Saturday, July 29, 2006

Straw Leads Cabinet Revolt on Israel

It looks like Tony Blair is standing on his own now.

He even had a speech changed to remove any suggestion of condeming Israel.

Mr Blair, who is on a five-day visit to the United States, refused to utter any criticism of Israeli aggression and even rewrote a speech to make it clear that he pins the blame for the crisis solely on Hezbollah terrorists.

Has Beens

In his lastest column, Charles Moore has a go at Europeans who are using the war in Lebanon to make cheap shots at Israel:

It is as if, having relinquished power, we Europeans now wish our own powerlessness upon the rest of the world. We make vaporous and offensive Nazi comparisons. We preach that unilateral action is always wrong. That position can be maintained only by people who do not have to make life-and-death decisions. It is cheap and immoral.


Soxblog makes a simple point that is often overlooked by those who disagree with the 'ceasefire' camp:

But I wish those urging a ceasefire would for once be asked what they think a ceasefire is supposed to accomplish. In the real world, all a ceasefire will do is give Hezbollah the breathing space it needs to recover from a grievous miscalculation.

But those urging a ceasefire are never required to explain themselves. After all, they are purportedly on the side of the angels, craving peace. The rest of us have to explain ourselves because we’re a bunch of bloodthirsty warmongers. It would be wonderful to see a widely public debate on the purportedly salubrious effects of a ceasefire.

If you are in the 'fire' camp, you should click here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Dialogue is the Answer

Hezbollah official Mahmoud Komati, deputy chief of the Hezbollah's political arm, did not expect such a strong Israeli response to the kidnappings. Needless to say, the kidnappings might not have taken place if he did.

Yahoo reports:

"The truth is — let me say this clearly — we didn't even expect (this) response ... that (Israel) would exploit this operation for this big war against us," said Komati.


Peter Tapsell, a Tory MP, thought it apt to compare the Israeelee oppression of the Lebanese to "the Nazi atrocity on the Jewish quarter of Warsaw".

Haaretz reports:

Sir Peter Tapsell, a Tory MP, said Tuesday that British Prime Minister Tony Blair was "colluding" with U.S. President George W. Bush in giving Israel the okay to wage "unlimited war" in Lebanon - a war crime he claimed was "gravely reminiscent of the Nazi atrocity on the Jewish quarter of Warsaw."

He hasn't been reading London English and Arabic paper Al-Hayat recently by any chance, in which former columnist Jihad Al-Khazen made a similar comparison, has he?

Memri reports:

"The latest Israeli offensive reminds me of what I read about the Warsaw Ghetto. This was a poor Jewish neighborhood in the Polish capital, which was targeted by the racist Nazis. After the German occupation of Poland in 1939, the Jews in the Ghetto suffered all forms of starvation, deportation and genocide. Some Jewish partisans revolted on April 19, 1943. They shot and threw grenades at German patrols. The Nazis responded by shelling houses block by block and rounding up or killing any Jew they could capture. Significant resistance ended on April 23, and the uprising ended on May 16.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Saudi Changes Tack?

After criticising Hezbollah, it looks like Saudi Arabia want the war to end. (Yahoo)

Officials from U.S. ally Saudi Arabia came to the White House to personally request that Bush help press for an immediate end to the violence between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Pro Israel Rally, London

Here are some pictures from the pro Israel rally held in London yesterday:

Hasta la vista, Nasrallah!

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke at the pro Israel rally in California on Sunday. Here's what he had to say:

"There is nothing Israel wants more than to live in peace. That is why I am happy to be here to be supportive of that here today ...Am Israel Chai...I'll be back".

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Old Dog Learns New Trick?

BBC admit that many dead Lebanese 'civilians' may be 'terrorists' in veiled statement.

Arutz Sheva reports:

( The British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) has admitted that many of the victims of Israeli retaliation in Lebanon are terrorists and not innocent civilians. A BBC reporter said he saw Hizbullah terrorists using a private home and added, "It is difficult to quantify who is a terrorist and who is a civilian."

Media reports have emphasized that Israeli air strikes have killed more than 350 Lebanese civilians, prompting accusations that the IDF is carrying out "collective punishment" on the country.

Hezbollah Sleeper Cells "Reawakened"

Eager not to miss out on the fun when there's Jihad to be done, Hezbollah cells outside of Lebanon are reportedly doing what they do best.

Jpost reports:

Hizbullah "sleeper" terror cells set up outside Lebanon with Iranian assistance have been put on standby The Jerusalem Post learned on Sunday, and are likely planning attacks against Jewish and Israeli targets throughout the world.

The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) confirmed to the Post Sunday night that it had instructed embassies, consulates and Jewish institutions it was responsible for abroad to raise their level of awareness in light of the conflict in the North.

The assumption within Military Intelligence is that Hizbullah would only attack targets abroad if it felt pushed into a corner. According to this thinking, the Islamist group hesitates to carry out such attacks because it does not want to be associated with Global Jihad and al-Qaida.

While at the same time allowing the Lebanese government to negotiate with Israel. (Jpost)

Hizbullah agreed to allow the Lebanese government to begin negotiations regarding kidnapped IDF soldiers, speaker of the Lebanese Parliament Nabih Berri revealed on Sunday.

Berri stressed that prior to any talks on a prisoner swap, a cease-fire must be in place.

Earlier, Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh told a French news agency that the soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, were in "good physical condition."

Peace talks and Jihad? ... hmmmm ... now where have I seen this before?

Sharon's Condition Worsens

It is tragic that someone who has done so much for Israel has to suffer so much.

Haaretz reports:

Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's medical condition has deteriorated, officials at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, where Sharon is being hospitalized, said Sunday.

Officials said doctors discovered a decline in the functioning of Sharon's kidneys and that the former prime minister was accumulating liquids in his body.

Medical examinations also showed changes in Sharon's brain tissue. Sharon's family is thoroughly aware and has been updated on the former PM's condition, and remains constantly by his bedside in the hospital's Department of Respiratory Care and Rehabilitation.

Olmert uses "D" word ...

