NPR reported that there’s heavy fighting going on in Bint Jbeil again. I start to wonder if BJ is just being left there, encouraging Hezbollistas to migrate in and then sit there bravely resisting. As in the “Cauldron Battle Construction Set.”
All posts in category Hurting People (Wholesale)
Posted by happycrow on August 8, 2006
There’s not a lot of it. A lot of diplomatic wrangling, with Siniora doing a sob-story song and dance for his fellows (they applauded the performance), along with hints that he might grow a spine and be willing to — gasp — actually deploy his nation’s army within its own borders in order to secure them.
Which is, after all, what the Israelis have wanted for fifteen years. Maybe that’s why the Syrian delegate walked out in a huff during negotiations?
Meanwhile, Israel states that it’s going where it needs to in Lebanon. Well, duh. The Bekaa Valley, for starters, and raids on parts of Tyre, for seconds.
While I still think that this will end with Syria selling HA down the river, there is, actually, a simple means by which Lebanon can end this whole thing. All it has to do is convince it’s PM to grow a pair and get the army out of its barracks. Once it does that, Siniora’s credibility will rise to a value above zero. And yes, oh ye sons and daughters of Lebanon, that means that in order to stop a war by people who are trying to hijack your country and turn it into Iran Lite, somebody might actually have to get hurt.
Hat Tip: All of these links from Pajamas Media, which is doing a kick-ass job. Their “Reutersgate” itself is a major slap in the face for sloppy editing and reporting. Would Reuters show blatantly Photoshopped images in order to engage in bias confirmation? You betcha…
Posted by happycrow on August 7, 2006
I knew I could never get a job at the Smithsonian, even in the face of serious family encouragement, when I read the employment package and realized how hopelessly, nauseatingly politically correct the institution is. As in “I’m neither gay nor a minority, and don’t focus on gender studies and equality issues; therefore, I need not apply” level of PC.
Think I’m exaggerating? Check it out yourself and see if you can hold your lunch down.
Judging by the uproar posted here at Babalu Blog, Tibbets, who commanded the Enola Gay sixty years ago, was the flavor-of-the-month victim of the PC “all violence is bad and therefore we can never say anything good about anything involved with that w/o lots of “more intellectual and virtuous than thou” caveats and commentary.
I’ve lived in Japan. The Japanese can be weird from my perspective, but I like them. That said, is there any doubt that an Imperial Japan would have hesitated to nuke California and 90% of China as their opening play, rather than just whacking Pearl Harbor, given a chance? The War is over. A million on each side got to live to see 1946 because of the Enola Gay. I got to know my grandfathers because they came home after V-E day rather than being shipped halfway across the globe to fight in D-Day, The Sequel ™.
It is appalling, but unfortunately not surprising, to see that the Smithsonian somehow thinks that’s a bad thing.
It is a crying damned shame that the people who run our institutions of memory feel entitled to shit on those who actually understand the concepts of Loyalty and Duty. But then again, maybe they’d rather have let a million Japanese mothers’ sons, and a million American, plus all the civilians in the way, convulse and shriek in pain from lead punching holes through their bodies and shrapnel tearing off their limbs, with Stalin looming in the background getting ready to sweep the pieces up into a Communist hell.
After all, for the Smithsonian, it’s all about ideology and PC, faux-sophisticated “detachment.” It’s not like they can empathize or relate to these common soldiers on any human level.
It’s been over ten years — think anything’s changed with that exhibit? If the Smithsonian is the beast I know it as, you’d have to be a fool and a neo-con to hope so.
Posted by happycrow on August 6, 2006
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times
HASSAN Nasrallah is in a quagmire. If, according to his own statements, Nasrallah knew Israel would attack Lebanon between September and November, if he was aware the Zionist enemy was ready for war and if he had received this information, which even the Pentagon and CIA could not receive, why did he give Israel an opportunity to launch the war before time by kidnapping two of its soldiers?
Either he’s an idiot, or else he didn’t. Another voice questions Nasrallah’s bluster.
I still think it was unauthorized, and some low-level Hezbollista is having his fingernails removed on the hour by his bosses.
