Friday, December 12, 2008

Israeli Temper Tantrum: Bush Seeks Pacifier

That's some tantrum, with an equally alarming pacifier!
Saturday's Israeli commando raid deep in Lebanon's Baalbek sector:According to the BBC and The Guardian, the Israeli commando raid on Saturday didn't meet the desired goals. Hizballah and local residents of Boudai, the focal point of the attacks, said the raid was a failed attempt to kidnap a senior Hizballah cleric, a high level Shura Council member of Hizballah. Sheikh Mohammed Yazbek was the objective of the late night raid. Sheikh Mohammed Yazbek has close relations with Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah, Ali Kameinei and is reported to be the Hizballah financial liason to Iran.

According to Lebanese sources IDF troops landed 2 Humvees painted in Lebanese Army (LA), colors and wearing LA uniforms at Boudai in the Beka'a valley with about 100 elite soldiers from the Sayeret Matkal, Israel's equivalent of the SAS.

The soldiers advanced to the home of Sheikh Mohammed Yazbek, a member of the Hizballah governing council. According to uncomfirmed Israeli reports the soldiers searched and found intelligence material relating to the transportation of arms from Syria to Hizballah.

As the IDF troops, approached the rendervous location with the helicopters they were stopped and questioned by Hizballah. When the Isrealis answered "we are on your side" in Arabic, Hizballah guards noticed their strange Arabic accents and sounded the alarm. Hizballah fighters swarmed the area and a 30-minute gunbattle ensued. The Humvees then sped away through a cornfield where they were met by helicopters and flown out of the area. There were large pools of blood and bandages along with documents in Hebrew at the site where the helicopters lifted off. An IDF elite commando officer was killed with several others wounded a couple of them seriously. Hizballah denies IDF reports that 3 of its soldiers were killed in the raid.

Meanwhile, the Israelis maintain that the raid constituted a "defensive operation," which UNSC resolution 1701 grants therefore, it did not break the ceasefire agreement. Israel said that the attack was carried out in order to stop "arms shipments" from Syria.

Israel warned yesterday that it would continue covert raids in Lebanon despite a UN-brokered ceasefire, insisting it had the right to stop Hizballah rearming in advance of the arrival of UN peacekeepers. The warning coincided with the news that the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, had asked Italy to lead the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon and to deploy troops to oversee Lebanon's border with Syria.

The Israeli defence minister, Amir Peretz, told fellow ministers at a cabinet meeting yesterday, August 20, 2006, that Israel must prepare for "the second round of war" with Hizballah.
Further signals from Israel to the international community that they had better stop it, soon and fast. In colloquial parlance, "hold me back, hold me back!"

Why would Israel need commandos to raid a town some 30 miles from the Syrian border in order to stop an arms shipment? I don't buy it; the operation presented too, high a cost for the IDF when it could have merely, used its deadly, accurate drones, helicopters, jetfighters and bombers to decimate any suspected arms transfers with precision strikes. The plot here seems to point to psyops aimed at the international community. The potential donors are being held hostage and threatened with continued carnage and instability in order to force them to send lots of troops and soon. Israel is in effect saying stop me or else.

From the Guardian

Left: Olmert has temper tantrum

Israeli tampers with Lebanon cease-fire

Right: Bush makes haste in the white house seeking pacifier to crisis

President George W. Bush answered Israel's screams and asked for quick deployment of an international force with "robust" rules of engagement to help uphold the fragile cease-fire in Lebanon. Bush sweetened the pie by announcing that the U.S. will send aid totaling more than $230 million to support humanitarian and reconstruction work in Lebanon. Bush stressed that "this need is urgent." See source here.

As I suggested in "IDF Raids: Who Wants War?" the Israelis may have contemplated that this latest show of determination [desperation] might just be the trick to instill "awareness" and bring on board those ever elusive international forces. The entire Bush news conference is here.

The French, who were at the forefront of the ceasefire arrangement essentially, are now stepping back and only committing about a 200- men- force. United Nations troops are trickling into southern Lebanon. Only 3,000 have been deployed so far. About one-fifth of the total that's expected.

Excerpts with commentary of Bush's speech:

An effective international force will help ensure that cessation of hostilities holds in southern Lebanon once the Israeli troops withdraw. [Or when the Israelis stop bombing and raiding everything in sight?]

An effective international force will help the Lebanese army meet its responsibility to secure Lebanon's borders and stop them from acting -- and stop Hizballah from acting as a state within a state. [In actuality, the Lebanese Army trump card was cut by the Unity of the Lebanese government and Hizballah political capital therein.]