... and it wasn't "disproportionate".

Haaretz with the scoop:

"Prime Minister Fouad Siniora is a partner for dialogue, and perhaps this will be made possible," the prime minister said at the conclusion of the weekly cabinet meeting.

Despite the fact that his party have formed a coalition with Hezbollah and his army reportedly gave the location of an Israeli ship so that it could be attacked.


On Friday, four Israel Navy seamen were killed when the missile ship Hanit was hit by Hizbullah - which reportedly acted on information provided by the Lebanese army.

Shite! Saudi Fatwa Against Support for Hezbollah

Abdullah bin Jabreen, one of Saudi Arabia's leading Wahhabi sheiks, has issued a fatwa declaring it illegal to support Hezbollah. (NY Sun)

CAIRO, Egypt — One of Saudi Arabia's leading Wahhabi sheiks, Abdullah bin Jabreen has issued a strongly worded religious edict, or fatwa, declaring it unlawful to support, join or pray for Hezbollah, the Shiite militias lobbing missiles into northern Israel.

The day after Hezbollah abducted two Israeli soldiers on July 12, Sheik Hamid al-Ali issued an informal statement titled "The Sharia position on what is going on." In it, the Kuwaiti based cleric condemned the imperial ambitions of Iran regarding Hezbollah's cross border raid.

The surprising move demonstrates that Sunni Muslim fundamentalists in the Middle East are deeply divided over whether Moslems should support Hezbollah, Iran's Shiite proxies in the war raging in Lebanon.

It was previously thought that the condemnation coming from the Arab world against Hezbollah may have been little more than lip service.

However, it looks like the Sunni-Shiite split has now become so deep that Saudi Wahabists are even prepared to back Israel against them.

It is quite possible that many in the Arab world feel Iran is becoming increasingly powerful and they are worried about the effects of a change in the balance of power in the region.

This would explain why the Saudi government recently purchased $6bn dollars of arms from America.

War Update

It looks like Israel has been successful in her attacks so far. Nasrallah has been weakened to the extent that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have taken over control of Hezbollah from him.

Iran and Syria fear that Israel could go further than Lebanon, so Syria is getting ready for war and Iran is stepping up efforts to arm Hezbollah.

Israel now has to act bearing in mind that the conflict could suddenly escalate at any moment and has to make doubly sure that the Syria-Lebanon border is secure as Iran steps up efforts to deliver rockets to Hezbollah.

DebkaFile reports that Syria is getting ready for war and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have taken over command of Hezbollah from Nasrallah:

Our sources add Syrian fighter pilots are sitting in their cockpits.

These orders went out from Syrian president Bashar Assad July 20 when Iran’s Revolutionary Guards commander Brig.-Gen Yahya Rahim Safavi (picture) assumed command of the Lebanon war from Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Tehran’s direct military intervention in the conflict was accompanied by an Iranian weapons airlift which began landing Wednesday, July 19, at the Abu Ad Duhur military airfield north of Homs. The deliveries include large quantities of new missiles, including the long-range Zelzal and Fajr 3 and Fajr 5 missiles, Katyusha rockets, anti-tank and anti-air missiles sent out from RG HQ in Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf.

Haaaretz News ticker:
Syrian minister: We`ll join conflict if IDF enters Lebanon, approaches Syria (Reuters)

Lebanese Foreign Minister says hostages in good health. (YNet)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Al-Ghurabaa Proscription Fails

Al-Ghurabaa has allegedly already formed a huge number of splinter groups, even though they haven't been officially banned yet. This has happened so quickly that it is almost as if they were prepared for this eventuality.

The Guardian reports:

A British Islamist group which is to be outlawed under new anti-terror laws has already formed scores of front organisations in an attempt to ensure its survival, according to investigators in New York.

Al-Ghurabaa, formed by Omar Bakri Mohammed before he fled to Lebanon in the wake of the 7/7 bombings, heads the list of four organisations which are to be proscribed under legislation which prohibits the glorification of terrorism.

However, an investigation by police in New York - where al-Ghurabaa raised funds and recruited members under another name - alleges that it has formed 81 front organisations, support groups and affiliates in six different countries. The overwhelming majority are based in London, the home counties, the Midlands, Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Obvious Solution

Ahmadinejad asks Germany to help him solve the Zionist problem. (Ynet)


Merkel strongly rejects letter. (Yahoo)

"Israel's right to exist is a key part of our state policy and he calls this into question time and again", she said.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Compare and Contrast

A few days after the Saudi SPA agency implicity condemned Hezbollah for "uncalculated adventures ... inside [Lebanon]", Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh accused Israel of "crazy adventures in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Lebanon".

This similarity in language and perverse reversal of the original criticism of Hezbollah seems to indicate that Haniyeh, like many other Palestinians, feels that he and his fellow extremists are now regarded as pariahs by much of the Arab world.

Arab Support for Israel

It has already been widely reported that much of the Arab world is turning against Hezbollah and Hamas, mainly because it is feared that the current conflict could easily escalate and engulf the region.

In this piece, Ahmed Al-Jarallah, the Editor-in-Chief of the Arab Times argues that the dismantling of Hezbollah and Hamas by Israel is in the interest of the Arab world.

It is worth noting that the article is essentially fleshing out the statement made by the Saudi SPA News Agency last week.

No to Syria, Iran agents

PEOPLE of Arab countries, especially the Lebanese and Palestinians, have been held hostage for a long time in the name of “resisting Israel.” Arab governments have been caught between political obligations and public opinion leading to more corruption in politics and economics. Forgetting the interests of their own countries the Hamas Movement and Hezbollah have gone to the extent of representing the interests of Iran and Syrian in their countries. These organizations have become the representatives of Syria and Iran without worrying about the consequences of their action.

Recently Hamas kidnapped an Israeli soldier and bombed Israeli settlements with locally manufactured missiles. Soon Hezbollah followed suit, kidnapping two Israeli soldiers. Both these organizations claimed they had kidnapped Israeli soldiers to exchange them for Arab prisoners who are being held in Israeli jails. The fact that Hamas and Hezbollah gave the same reason for kidnapping Israeli soldiers gives us a glimpse their agenda, which is similar to the one followed by Syria and Iran in their conflict with the United States.

