UN Council Resolution, undertaken every possible atrocity against humanity throughout history, and has considered itself above international law, and more frighteningly, above all the peace negotiations with the Arabs, while the Arabs are left to moan about rights, international law, Council resolutions, justice, ‘but this, but that’… And Israel does whatever extremity it sees fit to ensure that the Arabs, including the Palestinians, stay weak and divided, within the so-called ‘New Middle East’ perhaps – all under the pretext of combating ‘terrorism’ and under their flawed terminology of ‘self defense’.

Yet in my opinion, the victory of Hizbullah is a victory for the Arabs only to the extent of emotion and semi-retrieved pride, yet is a potential defeat in that its accomplishments, especially of late, stem not from an Arab nation and its institutions as a whole, yet from an almost independently run political party with semi-autonomy from the central government (albeit it represents almost a third of the Lebanese population).

I say potential defeat because though the dichotomy between Hizbullah and the Lebanese Central Government served well in the past to limit Israel’s disproportionate firepower to Hizbullah and not the whole Lebanese state, it cannot proceed as it is, and as Hizbullah wishes it should, for two primary reasons.

The first reason is that this military achievement and self-confidence booster to the Arab peoples should be invested in the Lebanese government. Strength of nations surrounding Israel should no longer be viewed as a taboo or an impossibility. What harm would it bring if Hizbullah gave its important military arsenal to the Lebanese army and trained the army about its historic methods in combating Israel? Why not include a strong regiment (of Hizbullah soldiers) in the army that applies ‘guerrilla’ warfare tactics, especially when a ‘classical’ army is absolutely useless in front of Israel? Why not arm the Lebanese army the same way that it has been armed, and teach it the same perseverance and decentralized command system of the Hizbullah soldiers? Some may say that that would produce an Israeli aggression on all of Lebanon, but that has already happened in this July-August war. If Hizbullah does not give its victory and its assets to the Lebanese army, with an agreed upon time-frame, then it is a failure, nothing more and nothing less. A failure that entails that Hizbullah’s achievements are beyond the scope and ability of any Arab government. This duplicity of resistance and government should be replicated throughout the Arab world in order to defeat Israeli aggressions.

The second reason is economic. Herein perhaps my opinion is a little bias towards the type of class I belong to (a middle class citizen) and the profession category which makes for my living (the Small and Medium Sized Enterprises - SMEs). Yet no business activity in Lebanon has been spared this time around, and the numbers (including myself) who are now lined at embassies for immigration purposes are greater than they were before, and they were abundant before. Who will compensate? Inevitably every built house in the South, South of Beirut, Bekaa… would be given money for reconstruction, yet what about all those SMEs? Can they for example show their past yearly and monthly balance sheets and be compensated for the direct damage caused and compensated for opportunities forgone? These SMEs are after all, the economic backbone of any prospering nation.

On this note as well, it is totally unacceptable that Hizbullah or any other party be allowed to compensate for the damages of this war (through its regional allies) unless Hizbullah accepts to become the government and the government a political party. All aid to the Lebanese people affected by this war must be done through governmental channels or at least through coordination with the central government, of which Hizbullah is a part. No longer should Hizbullah hold a semi-governmental character, and all its assets, both financial and military should be transferred through the government. Or else why is there a government?

Finally, a further important issue to rise would be seeing Israeli politicians and generals fighting it out in Israel, blaming and criticizing each other for all their failures in this foolish war they initiated, and the expectation that their prime minister will fall. To some in Lebanon, this is seen as a victory, a victory that should ensure that such events do not occur, at least in public, between the Lebanese.
However, I see this as democracy. Israel is practicing democracy were actions are held accountable and though who have not done their jobs correctly, would be penalized by the system in place. In this sense, if the prime minister falls out in Israel, it is not a victory for us as much as a victory for their system of checks and balances.
In Lebanon, no voice should be silenced this way, silenced by blaming him or her of serving the Zionist state. This would be a crime in itself, a stopping of a nation that holds itself high in terms of discourse and harmony between sects and political parties - A crime against free expression of speech and progress.

I can only hope now that Hizbullah, and on whose southern lands they come from would rise to this golden opportunity to reveal its national character, which I always believed in, and play a vital role in strengthening the central government. Otherwise and again, Hizbullah should become the government and the government a political party.

Now the war should be next fought on lands which are still invaded, particularly Syria (as it is continuously in Palestine), and it is a message that Hizbullah takes to those lands that should be listened too and applied, not met by empty speeches praising Hizbullah and Lebanese blood as a model, and even getting political leverage from it, and yet go on in doing nothing for their own dignity, land and people except ensuring the survival of a Machiavellian elite.



JoseyWales said...

This duplicity of resistance and government should be replicated

Get real, this barely worked in Leb cuz the gvmnt. claimed ignorance and impotence.

How many times can you play that game and what other country could play it?