Posted by happycrow on August 5, 2006
It’s full-bore now, with the Israelis possessing a 5-1 numerical advantage while trading at about 1-6/1-7 in terms of battlefield losses, and tons of indirect support. Hezbollah, on the other hand, has a number of anti-tank rockets, and has deployed troops with IR-masking uniforms (casualties amongst these guys “count”: these are clearly Hezbollah cadre, not just spear carriers), and has plenty of prepared defenses.
Opfor has a pretty good assessment of Israeli “grand tactics,” and it’s pretty clear that this is generally what’s occurring. Looking back at what folks considered the weirdly slow start to GWII, the parallel is pretty clear.
Thus far, I’ve been borne out on 1) The Pious Noises ™ will be disregarded. And given the number of pundits who were publicly bemoaning Olmert’s lack of fortitude last week, I feel perfectly justified tooting my horn on that one.
But it looks like I’m off-track on: 2) Israel’s going into the Bekaa Valley. May still happen with Specfor types, but apparently not with units en-masse.
The only functional remaining questions left are whether an international force actually materializes (NATO or not, you can bet the French and Greeks won’t be on it!), and whether Syria ups the ante so that Iran can get itself a war (which it badly needs to mask its domestic economic difficulties), or whether Assad decides that he doesn’t want to be Iran’s stalking horse, and sells Hezbollah out.
My money is still on the latter.
UPDATE: Tag! I am demonstrated correct on #2, as the Israelis have strike teams inserted into the Bekaa Valley, possibly an assassination attempt. Links via Pajamas Media here, here, and here. Fox News relays an IDF report stating no Israeli casualties in said raid, here.
UPDATE3: Ba-da-bing! Has Syria already begun to blink? Is it, in fact, selling Hezbollah down the river? If the following bears out, Israel will have to give some, but Hezbollah’s status as a Sword of Damocles in Lebanon will become non-existant. What exactly is meant by “return of refugees” could make this a non-starter, so the devil will be in the details.
UPDATE4: Perhaps not surprisingly, Syria may like this plan (which might, in theory, greatly rehabilitate it with the US and ameliorate the potential for Kurdish Furball ™ in the near future), but the Iranians don’t like it at all. Gee, and people still think that Syria’s going to lay down and roll over for whatever orders come down from Tehran? Better than that, many of the same talking points are showing up at the UN for Israeli-Lebanese talks. Meaning that Olmert may be a drip, but that he just might be lucky enough to preside over the era when the Israelis have a shot at 100% peaceful borders, with Hezbollah put out of business for good, and Iran totally sidelined out of the Med. If this sort of thing continues apace, it’s looking like a lot of stupidity and carnage may present hope for some actual unbridled good.
“Ain’t outta the woods yet,” though. Syria would love to get its meathooks back into Lebanon, but that’s an old play. My whole prognostications have been based on the idea that the Syrians are smart enough to know when to ask for a fresh deck of cards. For everybody’s sake, especially civilians south of the Litani, let’s hope they are.
Posted by happycrow on August 4, 2006
Hrm. Dunno. I’m definitely anti-Hezbollah. Because their actions are, quite frankly, as close to “evil” as I can come up with. They have had total autonomy, and could have spent years rebuilding the devastated infrastructure from the 1980s had they wanted to be anything other than totally focused on beating down the Israelis. Yeah, they built some schools and hospitals and that sort of thing, but they also spent years and years creating a gigantic freaking maginot line while leaving swaths of territory still in ruins. Any idea how many apartment complexes you can build with the concrete required for ONE modern bunker’s supply tunnel? And, I don’t have even the vaguest thing against the Shia in general.
On the other hand, far as I’m concerned, the Israelis may be our allies, but they’re sure as hell not our friends, as evidenced by their habit of selling our military secrets to the Chinese (a point I’ve read recently, and have blogged about before). If the Israelis don’t care about their policies directly getting my country’s servicemen killed trying to defend 22 million Taiwanese from having their island levelled by the PLA… it’s kind of a borderline call why I should particularly care whether Israel’s neighbors push their 5 million into the sea and back to New York, Russia, and wherever else they came from. Nothing personal: stop selling our miltech to guys we’re barely figuring out how to avoid fighting in the next fifty years, and we’ll talk.