While the people of Palestine and Lebanon are paying the price of this bloody conflict, the main players, who caused this conflict, are living in peace and asking for more oil from Arab countries to support the facade of resisting Israel. With the Palestinian Authority close to collapse and the Lebanese government beginning to give up responsibility for what is happening in its territory, Saudi Arabia has been forced to come out of its diplomatic routine and indirectly hold Hezbollah responsible for what is happening Lebanon.

Without mentioning Hezbollah by name Saudi Arabia blamed certain “elements” inside Lebanon for the violence with Israel and said “it is necessary to make a distinction between legitimate resistance and uncalculated adventures adopted by certain elements within Lebanon without the knowledge of legal Lebanese authorities.” While reiterating its support for Palestinian and Lebanese resistance against Israeli occupation, Saudi Arabia has clearly said it is against irresponsible adventures undertaken by certain elements in the region without consulting the legal authorities putting all Arab nations at risk. The Kingdom has also said “these elements must take responsibility for their irresponsible actions and they alone should end the crisis created by them.”
This angry response from Saudi Arabia has politically isolated Hezbollah and Hamas besides holding them responsible for their actions.

This attitude of Saudi Arabia, which has been doing all it can to protect the Arab world from Israeli aggression, is enough to unmask the adventurers, who have violated the rights of their own countries and tried put their people under the guardianship of foreign countries like Iran and Syria. A battle between supporters and opponents of these adventurers has begun, starting from Palestine to Tehran passing through Syria and Lebanon. This war was inevitable as the Lebanese government couldn’t bring Hezbollah within its authority and make it work for the interests of Lebanon. Similarly leader of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas has been unable to rein in the Hamas Movement.

Unfortunately we must admit that in such a war the only way to get rid of “these irregular phenomena” is what Israel is doing. The operations of Israel in Gaza and Lebanon are in the interest of people of Arab countries and the international community.

How do they do it?

How do the IDF manage to not only save the lives its citizens from suicide attacks, but also the life of the would-be bomber?

Jpost reports:

Security forces caught a suspected Palestinian suicide bomber in Hod Hasharon on Wednesday who was believed to be on the way to carry out a suicide attack inside Israel.

The level of security alert was lowered and an enormous traffic jam in the center of the country was cleared after police checkpoints on roads and highways were removed.

Police forces earlier found a car which may have been used to transport the suspected terrorist who had infiltrated Israel near Kfar Saba.

The level of security alert in the Sharon had been raised to the highest following the terror warning.

Iranian Hezbollah Threaten American and Israeli Interests

Yahoo news reports:

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's Hizbollah, which claims links to the Lebanese group of the same name, said on Tuesday it stood ready to attack Israeli and U.S. interests worldwide.

"We have 2,000 volunteers who have registered since last year," said Iranian Hizbollah's spokesman Mojtaba Bigdeli, speaking by telephone from the central seminary city of Qom.

"They have been trained and they can become fully armed. We are ready to dispatch them to every corner of the world to jeopardise Israel and America's interests. We are only waiting for the Supreme Leader's green light to take action. If America wants to ignite World War Three ... we welcome it," he said.


FBI sits up and takes note. (Yahoo)

WASHINGTON - The fighting in the Middle East has prompted the FBI to increase its focus on the worldwide activities of the Islamic militant group Hezbollah, but the bureau said Wednesday it has no credible intelligence pointing to an imminent attack in the United States.

IDF: Hizbullah preventing civilians from leaving villages in southern Lebanon

Ynet reports:

The IDF has found that Hizbullah is preventing civilians from leaving villages in southern Lebanon. Roadblocks have been set up outside some of the villages to prevent residents from leaving, while in other villages Hizbullah is preventing UN representatives from entering, who are trying to help residents leave. In two villages, exchanges of fire between residents and Hizbullah have broken out. (Hanan Greenberg)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Apparent Change in Arab Opinion

Could it all end happily ever after? (NYSun)

Dear Brethren, the War With Israel Is Over

July 7, 2006

As Israel enters the third week of an incursion into the same Gaza Strip it voluntarily evacuated a few months ago, a sense of reality among Arabs is spreading through commentary by Arab pundits, letters to the editor, and political talk shows on Arabic-language TV networks.The new views are stunning both in their maturity and in their realism. The best way I can think of to convey them is in the form of a letter to the Palestinian Arabs from their Arab friends:

Dear Palestinian Arab brethren:

The war with Israel is over.

You have lost. Surrender and negotiate to secure a future for your children.

We, your Arab brothers, may say until we are blue in the face that we stand by you, but the wise among you and most of us know that we are moving on, away from the tired old idea of the Palestinian Arab cause and the "eternal struggle" with Israel.

Dear friends, you and your leaders have wasted three generations trying to fight for Palestine, but the truth is the Palestine you could have had in 1948 is much bigger than the one you could have had in 1967, which in turn is much bigger than what you may have to settle for now or in another 10 years. Struggle means less land and more misery and utter loneliness.

At the moment, brothers, you would be lucky to secure a semblance of a state in that Gaza Strip into which you have all crowded, and a small part of the West Bank of the Jordan. It isn't going to get better. Time is running out even for this much land, so here are some facts, figures, and sound advice, friends.

You hold keys, which you drag out for television interviews, to houses that do not exist or are inhabited by Israelis who have no intention of leaving Jaffa, Haifa, Tel Aviv, or West Jerusalem. You shoot old guns at modern Israeli tanks and American-made fighter jets, doing virtually no harm to Israel while bringing the wrath of its mighty army down upon you. You fire ridiculously inept Kassam rockets that cause little destruction and delude yourselves into thinking this is a war of liberation. Your government, your social institutions, your schools, and your economy are all in ruins.