An effective international force will help give displaced people in both Lebanon and Israel the confidence to return to their homes and begin rebuilding their lives without fear of renewed violence and terror. [They've been doing that already. Hizballah has deployed bulldozers to clean up and has started the rebuilding process; while the Lebanese government is still grappling with a plan of action. The only thing that can stop the rebuilding and relocation process of refugees back to south Lebanon is Israeli bombings -- the "robust" international force is something that Israel demanded.]

International force requires international commitment. Previous resolutions have failed in Lebanon because they were not implemented by the international community; in this case, did not permit Hizballah and its sponsors from instigating violence. [Ok, great let's start implementing all the UNSC resolutions, Israel is behind by dozens, i.e., excluding those that the US was able to summarily, veto. If in fact, all the previous UNSC resolutions were implemented there would not be an Israeli/Arab problem, peace would have reigned in the region long ago.]

The international community must now designate the leadership of this international force, give it robust rules of engagement and deploy it as quickly as possible to secure the peace. [Give it up Bush. None of the donor nations wants to get its people killed or kill people in Lebanon for the Israeli and US Hizballah agenda. Keep in mind that the EU and most countries in the world do not list Hizballah as a terror group. Both the US and Israel are trying to use UNSC resolultion 1701 to achieve goals that were not met on the battlefield.]

America will do our part. We will assist the new international force with logistic support, command-and-control communications and intelligence. Lebanon, Israel and our allies agree that this would be the most effective contribution we can make at this time. [In other words, we don't dare land our troops because it will then be strikingly, apparent that we're there to protect Israel's interests, provide a buffer zone for Israel from its border to the Litani River and disarm Hizballah. Besides, we can't spare the troops and OPEC might get angry if we deploy. Too, late on the obvious US-Israeli axis though, but kudos to Bush for trying to look like a neutral at this late stage, even attempting such a ruse takes some doing.]

Deployment of this new international force will also help speed delivery of humanitarian assistance. Our nation is wasting no time in helping the people of Lebanon. [An implied threat that suggests without the enlarged and "robust" UNIFIL force the Lebanese civilians will continue to suffer.]

In other words, we're acting before the force gets in there. We've been on the ground in Beirut for weeks and have already distributed more than half of our $50 million pledge of disaster relief to the Lebanese people, who've lost their homes in the current conflict. [Yes, but that paltry sum increasingly, became an embarassment when Hizballah began handing out wads of $12,000 to 20,000 families who lost their homes in the bombings. Only then did it become an imperative to compete with Hizballah. The Administration may have lost an opportunity to score points here -- at this point their donations may not lend them much capital for their tardy troubles.]

I directed 25,000 tons of wheat be delivered in Lebanon and will send more aid to support humanitarian and reconstruction work in Lebanon for a total of more than $230 million -- including, $42 million package to help train and equip Lebanon's armed forces. [Bush is here invoking the time tested means of installing a strong internal security force to keep order and stifle dissent. Although, anyone thinking that the LA can be a meaningful force to contend with Israeli aggression is missing the point or is not paying attention. Nevertheless, if Hizballah and other groups are disarmed then a "beefed up" LA can certainly, be very effective at busting Lebanese heads during peaceful protests.]

I will soon be sending a presidential delegation of private sector leaders to Lebanon to identify ways that we can tap into the generosity of American businesses and nonprofits to continue to help the people of Lebanon. [In the grand tradition of aggrandizing corporations with no-bid contracts, kickbacks and the like, a la Iraq?]

We take these steps -- I'll also work closely with Congress to extend the availability of loan guarantees to help rebuild infrastructure in Israel, infrastructure damaged by Hezbollah's rockets. [With the Lebanese portion of the Bush plan he calls to volunteers, philanthropists and the business sector however, for the Israelis, he goes right for the public money in the purse of Congress?]

Pertinent questions & responses pertaining to rescuing Israel's aims of the war

QUESTION: Israel broke its word twice on the truce. And you mentioned Hizballah rockets, but it's Israeli bombs that destroyed Lebanon. Why do you always give them a pass? And what's your view on this breaking of the truce?

BUSH: This never would have occurred had a terrorist organization -- a state within a state -- not launched attacks on a sovereign nation.

From the beginning, I said that Israel, one, has a right to defend herself, but Israel ought to be cautious about how she defends herself. Israel's a democratically elected government. They make decisions on their own sovereignty. It's their decision-making that is what leads to the tactics they chose.