Next time it happens (in Leb or some other country), the airport, port, electricity and every other piece of military and civilian infrastructure would be destroyed from day one.

chuck said...

i just hope that lebanese people will make peace between themselves, and start giving the power to their government, so that Israel and lebanon could finaly make peace between themselves.

i know that lebanese people will need time to forgive Israelies for what happened in all wars between our countries.
i know Israelies will need time to trust lebanese people and believe that lebanese truely desires peace with Israel.

i believe that peace between lebanon and Israel will make a real difference in the middle east. i believe it to be the greatest thing if it will happened. i would be the first to congratulate.

and i even have hope that syria will not try to imply hisballa's tactics on Israel, trying to force it and bend Israel's hand, and negotiate peacfully on the matters that both countries can compromise.

because i know Israel will not make the same mistake again, and there will be an armed conflict between syria and Israel if syria will take the path of using force.

i just hope peace will break at last in this fucked up middle east !

chuck said...

and i hope it can be achieved without blowing it all away,
thank u.

M. Simon said...

A few more Hizballah victories like this one and Hizballah will be out of business. A few more Israeli losses like the one they suffered in Lebanon and they will control all of Lebanon. Some victory. Some loss.

The Bitter Taste of Victory

As reality starts to intrude into the Middle East Amir Taheri in Opinion Journal (Hat Tip: Ted Belman of Israpundit) notes that Israel and the west may have lost the propaganda war but Hizbollah has lost the Arabs. Lebanese Shiit Arabs.

Hizbollah Beats Israel Loses Arabs

Lirun said...

i think that is a very poor essay that ignores reality - works heavy on stereotypes and manifests clouded thought..

just to answer a few of the points:

(a) no - israel is not and has not been the devil of all times.. we have been implicated in a shrinking regional conflict over the years but that does not make us the essence of all evil.. the self-exoneration in that essay is formidable..

(b) internal debate and vicious querying is not a new feature of israeli politics to any stretch of the imagination.. even around independence times we actively engaged our own people who we considered rogues and defiant of the main lines to ensure that our country's general regime was managed within the acceptable boundaries.. furthermore.. only a deaf and blind person can ignore our israeli arab MPs who always band with our extreme left to speak out ferociously against just about every policy we have.. and while in other countries this would be criminally considered treason - here is it perfectly legal..

(c) HA did not withstand the israeli military machine.. what withstood it was the lebanese people by sitting further behind HA rather than alongside.. this triggered grave concern for the safety of civillians (both lebanese and israeli) and forced us to decide how dirty we needed to get to respond to this dirty form of warfare.. fighting from civillian pockets is not "decentralised" its "illegal" "immoral" and "collectively suicidal".. if this was a conventional war we all know what the outcome would have been..

(d) you discuss immigration lines and how people are rushing to escape lebanon.. while throughout the conflict israel had thousands of families come to live here and many even chose the bombed areas as the locations of their new homes.. to which they are no doubt moving to right now while the ceasefire prevails.. this demonstrates an enormous sense of conviction.. it has not even been scratched..

we can slice and dice this war however we like..

i think point scoring is useless and the only valuable lesson to be learned is that our region doesnt need this silliness anymore.. we need to normalise and we need peace..

wishing it upon us all..

i wonder if flowers can grow out of such bloody soil..

M. Simon said...

Wait a minute. Correct me if I'm wrong. The defeated Israel is holding pieces of Lebanon and this is a model for driving the Israelis out of the Golan? Out of Palestine?

Um, OK.

The only way for Hizballah to get Israel to even agree to leave Lebanon was to stop fighting and shooting rockets. Even then Israel is taking its own sweet time.


Oh, I get it. You are very good friends with that blonde Lebanese feller. Say hello to him for me. He used to be a friend of mine.

Fearless said...

Al-Nahar (Lebanon), August 22, 2006.

Intra-Shi’ite Criticism: Hizbullah Didn’t Ask the Shi’ites About the War; The Shi’ites Authorized No One to Declare War in Their Name

In an interview with the Lebanese daily Al-Nahar, the mufti of Tyre and of the Jabal ‘Aamel district, Sayyed ‘Ali Al-Amin, demanded that the Lebanese government bear its responsibility and deploy the Lebanese army in the south of the country. This is because, he says, it is the government that is responsible for the security of the south, and no other group. Al-Amin criticized the accusations of treason against anyone who has called to disarm Hizbullah, arguing that “no community [in Lebanon] is more nationalist and more loyal than another.” According to him, “the Shi’ite community in Lebanon authorized no one to declare war in its name” - on the contrary, he said, it opposed the war and is loyal to the state just like Lebanon’s other ethnic communities. He clarified that the support for the resistance in the south was no substitute for loyalty to the state, and stressed that this support was common to all Lebanon.(1)

The following are excerpts from the interview:

“[Neither] Lebanon nor the Lebanese People Have any Connection to This War; the War was Forced Upon the Country and People, Who Did Not Want It”

Question: “How do you assess the 33-day war in Lebanon?”

Sayyed Ali Al-Amin: “It was a difficult and crazed war, that Israel undertook as a collective punishment for Lebanon… In this war, Israel deviated from all the international laws and conventions. This is nothing new for [Israel]; it has been its way and its method since it was established…

“[Neither] Lebanon nor the Lebanese people have any connection to this war. The war was forced upon the country and people, who did not want it. Everyone demanded an immediate ceasefire from the moment it broke out, but Israel continued in its aggression, unrestrained.