Your young people are growing up illiterate, ill, and bent on rites of death and suicide, while you, in effect, are living on the kindness of foreigners, including America and the United Nations. Every day your officials must beg for your daily bread, dependent on relief trucks that carry food and medicine into the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, while your criminal Muslim fundamentalist Hamas government continues to fan the flames of a war it can neither fight nor hope to win.

In other words, brothers, you are down, out, and alone in a burnt-out landscape that is shrinking by the day.

What kind of struggle is this? Is it worth waging at all? More important, what kind of miserable future does it portend for your children, the fourth or fifth generation of the Arab world's have-nots?

We, your Arab brothers, have moved on.

Those of us who have oil money are busy accumulating wealth and building housing, luxury developments, state-of-the-art universities and schools, and new highways and byways. Those of us who share borders with Israel, such as Egypt and Jordan, have signed a peace treaty with it and are not going to war for you any time soon. Those of us who are far away, in places like North Africa and Iraq, frankly could not care less about what happens to you.

Only Syria continues to feed your fantasies that someday it will join you in liberating Palestine, even though a huge chunk of its territory, the entire Golan Heights, was taken by Israel in 1967 and annexed. The Syrians, my friends, will gladly fight down to the last Palestinian Arab.

Before you got stuck with this Hamas crowd, another cheating, conniving, leader of yours,Yasser Arafat, sold you a rotten bill of goods — more pain, greater corruption, and millions stolen by his relatives — while your children played in the sewers of Gaza.

The war is over. Why not let a new future begin?


He wrote an article about it here. You should read it all.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Letter to the Editor

A Times reader makes Israel's case:

Sir, Unfortunately for Lebanon, when terrorists form part of your Government, you can’t disclaim responsibility for their military invasion of a neighbour country to kill and kidnap.

That’s an act of war and in war it is often necessary, and certainly legitimate, for the country that you attacked to bomb roads, bridges, airports, power stations and armaments storage that your side is using to wage war against them.

If your side’s rocket-launchers and gun factories are located in homes and residential areas, then they too are a legitimate target. If you don’t like it, stop it.

Bondi, Australia

Bush uses S word

The Mysteries of Life ...

The Arabs condemn Hezbollah:

The anti-Hizbullah coalition, which appears to be growing with every Israeli missile that drops on the heads of Hizbullah leaders and headquarters, is spearheaded by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. These three countries, together with many Arab commentators and political analysts, are convinced that the leaders of Teheran and Damascus are using Hizbullah to divert attention from Iran's nuclear program and Syria's involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.
The Saudis were the first to openly criticize Hizbullah, paving the way for other Arab countries to follow suit. The message coming out of these countries is that the Arabs and Muslims can't afford to allow an irresponsible and adventurous organization like Hizbullah to drag the region to war. Government spokesmen and officials, as well as prominent Arab editors and commentators, have shown no sympathy for Hizbullah while appearing on pan-Arab TV networks like Al-Jazeera and Abu Dhabi.

While the EU attack Israel:

EU foreign ministers have urged Israel "not to resort to disproportionate action" when defending itself against Hezbollah attacks, while member states are evacuating their own nationals after joint EU plans to bring Europeans home proved troublesome.

200km Range Missile Misfired by Hezbollah

Haaretz reports:

Eleven wounded when Haifa building collapses following rocket strike

By Yuval Azoulay, Amos Harel and Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondents, Haaretz Service and Agencies

The Israel Defense Forces on Monday said it believed Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon attempted to fire an Iranian-made missile with a range of 200 km at Israel which malfunctioned and fell onto Lebanese territory.

The falling missile, described as a Zilzal, was the likely source of Lebanese reports that an Israel Defense Forces aircraft had been hit and brought down over Lebanon.


It turns out this happened because the IAF hit the missile while it was in a launcher truck. (Debka)

UK Islamic Militant Groups Banned

The Times reports:

Islamist militant groups Al-Ghurabaa and the Saved Sect were today named by the Home Secretary as the first to be banned under new legislation outlawing the glorification of terrorism.

Maybe Tony Blair saw this video.

Update (21/07/06):

MCB spokesman Bunglawala disagrees with this decision. "Calling for establishing a state with Islamic values should not be a crime", he told Islam Online.

Hezbollah and the UN

A lot of news agencies are carrying stories suggesting that the UN could play a peacekeeping role in Lebanon after the current fighting is over.

It is important to remember what happened when UNIFIL (UN Interim Force in Lebanon) was supposed to maintain peace along the Israel-Lebanon border in 2000. Three Israeli soldiers were kidnapped during a border patrol near the Shebaa Farms, although the incident was clearly visible from the UNIFIL observation post four hundred yards away. (Dore Gold, Tower of Babble p203) UNIFIL's knowledge of what was going on and inability to act was made clear a few days later when the Daily Star in Beirut carried an article containing "interviews with UNIFIL troops who witnessed the snatch". (Nicholas Blanford, the Daily Star)

The failure of UNIFIL to do anything just six years ago shows that another kidnapping could be the consequence of the same mistake being made again.

Israel Latest

Kassam attack on Sderot: two slightly wounded. (Haaretz)

Haaretz newsflash: 16:13 IDF hits five trucks in Lebanon that were carrying Katyusha rockets (Channel 10)

Six wounded in rocket attack on Haifa. (Haaretz)

Bush expresses frustration to Blair at G8 summit, unaware that microphone was switched on. (Jpost)

"See, the irony is what they really need to do is to get Syria to get Hizbullah to stop doing this shit and it's over," Bush told Blair in a discussion before the Group of Eight leaders began their lunch.

Iranian FM calls for ceasefie and prisoner swap. (Jpost)

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Monday that a cease-fire and an exchange of prisoners would be acceptable and fair in the Israeli-Lebanese conflict.
Mottaki was speaking after talks with Syrian Vice-President Farouk al-Sharaa.
"We believe that we should think of an acceptable and fair (deal) to resolve this," he said. "In fact, there can be a cease-fire followed by a prisoner swap."

Arab media report F16 plane hit, IAF denies report. (Ynet)

Police detain Al Jazeera film crew for third time. (Haaretz)

Joke du Jour

Different perspectives on the Zidane headbutt. My favourite is the Japanese one.