On the other hand, there’s a principal at stake here. Actually, several. And, loosely speaking, they all boil down to “Hezbollah has explored whole new kingdoms of suckage.” First:
- Hezbollah is a bully. A special kind of bully. The mean and deranged smaller kid who’s constantly pulling outrageous crap against a bigger kid, precisely because he knows that the playground monitors will always step into keep him from suffering any consequences. And a couple of the playground monitors are actually encouraging him in the behavior, b/c they don’t like the bigger kid’s hairstyle.
- In this case, HA committed blatant acts of war. The kind you just can’t roll over and ignore without announcing to the world that you are, to use an ugly phrase, a “prison bitch.”
- Consequently, it follows that every now and then, actual justice involves letting a big guy pummel the dog snot out of a smaller guy who is constantly asking for it.
- Hezbollah has specialized in trying to make this a Lebanese-at-large fight. By parking military equipment in civilian neighborhoods (including Christian and Druze neighborhoods), and by not allowing non-combatants to flee a goddamned war zone. The Geneva Convention specifically forbids the use of civilians as human shields. (Convention IV, Art. 28 and Protocol I, Art. 51 Sec 7)
- Lebanon’s screwed. Acts of war were committed from their territory, and the combatant on their soil is doing everything it possibly can in order to guarantee that the fight gets as ugly as humanly possible. The fact that the Lebanese military supplied telemetry data for the Hezbollah anti-ship rocket attack also means that at least portions of the Lebanese milgov complex can’t simply sit back and say “but why are they bombing us?”
- Israel, otoh, is perfectly justified hitting the airport and other means by which their enemy may be resupplied. I hope that in retrospect it turns out that the number of innocent deaths turned out to be relatively close to military necessity given the shit HA is pulling.
- And Israel really does need to freaking LET UP and let more humanitarian and oil supplies in through the ports.
And a lot of innocent people are getting screwed in the process, because Syria and Iran may be pushing for an immediate cease-fire, but Hezbollah’s having none of it unless Israel agrees to go home and roll over whenever Hezbollah provokes them. So, you have a choice between an ugly kid who’ll screw you in a heartbeat for a buck, but who you’re propping up in the hopes that he might grow up and make something of himself, and a deranged little schoolyard psychopath who likes to play with matches and stab people with forks whenever the teacher’s head is turned. No matter what happens, it’s going to be ugly. I don’t think I’m pro-Israeli, and I may definitely have gotten callous studying warfare too long, but I do think that letting Israel pound the snot out of the schoolyard psycopath until something decisive happens is the only way that anything resembling a long-term peace is going to come about.
I don’t usually do this, but I am closing comments on this one. The folks I know could go around on this and be totally reasonable — and the original post that prompted me to write this one made some damned fine points on the “contra” side (you know who you are: good post, dude). But threads like this inevitably turn into trollbait, and I just don’t feel like moderating a bunch of moonbats nutriding their personal heroes for the next month and a half.
Posted by happycrow on August 3, 2006
Ynet reports 6 brigades involved in “bitter battles.” And yet, they report ONE Israeli KIA, and seven wounded, of whom only one is a serious casualty.
We remain hamstrung by Hezbollah’s… um, messianic… approach to reporting. As discussed earlier, w/o any Hezbollah casualty figures, we’re stuck, but how do you have half-a-dozen brigades engaged in combat, and lose only two guys?
Meaning either they’re encountering HA’s spear carriers and wiping them away like a coffee stain, or else “bitter battles” is Israeli media’s term for “occasional light skirmishing.”
Posted by happycrow on August 3, 2006
M. Simon, of Power and Control and I have a little gentleman’s wager going on inside the comments section of this Donald Sensing post over at Winds of Change (Mr. Simon having begged off my “let’s bet beer” proposal).
As I said in the comments, I think Sensing totally blew this one, but I have a lot of respect for the guy and his writing, which can be found here. It’s “worth the trip.”