“This war, and Israel’s other recurring wars in Lebanon, revealed the extent of [Lebanon’s] lack of preparation [for war] in all areas… Such preparations are necessary for someone who anticipates or plans for war, and pushes towards it… Had there been a minimum level of preparedness, great losses would have been prevented. That is if we assume that the war was necessary, and it should have been solely Lebanon’s responsibility.

“But from the form of the open war, from its broad scope, and from the type of arms used during it, we see that this is a war of another kind, a kind uncommon in wars of liberation and popular resistance - rather, it was an all-out war, waged by countries with their armies. If the war was necessary in this way, it was everyone’s obligation, and [one particular] part, [i.e. Lebanon,] must not bear its results and its burden [alone]… [But] we think that that this war was not the obligation of Lebanon alone; rather, it should have been part of an overall Arab strategy of war and conflict, of which Lebanon would have been just one component, and not its ultimate scapegoat. Lebanon paid a heavy price in an ill-advised battle, with no preparation. What is the sense and what is the courage in this?…”

“Had the Previous Agreements Been Implemented, We Would Not Have Reached This Situation”

Question: “What do you think is the solution to get out of the continuing deadlock…?”

Sayyed Ali Al-Amin: “Our unity as Lebanese, which was embodied in popular solidarity… and in cooperation [between the elements] of the government… are the basis for a solution and for getting out of the deadlock.

“The points presented by the Lebanese government [for a solution], and to which the various [Lebanese camps] unanimously agreed, are points that draw on previous agreements, which were the basis for everyone joining the state. Had the previous agreements been implemented, we would not have reached this situation.

“Accordingly, I maintain that these points - even though they were basically raised to solve external problems emanating from the Israeli aggression - are also suitable for an opening to the solution of the internal political crisis. Such [a solution] would be by [all camps] fully committing to the state, and a return to [the state’s] constitutional, judicial, and political institutions. Then, all the cards will be in the hand of the state - [the state] which constitutes an overarching framework for all Lebanese, who will find in it protection, security, prosperity, and stability only in the framework of one state to which they are loyal, which they defend, and which is just to all.

“The Lebanese experience has proved the failure of communities and parties defending and protecting themselves alone; thus, there is no substitute for one state to which everyone, without exception, belongs.”

“In a Society [in Which Different Communities] Live Side by Side, Accusations of Treason Should Be Removed From the Dictionary of Life…”

Question: “What is your position regarding the struggle that is going on between [the supporters of continued possession of] arms by the resistance and of its role, and [the supporters of] restricting arms to the state only?”

Sayyed Ali Al-Amin: “When the state truly fills the role with which it is charged, it alone bears responsibility for actualizing sovereignty and defense… The people does not assign this responsibility to a party or to a [particular] group, but rather demands it from the state that represents everyone.”

Question: “[Hizbullah spiritual leader] Muhammad Hussein Fadhlallah said that all talk of disarming the resistance was treason of the highest order. What is your view?”

Sayyed Ali Al-Amin: “Categorizing and name-calling is not acceptable, and it is strange that it is happening now, while everyone is trying to strengthen national solidarity and to bring the different views closer together, in order to deal with the danger of the Israeli attacks. All Lebanese are in the same trench, and no community is more nationalist and more loyal than another…

“The question of disarming [Hizbullah] is one that has [already] been discussed at the National Dialogue table, with the aim of finding suitable solutions for it, and it was submitted for discussion by… genuine partners in the state-building process… [Therefore,] is it right to accuse everyone, or some [of treason] while all have proven their solidarity during the crisis?…

“Let us assume that an agreement [is reached] regarding the disarming [of Hizbullah]; the arms are not handed over to enemies… On the contrary, they are arms that will be handed over to the Lebanese state in which everyone participates - including the owners of the weapons… Had there been any treason or prohibition in this, why did those who are interested in it [i.e. Hizbullah] and the rest of the participants in the dialogue set it on the dialogue table?

“At this stage, we need greater objectivity, and to distance ourselves from exaggeration and from words that sow fear and raise obstacles that prevent the presentation of legitimate questions… In my opinion, any question is legitimate - and all the more so if it is connected to the homeland, to the fate [of the country], and to the future… In a society [in which different communities] live side by side, accusations of treason should be removed from the dictionary of life and from relations with each other.”

Nowhere in the World Except in Lebanon Does the President Oppose Deploying the Army and the State’s Authority Throughout the Homeland

Question: “What is your opinion on the decision to deploy the army in the south, and what are the missions required of the army?”

Sayyed Ali Al-Amin: “There is no doubt that deploying the Lebanese army on all the Lebanese lands is welcomed and supported by the entire people… This step taken recently by the government had been the obligation of the various [Lebanese] governments since the Taif Agreement. We never heard, in the entire world except Lebanon, that a president - past or present - would oppose the deployment of the state’s army and authority on all the lands of the homeland…

“With regard to the missions with which the Lebanese army is charged, they are many and large, and the first one is the mission of defending the country from the Israeli aggression and to deploy the state’s authority in all the lands of the homeland. The army’s presence in the south and in all of Lebanon is a fundamental [component of] the state, and it is necessary for the defense of the homeland. Similarly, it strengthens national belonging and adherence to the state and to its institutions… and will restore the national anthem to all the Lebanese.”