Nasrallah in Hiding?

According to an IDF intellegence officer. (Ynet)

Israel has information about places where the rockets are being hidden, and the Air Force is engaged in intercepting them. An officer from the intelligence department said that it appears Nasrallah has not dyed his beard for days, and the reason is simple – "he has not left the pit where he is hiding."

IDF Begin Ground Invasion in South Lebanon

Jpost reports:

A government spokesman said Monday afternoon that IDF ground forces have entered southern Lebanon to attack Hizbullah bases along the border in order to push the terrorist groups out of rocket-firing range.

It looks like John (OP-FOR) has accurately predicted the IDF's intentions. (See "Israel Preparing for Possible Ground Incursion?" post below)


It was only a brief incursion. (Jpost)

A government spokesman said Monday afternoon that IDF ground forces had briefly entered southern Lebanon to target Hizbullah bases along the border in order to push the terrorist group out of rocket-firing range.

Israel Latest

Rockets hit Tiberias, Safed, Haifa and Southern Golan. (Haaretz)

Iranian FM visits Syria to discuss situation, Khamenei and Syria make threats. (Haaretz)

On Sunday, Iran threatened "unimaginable damage" to Israel if Syria were to be attacked. Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Hezbollah was winning its fight against Israel.
"Thanks to the power of Hezbollah, the Lebanese resistance has disturbed the dream of the Zionists," Khamenei said Sunday in a speech broadcast on state television.
Syria has also warned that any attack would be by "a firm and direct response whose timing and methods are unlimited."

This meeting, combined with the fact that Iran and Syria have made little effort to distance themselves from Nasrallah in the past few days, indicated that there can be little doubt that Iran and Syria are directly involved in backing Hezbollah. Despite the threats, I do not think Syria would pose a significant military threat if Hezbollah were to be taken out of the picture, should Israel decide to attack, due to the IAF's aerial superiority, which was made clear when IAF planes flew over Assad's summer residence last month.
On the other hand, Israel must still be wary about Iran. Even though the arrow missile defence could negate the threat of long range Shehab missile attacks, it is still generally thought that Hezbollah, the terror group backed by Tehran, has the capability to stike Jewish or Israeli targets abroad.

Israel Latest

IDF soldier killed in Nablus. (Haaretz)

IAF Commander: Only a fraction of Israel's power used. (Jpost)

IDF to set up buffer zone at end of campaign. (Haaretz)

Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Monday that Israel aims to create a buffer zone in south Lebanon, from where Hezbollah has been pounding Israel with rockets for the past six days.
"One of the aims of the [military] operation is to establish a security area in Lebanon, without the presence of IDF soldiers," Peretz said.

Lebanese government may have given Hezbollah ship location in attack on Friday. (Jpost)

On Friday, four Israel Navy seamen were killed when the missile ship Hanit was hit by Hizbullah - which reportedly acted on information provided by the Lebanese army. With this in mind, can Lebanon's military be trusted to act as a protective force in the south?

Israel may consent to International Peace Keeping force in Lebanon, although the Prime Minister's Office said, "We are not even close to that point," and that Israel wanted to see the Lebanese army deploy along Israel's northern border. (Jpost)

Palestinian suicide bomber attack in Jerusalem thwarted. (Ynet)

David Horovitz, Jpost: Nasrallah cornered, but still dangerous.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Israel Latest

Hezbollah hits Afula. (Haaretz)

A barrage of Katyusha rockets fired by Hezbollah militants in Lebanon late Sunday landed in the lower Galilee's Jezreel Valley for the first time. (Click here for map)
Rockets landed in the city of Afula and the surrounding communities of Upper Nazareth, Migdal Ha'emek and Givat Ela at 11 P.M. At 50 kilometers inland from the northern border, this was the longest range rocket to hit Israel. There were no reports of injuries.
The Shi'ite guerilla group Hezbollah still has at its disposal a significant arsenal "of very many rockets of all kinds," Israel Air Force Commander Major General Elyezer Shkedy told reporters at a news briefing on Sunday.

Israel bombs Hamas office in Gaza. (Haaretz)

Israel strikes missile launcher used to attack Haifa. (Ynet)

Israel Latest

IDF prepares for ground assault against Hezbollah. (Jpost)

Al-Jazeera film crew arrested broadcasting live video of Haifa oil refineries. (Ynet)

Nasrallah threatens Israel in film appearance. He claims the video was taped at 1PM Sunday, so it is unlikely that he was hit during the IDF assault. (Ynet)

"As long as the enemy acts without limitations, it is our right to act similarly," he said.
"If Israel thinks that our missiles cannot reach beyond Haifa and Tiberias, then it is wrong. If you think Hizbullah cannot stand firm in this confrontation, then your government and army ate deceiving you," he told the Israeli citizens."Hezbollah is not fighting a battle for Hezbollah or even for Lebanon but for the Islamic nation," he said. He denied Israeli claims that Iran had sent members of its elite Revolutionary Guards to help Hezbollah. "I completely deny the presence of any Iranian troops," he said. "Lebanese are the ones firing these weapons …They talk about Iranians to diminish and humiliate us as Lebanese and Arabs that we don't have the capabilities and experience."

Ship Attack was Preventable

The missile attack on an Israeli ship which killed four soldiers could have been prevented if the anti missile defence system was active. (Ynet)

Blair shows support for Israel

PM Blair defends Israel, blames Syria and Iran for supporting Hezbollah. (BBC Politics Show)

JON SOPEL: Do you think Israel is using excessive force, as the Russians clearly think?

TONY BLAIR: You see I think - we've got to understand how this began with Israel, it began by Israeli soldiers being killed, some of the soldiers being kidnapped, rockets being fired from the Lebanon by Hizbollah, in to Israel, and though this is a difficult thing to say, I think it has to be said, I don't think anybody really believes that this is just about Hizbollah and Israel. We are very worried about the influence of both Syria and Iran in respect of this and the, the only way we are going to get a calming down, a cease fire, restraint shown on all sides is if we deal with the underlying conditions, which are the reason why this conflict between Israel and Hizbollah has come about.