The crux of the matter is that he believes that Syria will NOT blink, and I think they will. We’ve each agreed to publicly abase ourselves to whoever turns out to be right.
Here are a couple of his posts: well worth reading.
Also, Mr. Simon is not merely engaged in wishful thinking. There are, as he posts, legitimate grounds to think that Assad could be pushed into pulling the trigger.
Ain’t gonna happen, though.
Posted by happycrow on August 2, 2006
The usual gasbags are coming out of the woodwork declaring that Israel’s losing the current war because it’s not all over yet.
Read this for a quick clue as to why Israel may indeed be losing…. but why it’s WAYYYYY too early for anybody not getting direct briefings to be stepping out with those assessments.
This blog has stuck to tactical analysis and regional strategic assessments for precisely those reasons.
We don’t know whether it’s Hezbollah’s cadre getting stacked up, or whether it’s primairly just guys who’ve gotten a rousing speech, a couple hundred rounds, and a slap on the shoulder on their way to die — an organization that consciously gets its civilians killed would think nothing of swelling the ranks with a few Kitchener Brigades (sp?).
I don’t know. And neither do any of the talking heads.
Posted by happycrow on August 1, 2006
It’s about time.
Publicly, IDF-Lebanese ministers surprisingly mild-mannered and conciliatory. Heh.
Posted by happycrow on July 31, 2006
The Herald Sun smuggled them out.
Yes, Virginia, that is in fact an AA unit without a single uniformed combatant, parked right in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
Not that any moderate Shia have the power to so much as say ‘hey, move that shit, I live here’ without coming to an abrupt and unfortunate end. It is hard for somebody who lives in a place where almost everything can be talked and negotiated into a positive-sum game (how many times have you been shocked to find a divorcee who is on good terms with his/her adulterous ex-spouse? I can think of two instantly, and I know there’s a third that I can’t put my finger on)….
to comprehend an organization so murderous and rank with evil that they not only do not care about bringing civilian casualties on their own side…
but who consciously and premeditatively bring it about, because they view getting their own people killed as a propaganda victory.
That’s not jihad. Hezbollah are mufsidun holding all of Shia Lebanon hostage to hirabah… and the future vengeance of sectarian Lebanon. (more…)
Posted by happycrow on July 30, 2006
On a lighter note, in the perennial tradition of talking smack at one’s enemies, I humbly submit to you “yalla ya Nasrallah.”
Catchy. Not quite In der Fuhrer’s Face, but still, catchy.
HT: Pajamas Media
Posted by happycrow on July 30, 2006
Okay, so the Iranians will keep Syria in line by moving suicide bombers into Lebanon.
Either they are planning to take on the Israelis: dumb. See GWII.
Or they are using Israel as an excuse to blow stuff up all over Lebanon once the purely domestic throat-cutting start: smart. See… Lebanon.
If it’s the former, then the Iranians play right into the West’s hands with casus belli and by diluting their domestic thug strength. If the latter, though… bad, bad, bad, and there’s not much that can be done to stop it. It could easily give HA direct control over Lebanon once the blood dries.
Posted by happycrow on July 27, 2006
For those of you following the earlier post’s comments, NPR says IDF reports 40 Hizballah killed.
That’s 22 wounded and 9 killed IDF, an unknown number HA wounded and 40 killed.
That’s 4 to 1, when the 4 are already in ambush positions, and one can assume at least 20 shooters in the initial ambush.
Strategically, HA can absorb losses at that level. It has manpower to burn at this point.
Tactically, 4 to 1 with a three-side city ambush? That’s bad. In fact, that’s embarrassing. What this tells me, combined with the relatively high numbers of wounded-but-not-killed, is that Hizballah is falling back on the perennial Military-Arab notion of “front sight? What’s that?” Better quality of shooting would have resulted in a much higher IDF fatality rate even with the new medical equipment (don’t know if they have it, but it’s a reasonably safe bet), b/c it’s “known” that there was no meaningful medivac in this furball for a ridiculously long time.
In other words, Hizballah may still be the best Arab army on the block, and have a great combination of equipment and morale… but it’s still an Arab army, and still apparently running on the age-old “we have troops to burn” theory where only the officers count for squat.