“What Happened in the South Does Not Represent the Will of the Shi’ite Community… [But] Was Caused by the Vacuum That the Lebanese State Left for Years in This Region”

Question: “Do you think that Hizbullah has monopolized the Shi’ite community, and dragged the country into a difficult war in its name?…”

Sayyed Ali Al-Amin: “I don’t think Hizbullah asked the Shi’ite community about the war. Perhaps the great emigration from the south is the best proof that the people of the south were against the war. The Shi’ite community authorized no one to declare war in its name or to drag it into a war that was far from its wishes and from the wishes of the other ethnic communities in Lebanon. What happened in the south does not represent the will of the Shi’ite community, and is not its responsibility, but was caused by the vacuum that the Lebanese state left for years in this region… What happened is the natural result of a state relinquishing its duty to defend a region and its citizens.”

Question: “Does the Shi’ite community have dual loyalty, to Hizbullah and to the state?”

Sayyed Ali Al-Amin: “The Lebanese Shi’ites are like the rest of the Lebanese in all things regarding adhering to the Lebanese state, and loyalty to it. Their history, past and present, attests to their loyalty and their sacrifice in this way… I don’t think that the support that the resistance received in the south is a substitute for loyalty to the Lebanese state. The state, with all its institutions and sectors, participated in this support… I maintain that if we had conducted a poll in the south about [support] for and loyalty to the Lebanese state, the result would have been the same as in the other regions of Lebanon: overall agreement regarding loyalty to the Lebanese homeland and to the Lebanese state.

“The Lebanese Shi’ites have no framework or loyalty unique to them except that of the single Lebanese state - which must take matters into its own hands and deploy its authority throughout all Lebanese lands…”

Fearless said...

Idris from South Lebanon

You may be interested to know as I know from personal experience:
Hizbullah use religious jurisdictions to control their people (Shiite) telling them that it is forbidden by God to vote against Hizbollah or to run for office against Hizbollah.

Dimitry said...

The idea of absorbing HA into Lebanon's army is nothing new.

[Israel,] a nation that [...] undertaken every possible atrocity against humanity throughout history

Not really into history, this fellow is. In the sense that someone who claims Earth is flat is not much into science.

But hey, it you feel you cannot propose a path of action that would benefit your country without adding rediculus condemnation of Israel on the side, that's not my problem.

John Smith said...

Been away for a while…

I’ve just came back from about 3 weeks of army service in the IDF including about 10 days of active war in the Israeli artillery forces.

There were nights it seems like a movie. I heard HA rockets whistling above my head hitting Israeli towns. I saw the forests of northern Israel burning, coloring the night sky with orange. I saw the MLRS firing back leaving a trail of smoke across the sky. I heard the machine guns, the tanks, the planes, the choppers, the cannons. I heard some kind of an explosion every 10 seconds. I saw HA rockets hitting 300 feet from me. We fired back. We destroyed one HA rocket launcher. We killed 3 HA fighters. We nailed one HA anti-tank unit. The war ended. I went home back to my family. I saw my wife and kids again. I survived this round.

I met with many soldiers from different units in the front and talked to a lot of my friends that came back from the war. Everywhere I asked, Israeli combat soldiers describe the same thing – in many cases they were held back in order not to harm Lebanese civilians. Examples: A combat pilot friend of mine estimates 80-90 percent of his targets were empty fields. My artillery unit from time to time fired more than 100 shells to the same target (one spot on some empty field). A soldier I met on the front from another artillery unit said they saw HA fighters in a village bellow them but didn’t get a clearance to fire at them. 2 friends of mine (one from an anti-tanks unit, and one from an infantry unit) say the same thing. Everywhere you ask it’s the same story. It seems like the IDF was held back by the politicians in order to avoid Lebanese civilian casualties, many times increasing the risk to its own soldiers. I think that if the IDF was given a free hand, HA would have been reduced to Nasrallah and maybe another 10 people that are hiding in his bunker.

Glad to be home again.
Peace to all.

Lirun said...

that is so crazy..

all that money wasted.. lining the pockets of people who dont mind selling arms and sleeping at night..

soo many other things that could have been done with our taxes other than pounding empty fields..

enough of this insanity..

i want peace

Chas said...

John Smith,
I am glad you survived, but I hope there will never be a "next round" to test you again.
I respect individual actions and decisions were made to spare civilian casualties, but the fact remains that the toll among civilians, especially women and children, was distressingly high. If, as you say, the IDF had been given a free hand I dread to think what further carnage could have been visited on them, and with no garauntee of the outcome you suggest.
It is not "policians" that impose these limits on the actions of the military, it is the conventions on the conduct of war, which you are bound to impose on yourselves. Failure to do so, no matter what politicians or generals are telling you, constitutes a war-crime.
What you call "empty fields" are the places where farmers must walk, in times of peace, to tend their crops and livestock, and where children play - now littered with unexploded ordinance, including cluster bombs. South Lebanon is not a military training ground where the land serves no other purpose.
Anyway, that said, I am glad you are safe and back home with your family, I hope you are doing what you can to make sure this tragedy never happens again and that you will work towards the peace you wish everyone.
I for one, would like to thank you for posting - yours is not a view point we have heard very often and I find the very fact that you have taken the time to present it encouraging.