JON SOPEL: Is there any sign of anything calming down yet?

TONY BLAIR: No, because I think it's extremely difficult, erm, obviously Israel feels itself under attack from Hizbollah, and then of course Israel retaliates and then of course the Lebanese situation becomes a lot more difficult and Lebanese democracy is, is fragile but important to, to support and sustain. But the only way we're going to get anything done in this situation, both in respect of what's happening in the Gaza and in respect of the Lebanon, is if we deal with the underlying causes that are giving rise to that. And that means one, that we sort out the situation between Israel and Palestine, when you can get back in to negotiating a two-state solution, within the dependent Palestinian state and secure Israel, and then secondly, that we remove the influence of Hizbollah to disrupt both the prospects in the Lebanon and the prospects in the wider region. Hizbollah, I'm afraid, encouraged and supported both by Syrian and Iran.

Nasrallah injured?

Nasrallah has been injured according to an Israel Channel 2 report, although this is not confirmed. (Ynet)

Israel’s Channel 2 TV reported Sunday that Hizbullah Chief Hassan Nasrallah was injured following an Israel Air Force attack in south Beirut. This report has not been confirmed by the IDF.
However, according to the Al-Jazeera news agency, a senior Hizbullah official denied that Nasrallah had been injured in the IAF strike.

Update: Probably not. (Haaretz)

Palestinians want to go to Lebanon to Attack Israel

Jpost reports:

Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have expressed their desire to travel to Lebanon to join Hizbullah in the current confrontation with Israel, Palestinian Authority security officials here said over the weekend.

"Many young men, including members of the Palestinian security forces, want to join the fight against Israel in Lebanon," one official told The Jerusalem Post, "We have thus far received hundreds of requests from people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip who have expressed their desire to join the Lebanese resistance forces."

Israel Latest

IDF continues operations in Gaza overnight. (IDF)

Syria threatens Israel with retaliation if attacked. (Haaretz)

"Any aggression against Syria will be met with a firm and direct response whose timing and methods are unlimited," Syria's official news agency quoted Information Minister Mohsen Bilal as saying.

Hezbollah rocket attack on Israel Railway Depot in Haifa, nine killed. (Haaretz)

Mofaz: rocket was Syrian made. (Jpost)

More rockets hit Israel. (Jpost)

Home Front Command calls on Tel Aviv residents to be ready for possible attack. (YNet)

Israel hits south Beirut. (Ynet)

Olmert statement. (Ynet)

Olmert said: "This is a difficult morning for us all. The severe attacks in Haifa join the lethal attacks in other areas of the country. This is the criminal war of Hizbullah against the nation and its residents. We have no intention of bending to these threats. They will fail. There is no time limit. Our cause is just. Every nation in the world would respond like us."

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Israel Latest

Ynet: Israel deploys Patriot missile batteries in Haifa

Israel Latest

Memri TV: Film of Hamas preparing tunnels, terrorists getting ready for war.

Hezbollah hits Israeli naval ship, four killed. Hezbollah accitdently hits Egyptian civilian ship.

Update: Missile was Iranian made.

"We can confirm that it was hit by an Iranian-made missile launched by Hezbollah. We see this as very profound fingerprint of Iranian involvement in Hezbollah," Nehushtan said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Bush blames Hezbollah, Ynet reports:

‘Best way to stop the violence is to understand why it occurred in the first place - and that's because Hizbullah has been launching rocket attacks out of Lebanon into Israel.’

Hebollah leaders leaving south Beirut.

Gaza: Hamas Finance Ministry bombed, Hamas member killed in separate incident.

Lebanese police say fifteen killed in Israeli missile strike on van, south Lebanon. Lebanon: death total so far is seventy, mostly civilians.

Syria offers support to Hezbollah, Ynet reports:

"The Syrian people are ready to extend full support to the Lebanese people and their heroic resistance to remain steadfast and confront the barbaric Israeli aggression and its crimes," said a communique from the party's national command issued after a meeting.

Israel gives Syria 72 hour ultimatum to stop Hezbollah attacks. (Ynet)

Friday, July 14, 2006

Egypt-Gaza Border Infiltrated

This from Haaretz:

Palestinian militants forced open a border gate between Egypt and Gaza on Friday, wounding an Egyptian officer before letting hundreds of people who had been trapped on the Egyptian side of the border to get into Gaza.

Armed militants stood by as people carrying suitcases crossed into Gaza. Some walked through on crutches while others walked or ran through the gate.

Egyptian police Capt. Mohammed Abdel Hadi said masked Palestinian militants firing guns broke into the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing, clearing the way for the trapped Gazans.


Getty Images: Gunmen probably Hamas members.

Israel Latest

Haaretz reports:

Two people killed in Moshav Meron rocket attack Israel hits Hezbollah headquarters in south Beirut

Israel Destroys Hezbollah Rocket Stockpiles

This could be very significant, as Hezbollah's capacity to strike the Zionist Occupiers will be weakened. This also suggests the IDF has good intelligence sources on Hezbollah's activities in Lebanon.

From Haaretz:

IDF spokeswoman Miri Regev said Friday that the IDF has hit "dozens of rocket storehouses and stockpiles" belonging to Hezbollah. She also said the Hezbollah stronghold is "the place where the Hezbollah leaders, including Hassan Nasrallah, are located on a regular basis."

Nick Cohen on Islamic Terrorism

Nick Cohen makes a good point in the Observer:

The EU wishes to deny that political Islam inspires terrorists to blow up everything from mosques in Baghdad to tube trains in London, even when Islamist terrorists say explicitly that it does. You should always pay your enemies the compliment of taking them seriously. The EU can't understand what its enemies are saying, because it won't call them by their right name.

Never Fear: Ahmadinejad is Here!

Jpost reports:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised overnight Thursday to repair all damages caused by IAF air strikes in Lebanon, Army Radio reported.

Saudi Arabia Criticises Hezbollah ....