Interesting counterpoint: when the guys in Iraq got together to celebrate being in charge of their own province, all the traditional guys came up from the Tribes to celebrate… and the documentary pictures in the NYT showed not ONE AK47 or variant. Each and every single one of these guys had a Mosin-Nagant or similar type long-barreled bolt-action rifle. Mentally and culturally, there is a huge difference between the man who carries the former weapon, and the man who carries the latter.
Posted by happycrow on July 27, 2006
It is sorely tempting to look at current events purely through the lens of either Huntington (Civilisations jostle, and one in particular doesn’t play well with others) or Palmer (world peace will come once we get rid of these parasitic tyrants).
But can a general synthesis be attempted, using a yardstick made up of the question “what are the rules by which they (try to) play?”
Here’s one attempt, which would break the globe into three particular blocs, still clearly a work-in-progress:
Three Groups, Three Rules
1. The Citizen States: those governments who believe in all the things one finds in a modern representative government — which may all disagree vastly on the extent of individual rights, but which are consciously populated either by citizens or else “politically-empowered subjects,” and characterized by a historically-unusual degree of political transparency and government accountability.
- Examples — EU/Anglosphere/Japan/”fledgling Democracies”
- Rarely, Will forcibly intervene in other States for defensive and/or moral causes
- Run by The Governor
Outlier Example — France’s semi-predatory relationship with Cote d’Ivoire
2. The Westphalian States: Russia and similar states who are willing to play by the letter of international conventions, but have no compunction whatsoever about putting their power to uses that the inhabitants of Group 1 find either immoral or generally unpalatable. Subjects possess some vague notion of rights/priveleges/immunities, but enjoy no protection from those groups which comprise the State.
- Examples — Russia, China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan
- Occasionally, Will forcibly intervene in other States in order to improve its strategic position
- Run by The Ruler
Outlier Example — Morocco and its attempts to rationalize a political Islamism containing many features of Group #1 States.
3. The Vampire States: Cuba and similar states which are differentiated by the ruling group’s desire to achieve power and enrichment through the total domination and relative impoverishment of all not within State Apparatus. Characterized by the conscious engineering of circumstances in which the ruling group cannot be safely detached from the people upon whom they derive their power.
- Examples — Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Venezuela, North Korea, Syria
- Constantly, Forcibly intervenes whenever possible for strategic and material gain
- Run by The Guinea Worm
Example Outlier — Iran and its ruling cabal’s tenuous hold over a population clearly preferring a Group 1 State.
It’s not enough to simply chop up the world by Civilization: doing so, for example, leads one to Huntington’s Thesis on the Middle East — which has been more than demonstrated — but also Japan — whose behavior has baldly contradicted Huntington’s predictions. Nor is it simply sufficient to distinguish between those countries that are “Free” and “Unfree,” because it misses how they act: it’s great to be involved with France if you’re a Frenchman or member of the EU… not so great if you’re an Ivorean. Similarly, Palmer’s Thesis completely misses out on the ability to deal with what’s going on with Morocco, and any legitimate multivalence in the notion of what constitutes a free society.
The Descriptive Element is what it is.
The Prescriptive Element, leads one to suggest a couple different things.
It is in the interest of Group 1 States to maximize the degree of intervention, forceful or otherwise, in order to destabilize and extinguish Group 3 States, converting them to either Group 1 or Group 2 States.
Similarly, it is in the interest of Group 1 States to minimize the degree of intervention involving Group 2 States, instead pursuing a game of maximalized consistent incentives. Unlike a Group 3 State, in which the subjects are abjectly and purposefully kept down in Croesus-like manner, subjects of a Group 2 State possess sufficient means by which to initiate a “colored revolution” if they attain sufficient economic and legal protection from the State — which is typically a function of economic power. And, equally importantly, Group 2 State Actors are willing to more-or-less abide by international agreements that provide geopolitical stability. Therefore, whatever improves the livelihood, access to uncensored information, and material well-being of a Group 2 State’s subjects should be pursued as a consistent goal, whether or not the nature of the regime remains unchanged.
Posted by happycrow on July 27, 2006