John Smith said...


I vote for the Israeli left wing parties, a great supporter of the Palestinian state, peace with everybody, human rights etc.

Purity of arms really sounded good from my armchair at home.

I’m only human.

I admit.

When HA rockets started to hit 300 feet from me I though ‘screw civilian casualties, it’s us or them now, nuke that village’.

Purity of arms must be enforced by people sitting in air conditioned-offices, following the war on CNN, because if it’s left to the soldiers on the field of battle, it doesn’t stand a chance.

Chas said...

Thanks John,
I must admit, without contradicting what I said above, in the same situation I would have felt much the same.


Chas - please visit

Boaz Arad said...

Dear Nasrallah,

I am writing you this letter because I owe you sir an apology: I didn't support you or your blessed organization when this conflict started. Hell, even before that. And for that, sir, I was wrong, and I apologize. From this day forward I am the biggest Hezbollah supporter, ever. I will wear those T-shirts, I will wave your yellow flag, and go to every pro Hezbollah rally and chant with the chanters. I am converted now. You made a believer out of me, with your victory over Israel, which totally destroyed the legend of the Israeli army, just like it was destroyed in 2000 and 73. what a fuckin resilient legend, huh? It's like the Freddy Kreuger of legends. Everytime you kill it, it just keeps coming back. This is why I urge you to destroy it once and for all this time around, and not accept the cease-fire agreement.

read all the rest about the grael HA victory:

Fearless said...

Nasrallah's lame excuses for wreaking death and destruction in Lebanon:

Hezbollah head didn’t foresee such a war

One after another, Hezbollah leaders said that they didn't anticipate the magnitude of Israel's response. It finally came from Hezbollah's number one.

Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said in a TV interview aired Sunday(NTV) that he would not have ordered the capture of two Israeli soldiers if he had known it would lead to such a war.

"We did not think, even 1 percent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me, if I had known on July 11 … that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not," he said in an interview with Lebanon's New TV station.

It's clear Nasrallah is trying to whitewash his tarnished image in Lebanon especially among the non-Shiite communities who are not so happy with what he did.

Actually what he's saying is complete nonsense. Who didn't anticipate full fledged war after the kidnapping of the 2 soldiers. This is my post on July 12. I said "brace yourself for real war." He might have expected a much milder war though.

Besides, didn't Nasrallah "win" the war? How come he has some regrets now?
Looks more like Juha than Saladin (Salâh Ad-Dîn Al-Ayyûbî) = Saladin

Chas said...

Dear Boaz,
thank-you for your letter and your apology. However, in my position I must be a realist. If we had one more victory like that one we would be militarily finished. Already peoples are whispering, "if that was victory, what would defeat look like?" I hear all things.
My troops are decimated and low on supplies, and although moral is high, that alone does not win wars.
The army of the zionist entity is practically unscathed, although their moral is low.
So please, come and cheer, wear our Tshirt, wave our flag ... I fear that is all we will be doing for a while.



Dimitry said...

John Smith

Purity of arms must be enforced by people sitting in air conditioned-offices

On the contrary. I'd say that only people who were in your position have any right to decide which acts should be concidered okay and which shouldn't, even in such situations. Only then this "purity of arms" won't be translated to betraying your troops by preventing them from properly defending themselves.

Chas, it was politics that held IDF back. Nobody else in the world is enforcing those conventions, and none are the worse to wear for that. There should be - and in fact, I understand there is, but it is simply ignored - a difference between civilians targeted and civilians hit because they were in the line of fire.

backward said...

Nasrallah admits miscalculations:

حسن نصر الله: لو علمت بحجم رد إسرائيل لما خطفنا الجنديين

why-discuss said...


what b.s! show me the fatwa!

Chas said...

I don't quite understand your point. Are you advocating the killing of civilians who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Nasrallah's statement is intersting and deserves more than a knee-jerk reaction. He is not gloating on a questionable victory, but acknowleging the reality, almost apologeticaly, something close to the truth of the situation. Perhaps there is more to this man than I had thought. Certainly not a speech that Iran would like to hear.
And it gives the Israeli's back the one thing they feared most to lose, the deterent effect of their military. Plus it looks as if the two soldiers will be freed.
Plus it looks like there will be no civil war and no Syrian involvment in Leb. Surprising turn of events.



abou al jamejem said...

The fact is that HA miscalculate the Israeli's respond to the abduction is totaly a LIE. HA knew that Israel or any other nation in the world will not sit and watch other militia attacking them in their countrie and abduct their soldiers and not responding. Ha anticipated the Israeli response and they have been planning to it all along, so the dug tunnels under the ground, and they stocked up on missels and they booby-trapped the intire area. Iran and Syria gave HA the green light to attack, and both knew the consequences of their actions.

Lirun said...

i tend to agree.. no one really looked very surprised about anything..

not a fan of conspiracy theories but it was almost as if they all had a big poker game and then said..

"guys - how about a war?"

"is july good for you?"

"hmm.. let me check.. summer! perfect.."

"ok seeya there.."