... for moving too fast.
The kingdom "clearly announces that there has to be a differentiation between legitimate resistance (to Israel) and uncalculated adventures."
The Saudi official said Hizbullah's actions could lead to "an extremely serious situation which could subject all Arab nations and its achievements to destruction."

So would it be ok to attack the Israeelees as long as the "resistance" was "calculated"?

Israel Blames Iranian Guard for Role in Haifa Missile Attack
Israel Says Iran Fired Missile
By Sher Zieve – Israel said that at least one of the missiles that hit Haifa Thursday was fired by members of the Iranian Guard. These Iranian Guard units are stationed in Southern Lebanon.
Iran’s President Ahmadinejad has repeatedly said that it is Iran’s plan to destroy Israel. Appearing on Sean Hannity’s Radio Show on Thursday, Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said that we in the US and the world have to decide whether we are on the side of civilization or with the terrorists.

Ze'ev Schiff's advice for Israel
During a major crisis in Turkey, former president Turgut Ozal said something very wise: "The only thing that should not be done during a time of crisis is to return at the end of the crisis to the status quo, to the previous situation." Israel will have to take this under advisement after fighting on both front ends.
Under no circumstances should Israel return to the situation that existed before the fighting. That is to say, Hezbollah must not be allowed to return close to the northern locales, and Hamas, or any other Palestinian organization, must not be allowed to continue to bombard Sderot and other locales, and harm soldiers within Israeli territory. The aim of the operations Israel is conducting is not only to free the captives or to punish, but also to prevent future kidnappings and bombardments.
Israel's answer cannot be reoccupying territories in the Gaza Strip. From the military perspective, there apparently is no alternative to the simple method: for every Qassam rocket that hits an Israeli locale, an artillery barrage should be fired at a Palestinian locale - not into empty areas. This is a basic rule in war. Moreover, Israel has tried all other alternatives.

Israel Latest
Over 700 Katyusha rockets and mortar shells have been fired on northern Israel in the current offensive in Lebanon, a senior IDF official reported on Friday.
Eight people were suffering from shock and several buildings were damaged after five Kassam rockets landed in the Sderot area on Friday morning.
IDF forces foiled an infiltration attempt by Hizbullah operatives near an IDF post close to Zar'it on the northern border on Friday.
IDF not ruling out ground incursion
Israel has hit hundreds of targets in Lebanon since Wednesday night, as part of its effort to force the release of two soldiers kidnapped by
Hezbollah guerrillas, a top Israel Defense Forces general said Thursday.
Speaking to reporters, GOC Northern Command Major General Udi Adam said Israel was targeting infrastructure in Lebanon that held rockets and other arsenals belong to Hezbollah. Hezbollah guerrillas launched more than 80 rockets and mortars into Israel as well on Thursday.
He said the IDF was not ruling out sending ground troops into Lebanon, but was not planning a massive call up of reserves.
He also did not rule out targeting Nasrallah.
"All operations are legitimate to wipe out terror," he said.

Israel Latest, Ahmadinejad threat

Israel steps up Hezbollah offensive, The Times reports:,,3-2270340,00.html
Israel widened its crippling military offensive on Lebanon today, with its fighter-bombers hitting key infrastructure targets including fuel tanks, mobile phone relay stations, roads and bridges.
Beirut airport, closed since an air strike yesterday morning, was blasted for a second day. Enforcing a land, sea and air blockade of Lebanon, Israeli warplanes also hit the main Beirut-Damascus highway overnight, forcing thousands of fleeing tourists to take mountain side roads into the Syrian capital.
Hezbollah has fired more than 130 missiles into northern Israel in the past 48 hours, hitting big population centres such as Nahariya and Haifa, a city of 250,000 people that is 30 kilometres (18 miles) inside Israel.
Brigadier General Dan Halutz, the Israeli Chief of Staff, emphasised that the offensive, prompted by the cross-border raid in which Hezbollah guerrillas captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others on Wednesday, was open-ended. "Nothing is safe (in Lebanon), as simple as that," he said.
Daniel Ayalon, the Israeli Ambassador to the US, called the rocket attack on Haifa a "major, major escalation" and said that Israel was now at war. "The objective is to win this war," he said. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, likewise gave warning of a new regional war.

Warning from Ahmadinejad in phone conversation to pal Assad, from the same article:

"If the Zionist regime commits another stupid move and attacks Syria, this will be considered like attacking the whole Islamic world and this regime will receive a very fierce response," Mr Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying in a telephone conversation with President Assad of Syria.

Ahmadinejad called for the “removal of Zionist regime” last week

Yahoo reports:
TEHRAN (AFP) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called on Islamic countries to mobilise against Israel and "remove" the "Zionist regime".
"The basic problem in the Islamic world is the existence of the Zionist regime, and the Islamic world and the region must mobilise to remove this problem," the president said in a speech to regional officials.
He was speaking at the opening of a two-day conference in Tehran on security in Iraq.
"Nations in the region will be more furious every day, and it will not be long before this intense fury will lead to a huge explosion," Ahmadinejad said.

Israeli actions not disproportionate?

The Lebanese Foundation for Peace write an open letter to Prime Minister Olmert to congratulate him and volunteer to help in attack against Hezbollah:
We Lebanese congratulate you on your recent actions against the Hezbollah terrorist infrastructure in Lebanon. We urge you to hit them hard and destroy their terror infrastructure. It is not Israel who is fed up with this situation, but the majority of the silent Lebanese in Lebanon who are fed up with Hezbollah and are powerless to do anything out of fear of terror retaliation.
On behalf of thousands of Lebanese, we ask you to open the doors of Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport to thousands of volunteers in the Diaspora willing to bear arms and liberate their homeland from fundamentalism. We ask you for support, facilitations and logistics in order to win this struggle and achieve together the same objectives: Peace and Security for Lebanon and Israel and our future generations to come.
As of the fighting continue in the north of Israel in order to create security, at the Lebanon Israel border, we ask the world’s nations to endorse your political action and wish you full success in your deterrence against terrorism’s autonomy in Southern Lebanon and Gaza.
Mr. Prime Minister,
Help Lebanon in order to help yourself.