"yeah i'll be at the border.."

like some trashy low budget combat movie..

hopefully honey will emerge from the sting..

wishing us all peace..


Dimitry said...


I guess that from the point of view of the civilians, it would appear that "wrong place at wrong time" would be apt description. However, try to think about that from a moment from a soldier's point of view. You're being shot at. At your line of fire, there are enemy civilians. You can return fire and probably hit them, or you can watch as you and your friends get picked, one by one. I do not think asking them to choose the latter is moral.

As for Nassrallah's speech - if we assume he's telling what he thinks and isn't simply attemting to deal with criticism... Well, it shows clear justification to the path Israeli chose - attack rather than negotiation. Now kidnappings have price tags attached, unlike Israel's action in 2000, which made them appear pure profit.

chuck said...


nasralla is a verry smart man. he doesn't do things out of his sheer emotional responses. he is a diplomat and he knows that he is facing a difficulte criticism.
if he will say that hisballa did anticipate such a major Israeli reaction then the criticism hisballa will face from the lebanese people might hurt it more then it is already hurt.
nasralla is trying to soften the blow.
common, who is building an underground "city" of fighters
350 METERS from the border unless he is getting ready for a long term conflict ?

and a rule for u chas, never underestimate the enemy. especialy such as nasralla. i give him that, he is smart.

Chas said...

It is probably too late to respond to these posts but I will any way.
Dimitry et al
I tend to agree, and I would not like to be in the posistion where such judgements are called for. But the rules of war put the onus on the soldier and commanders in the field. It disturbs me that there is a somewhat dismissive attitude towards the issue of civilian casualties. There were, by anyones count, a very high proportion.
Let me try to put it in another light. People say civilian deaths in war are inevitable. Very well.
People also say that "blue on blue" or "friendly fire" incidents in time of war are also bound to happen. That is also the case. But if your casualties from friendly fire started to climb from 1% to 5% to 10% then 15%. Would there not come a point when you say "Hold on a minute, something is seriously wrong here."
My contention is, simply, that such a point, with respect to civilians, was passed in this war, and passed by a wide margin. Is that not cause for legitimate concern? - rather than justification?
Chuck et al
As for Nasrallah, I have my doubts as well, but it is hard to see that he needed to go so far to aswage criticism as to admit miscalculation and regret. I just can't see how he gains from this.

As far as justifying Israel's approach, it certainly re-affirms the deterent effect of the Israeli Army, but at the same time the conflict itself still leaves many questions about its effectiveness -whether that ambiguous result was worth the steamrolling of Lebanon I leave to you own consciences to decide.



Dimitry said...


Not by my count. I didn't do research, but I suspect that if you compare the civilian casualties this war to civilian casualties in any other conflict of this kind (i.e., that heavily involved populated areas), you'll find that for this war it was much lower. Of the thousands or so casualties, there were several hundreds HA - that leaves, what, ratio of roughly 1:2? Check the ratio in, just to throw an example, Vietnam. Or the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pretty sure NATO's Serbia war too. I won't even mention WWII.

Nasrallah's gain is pretty simple - his critics say that they shouldn't have attacked Israel and brought upon such a reaction. He explains that the yahood are majnun, and that no reasonable person could've expected such a responce - and this is why they couldn't be expected to take it into account. Btw, I understand also that in the very same interview he repeated the claim that Israel preapered to fight this war anyway, and their attack just changed the timetable - is that so? Because in that case, he is falt out contradiction himself here - I hope I don't need to elaborate.

Chas said...

I believe that that Israel wanted this war.
I believe that Hezbollah wanted this war.
I believe the US wanted this war.
I believe Iran wanted this war.

I think that the nature and scope and intensity of the war surprised all of them (even the Israelis)

And I regret profoundly, that the only people who did not want the war, the democraticly inclined majority in Lebanon, suffered so badly from it.



Dimitry said...

I believe that that Israel wanted this war.

And based on what, exactly, do you make this statement?

Sherri said...


Of course, Israel wanted the war. They chose the actions they took. Noone held a gun to their head and said go carpet bomb all Shiite villages and Shiite neighborhoods in Lebanon.

As Amnesty International stated:

the widespread destruction of apartments, houses, electricity and water services, roads, bridges, factories and ports ...suggests a policy of punishing both the Lebanese government and the civilian population in an effort to get them to turn against Hizbullah.

The evidence strongly suggests that the extensive destruction of public works, power systems, civilian homes and industry was deliberate and an integral part of the military strategy.

On July 13, shortly after the air strikes began, the IDF chief Of Staff Lt-Gen Dan Halutz noted that all Beirut could be included among the targets if Hizbullah targets continued to hit northern Israel: "Nothing is safe [in Lebanon], as simple as that."

On 24 July, at a briefing by a high-ranking Israeli Air Force Officer, reporters were told that the IDF Chief of Staff had ordered the military to destroy 10 buildings in Beirut for every Katyusha rocket strike on Haifa. According to the New York Times, the IDF Chief of Staff said the air strikes were aimed at keeping pressure on Lebanese officials, and delivering a message to the Lebanese government that they must take responsibility for Hizbullah's actions. He called Hizbullah "a cancer" that Lebanon must get rid of, "because if they don't their country will pay a very high price."

(MDE 180072006)

In this war, there were more civilians killed than combatants in Lebanon. Over 90% of the fatalities in Lebanon were civilians, one-third or more of them children

Your comments that the attacks on the civilian population are justified because soldiers were being shot at and the attacks are in self defense is just inaccurate. Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have not found evidence Hezbullah was using the civilian population as a human shield.

I agree with the comments in the essay and think it was a very well written essay.

John Smith,

You were writing about the bombing of open fields by Israel, was this when all the cluster bombs were being dropped. The United Nations Mine official has found, at the last count I heard, 285 different sites of cluster bombs, over 150,000 cluster bombs counted, and reported that they are still identifying about 30 new sites each day. Most were dropped within the last three days before the cease fire, and are all over and around villages in the south. Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch state their use against the civilian population constitutes war crimes. How many innocent children playing will be blown up tomorrow or 5 years from now by unexploded cluster bombs?

Dimitry said...


Israel felt enough was enough. The straw not only broke the camel's back but his kneecaps as well. That this issue was not going to be solved diplomatically (and please don't say again this happened before and Israel negotiated - this is exactly the reason why Isael couldn't negotiate now and shouldn't've negotiated then). Thatr Churchill's old maxim regarding war and shame applied equally as well to 2000 as to 1938.

This doesn't equate to "wanting this war".

Essentially, a gun was held to Israel's head, and then one holding it was Nasrallah. Israel decided it's time to remove it - past time, even.

chuck said...


i checked the amnesty international report and they r a lot more objective then what u post here !

i also don't know where u get u'r numbers ("Over 90% of the fatalities in Lebanon were civilians" WTF??)

"The briefing DOES NOT COVER in any detail the broader implications of the bombing campaign...NOR DOES IT address the attacks by Hizbullah into Israel and their impact on civilians – these are being addressed elsewhere. This briefing highlights one aspect of the conflict, but underlines the need for an urgent and comprehensive international inquiry into the conduct of the hostilities by both parties.

"Between 12 July and 14 August, a major military confrontation took place between Hizbullah and Israel, following the capture of two Israeli soldiers, and the killing of others, by Hizbullah in a raid across the border between Israel and Lebanon. Israel conducted attacks throughout Lebanon from land, sea and air, killing some 1,000 civilians. Hizbullah launched thousands of rockets on northern Israel, killing some 40 civilians. Hundreds of thousands of civilians in Israel and Lebanon were displaced.

The attacks, though widespread, particularly concentrated on certain areas.

Amnesty International delegates in south Lebanon reported that in village after village the pattern was similar: the streets, especially main streets, were scarred with artillery craters along their length. In some cases cluster bomb impacts were identified.

Business premises such as supermarkets or food stores and auto service stations and petrol stations were targeted, often with precision-guided munitions and artillery that started fires and destroyed their contents. With the electricity cut off and food and other supplies not coming into the villages, the destruction of supermarkets and petrol stations played a crucial role in forcing local residents to leave.

Chief of Staff Lt-Gen Dan Halutz noted, on the 13th july, that all Beirut could be included among the targets if Hizbullah rockets continued to hit northern Israel: "Nothing is safe [in Lebanon], as simple as that,"

at a briefing by a high-ranking Israeli Air Force officer, reporters were told that the IDF Chief of Staff had ordered the military to destroy 10 buildings in Beirut for every Katyusha rocket strike on Haifa. (later it was said that only the dahya area in beirut was severly hit).

Chief of Staff said the air strikes were aimed at keeping pressure on Lebanese officials, and delivering a message to the Lebanese government that they must take responsibility for Hizbullah’s actions.

No investigation on violations of international humanitarian law by Hizbullah is known to have been conducted by the Lebanese authorities.

Sherri said...


Concerning your comment about my objectivity regarding Amnesty International reports, I want to point out that my posts primarily are of actual quotes from their reports and news releases or other documents. Example: My last post quotes actual language from the Amnesty International Report about statements of Israeli officials.

The 90% figure for civilian fatalities was reported on Democracy Now.

I read an update on cluster bombs on the electroniclebanon website last night. On the cluster bomb strike sites count issue, over 300 strike sites have now been identified and sites expected to exceed 400, by the time remaining villages now inhabited by IDF Forces are examined. This is according to UN Mine Experts.

There are other Amnesty International Reports that do address Hezbullah attacks on Israel, one of which is a report dated July 26 (on Amnesty International Website).


Choices are made when war is resorted to. There is always a choice: talk or fight.

On this issue, alternatives to war, I just read an article, Nonviolence and the Strategy Against Terrorism, by David Cortright, in Sojourners,

Basically, the author argues the approach to dealing with terrorists/militants should be a two step response. (1)Determined law enforcement pressure against terrorist criminals, and (2)active engagement with affected communities to resolve underlying injustices.

The author (who is also the author of a book entitled Gandhi and Beyond: Nonviolence For An Age of Terrorism) states (excerpts from article):

Ethicist Michael Walzer wrote, counterterrorism "must be aimed systematically at the terrorists themselves, never at the people for whom the terrorists claim to be acting." Military acts against potential sympathizers are counterproductive and tend to drive third parties toward militancy. Lawful police action is by its nature more discriminating and is more effective polotically because it minimizes predictable backlash effects.