Arabs show support for Israel online, Ynet reports:,7340,L-3275291,00.html
Arab readers of Foreign Ministry website encourage Israel to use tough military action against Hizbullah, Hamas; 'Arabs understand language of force only,' one reader writes
Roee Nahmias
An unexpected source sent messages calling on Israel to hit Hizbullah harshly.
Officials in the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, where an Arabic language internet website is being operated, were surprised to read comments by two surfers calling on Israel to use tough military action against Hizbullah and Hamas.

Peretz talks tough

Jpost reports:
Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Thursday night that, "We expected Hizbullah to break the rules, and now we intend to break them.
"We do not mean for this event to end when the situation returns to how things were a few days ago," he said.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Own Goal

The dangers of faith schools ...

The Daily Times\07\13\story_13-7-2006_pg7_17
DERA ISMAIL KHAN: A suspected pro-Taliban militant was killed when a grenade he was handling went off at a religious school, a security official said on Wednesday.

The man identified as Abdul Rahman died and two companions were wounded when the grenade’s pin was accidentally removed, the official said requesting anonymity.

Israel Latest

IDF bombs Hamas Foreign Ministry at 1:30AM, Yahoo reports:
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - A bomb dropped by an Israeli warplane destroyed the Palestinian Foreign Ministry building in Gaza City early Thursday.
The bomb collapsed the building and caused widespread destruction in the area. The Palestinian foreign minister is Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar.
The Israeli military confirmed it carried out an airstrike on the Palestinian Foreign Ministry, noting that it is "led by Hamas."

Woman killed in Nahariya, IDF hits Beirut airport and imposes air and sea blockade, reports Haaretz:

OBM update

Omar Bakri Mohammed’s message to Britain from Lebanon, taken from an interview with Asharq Alawsat:
Q) Do you still adhere to your previous fatwas, in particular concerning the condemnation of Muslims informing authorities of terrorist activity?
A) Providing the British or US police or any other security services of nonbelievers with information on Muslims, whether they are mujahideen who fight for the sake of God or ordinary Muslims, is forbidden from the Islamic Shariah perspective. It is a major act of disbelief and he who commits this is considered a dissident of Islam, because it falls within the framework of supporting disbelievers over Muslims.
Q) What is your advice to the British Muslim youth and to your students who are far away from you?
A) I advise the British Muslim youth in general and my dear students in particular not to mix with the ignorant British society and not to isolate themselves from people. They must actively preach the word of God; promote virtue and prevent vice; publicly reveal God's orders; stay away from nonbelievers and their customs, practices, and laws; and adhere to the teachings of the Quran and of Prophet Mohammed by understanding the goodness of our ancestors.
Q) Does the notion of "Londonstan" still exist?
A) I believe that one day honest Muslims in the United Kingdom will, God willing, turn it into "Islamistan," like what the first Muslims did in Eritrea and Indonesia. The great dream of Islam will come true. Muslims dream to see flags that read: "There is no god but Allah" fluttering in the wind on top of Big Ben and the House of Commons, God willing.

Shalit kidnapping preventable?

IDF Maj.-Gen (Ret) Giora Eiland says that the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit was preventable, reports DEBKAfile:
Maj.-Gen (Ret) Giora Eiland traced the breakdown which allowed a Hamas-led squad overrun an Israeli army post on the Israeli side of the southern Gaza border, kill two soldiers and snatch Corporal Gideon Shalit on June 25, to an “operational” breakdown. He did not lay it at the door of commanders and their conduct.
“None of them lied or failed to perform their duties,” said Gen. Eiland, former national security adviser, in the report on the inquiry the chief of staff entrusted him to carry into the causes of the incident at the Kerem Shalom post.
Most damningly, Eilat affirmed that the corporal’s abduction could have been aborted. The kidnappers and their hostage were clearly visible on the unit’s electronic screens as they crossed the border into the Gaza Strip, but the tank commander delayed by first asking his superior for permission to open fire and abort their flight.


Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood congratulate Hezbollah on the kidnapping yesterday, Yahoo reports:
BEIRUT (AFP) - The Palestinian ruling party Hamas and Egypt's opposition Muslim Brotherhood have both congratulated Lebanese militant group Hezbollah on its capture of two Israeli soldiers.
"Hamas (whose military wing has also kidnaped an Israeli soldier) congratulates the leadership of Hezbollah, including Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and all his resistance (fighters), as well as the Palestinian people, the Arab and Muslim nations," a Hamas statement said Wednesday.
The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood also congratulated Hezbollah.
"I congratulate the Lebanese Islamic resistance which managed to capture two Zionist soldiers," Mohammed Mehdi Akef said Wednesday.

Surprise surprise

YNet reports:,7340,L-3275059,00.html
France criticized Israel's campaign in Lebanon, including the attack on the airport, as "a disproportionate act of war".

In the same article:

Nasrallah's organization threatens to target Haifa if Beirut, its suburbs attacked

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Two Soldiers Kidnapped, Eight Dead

Two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped and three others were killed when Hizbullah attacked an IDF patrol earlier today. Four others died pursuing the militants when their tank ran over a mine.

Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah demanded that Israel release prisoners in order to see the safe return of their soldiers. "No military operation will return them”, he said.

PM Ehud Olmert called the attack an “act of war” and Defence Minister Amir Peretz said that “Israel holds the Lebanese government fully responsible for this morning’s attack along the northern border”.

Today’s events could cause a major escalation in the level of force used by the IDF, who have called up a reserve division following the attack.

Jpost reports that Professor Gerald Steinberg, Senior Research Associate at the Begin Sedat Center for Strategic Studies, said that "Israel may have to take alarming force as an outcome of the latest attacks, which may even result in the disarming of the Hizbullah. Israel's leaders will have to decide how to act next along its borders as well as with Syria. They cannot sit back and allow terrorist organizations to dictate the situation. The primary focus must be military."

Sunday, July 02, 2006

First Post