Bush Administration officials and many political leaders in Washington view terrorism primarily through the prism of war. Kill enogh militants, they believe, and the threat will go away. The oppposite approach is more effective and less costly in lives. Some limited use of force to apprehend militants and destroy training camps is legitimate, but unilateral war is not. In the three years since the invasion of Iraq, the number of major terrorist incidents in the world has increased sharply. War itself is a form of terrorism. Using military force to counter terrorism is like pouring gasoline on a fire. It ignites hatred and vengeance and creates a cycle of violence that can spin out of control. A better starategy is to take away the fuel that sustains the fire. Only nonviolent methods can do that, by attempting to resolve the underlying political and social factors that give rise to armed violence.

This means addressing legitimate political grievances that terrorist groups exploit-such as the Israel-Palestine dispute...These deeply-held grievances generate widespread political frustration in bitterness in many Arab and Muslim countries, including among people who condemn terrorism ...The goal should be to separate militants from their support base by resolving the political injustices that terrorists exploit.

chuck said...


i know that u post from the amnesty international site. i qouted their report as well. i'm just saying that u bring the quotes that suit u'r purpose of attacking Israel and not neccecerilly show the whole picture. u show only what surves u'r purpose and show only one side of things, the way u see it, and don't bring words that contradict u'r point of view.

how can 90% of fatalities could be civilians if the numbers reported was 1200 civilians and more then 500 hisballa killed ??
make u'r math.

i couldn't find any report in amnesty international that dates the 26th of july, and talk about hisballa (i actually couldn't find any amnesty report that talk about hisballa, and i really looked hard).

Israel attacked hundreds of sites in lebanon, droped thousand of bombs, destroyd houses bridges, etc sent foot soldiers to finish the job and caused only the death of less then 2000 people, both civilians and hisballa.

i think it proves Israel showed some restraint, and not tryed to massacre the lebanese.
as i qouted Lt.Gen.DAN HALUTS from the amnesty international report, i guess hitting bridges, factories and oil facilities was a stratigic goal of Israeli fighters in order to cut off hisballa's suplly and in order to drive the people to the north of lebanon.

it could have been a lot easier to just blow the region to hell.

as for hisballa, the rockets that were fired upon us in the north of Israel were purly targetting civilian areas, in order to hit as many civilians as possible.

trying to hit the launchers, wether they r in civilian houses or in an open field, was neccecery in order to avoid civilian casualties inside Israel. and i'll tell u what ? if it's my life and my families life or the life of an innocent (or maybe not so innocent) lebanes whom happened to be living in the house which the missile launcher was firing from, i'd prefer the house to get hit along with the missile.
i guess u would probobly prefer to sacrifice u'r life in order to save the lebanese guys life, because u r so pure hearted, and Israelies r so selfish. what can we do, we apriciate our lives and our own people's lives.
which is more then can be said about hisballa.

chuck said...

about the post concerning terrorism, well, i agree that sometimes it's not the right thing to attack the terrorists themselves, but untill someone comes up with a better idea then i guess everything is still a theory.
i tdoesn't aplly to all terrorist activities. sometimes it does prove usfull to hit the terrorists themselves, especially when this is face to face engagment, like in lebanon. in this war Israel managed to eliminate the threat on the north border. and hopfully the political activity that goes on, and maybe a peace treaty with lebanon will help to reduce it's power and control in lebanon to the minimum.

Dimitry said...


HA don't wear uniforms. Any Hiazballon who was killed in a bombing is automatically a civilian in those death counts. That should explain the 90% figure.


To elaborate on chuck's point - one of the best way to decieve is tell only part of the truth. Context is important - the very same setence, the same description of an event, can mean totally opposite things given different context.

Yes, of course, there's always a choice. When jumping from an airplane, you have a choice of whether to open the parachute or not. Somehow, people tend to neglect the latter option. Israel had a choice - simply one of the options was completely unacceptable, the equivalent of not opening the chute in the above example.

As for the esteemed writer, the moment he invents a weapon that can sneak up to a person, sniff whether he's a terrorists or not, and kill him or not accordingly, I'll buy his strategy wholeheartedly. As it is, he's busy convincing us that cars and jets cause pollution, and is proposing flapping hands and flying as alternative method.

Sherri said...


I did not make any statements out of context from Amnesty International, who do make findings of suspected war crimes violations by Israel. In response to a different post I typed the complete summary statements from the most recent Amnesty International Report (which Chuck only partially recites above), except for some statements of Israeli army and government officials, which I included in my response to this posted article.

The last update on the war crimes issues I have heard is that 4 lawsuits have been filed so far against Israel, all outside Lebanon. There are still investigations going on within Lebanon.

The 90% civilian fatality rate came from Democracy Now. I do not know the source of their figures. We should know the Hezbullah casualty figure, since they make a big issue out of their funerals. This is all the information I have on this.

Do you think there were fighters that were non-Hezbullah? Have you read anything about this issue? I did hear a statement made at the beginning of the conflict by a leader in the other Shiite group that there have been members of his group in the fighting from the first battle.