But the world must understand that now is the time to come together to address the root cause of the problem, and the problem is you have a state within a state. You had people launch attacks on a sovereign nation without the consent of the government in the country in which they are lodged.

And that's why it's very important for all of us -- those of us who are involved in this process -- to get an international force into Lebanon to help the Lebanese government achieve some objectives.

One is their ability to exert control over the entire country. Secondly is to make sure that the Hizballah forces don't rearm, don't get arms from Syria or Iran through Syria, to be able to continue to wreak havoc in the region.

Bush here skews history, in fact he dismisses it and starts time anew on July 12, 2006. Through this convenient mechanism Bush is able to transfer all the blame to Hizballah. Moreover, Bush puts the ball in the court of the international community and implores it to stop Israel and install peace. There is no mention of the 22-year Israeli occupation of Lebanon, nor the tens of thousands of Israeli violations of Lebanon's sovereignty. There is also no mention of the occupied Sha'aba territory nor the hundreds of Lebanese prisoners rotting in Israeli prisons.

QUESTION: Back to Lebanon. The Lebanese prime minister, over the weekend, said that Israel flagrantly violated the cease-fire with its raid into Lebanon.

And, so far, the European allies have committed forces. The U.N. Security peacekeeping forces have expressed reservations. Those Muslim nations who have offered troops have been shunned by Israeli officials. Why shouldn't we see the cease-fire as one that, essentially, is falling apart? And what makes this more than a piece of paper, if you don't have the will of the international community to back it up?

BUSH: No, listen, all the more reason why we need to help our friends and allies get the forces necessary to help the Lebanese forces keep the cessation of hostilities in place, intact.

And that's why we're working with friends, with allies, with Security Council members to make sure the force that is committed is robust and the rules of engagement are clear. And it's an ongoing series of conversations and discussions, and hopefully this will happen quite quickly.

It's clear here that Bush either has no clue, or the question was too, long to grapple with. Bush is also, obfuscating the fact that Israel broke the cessation of hostilities. Lebanon's government has unequivocally, declared the Israeli breach and so has the United Nations, while other nations in Europe and elsewhere have shown concern and regret over the resumption of Israeli fire.

QUESTION: Mr. President, as you have reminded us a number of times, it was Hizballah that started the confrontation between Israel and Lebanon. But you were supportive of the holding off of any kind of cease-fire until Israel had a chance to clear out Hizballah weapons.

By all accounts, they did not exactly, succeed in doing that. And by all accounts, the Lebanese army, as it moved into southern Lebanon, had a "wink and a nod" arrangement with Hizballah not to disturb anything but just leave things as they are, a situation not unknown in the Middle East.

Do you demand that the peacekeeping force, if and when it gets up and running, disarm Hizballah?

BUSH: The truth of the matter is that, if 1559 -- that's the United Nations Security Council resolution number -- had been fully implemented, we wouldn't be in the situation we were in to begin with. There will be another resolution coming out of the United Nations, giving further instructions to the international force. First things first is to get the rules of engagement clear so that the force will be robust to help the Lebanese.

One thing is for certain, is that when this force goes in to help Lebanon, Hizballah won't have that safe haven or that kind of freedom to run in Lebanon's southern border. In other words, there's an opportunity to create a cushion, a security cushion. Hopefully, over time Hizballah will disarm.

You can't have a democracy with a, you know, armed political party willing to bomb its neighbor without the consent of its government or, you know, just deciding, "Well, let's create enough chaos and discord by lobbing rockets."

[Note Hizballah did not start lobbing rockets until 36 hours after Israel started their onslaught on Lebanon's infrastructure, but what are facts to Bush? I wonder if these reporters ask these long questions for their copy back at the office? How do they expect Bush to follow?]

And so the reality is in order for Lebanon to succeed -- and we want Lebanon's democracy to succeed -- the process is going to -- the Lebanese government's eventually going to have to deal with Hizballah. [It was the steadfastness of Hizballah, which allowed the Lebanese government any input whatsoever -- the agreement between Hizballah and the government about retaining its arms is instructive on this empowerment.]

QUESTION: But it's the status quo if there's [no?] disarmament.

BUSH: Not really. I mean, yes, eventually, you're right. But in the meantime, there will be -- there's a security zone, something where the Lebanese army and the UNIFIL force, a more robust UNIFIL force, can create a security zone between Lebanon and Israel. That would be helpful.

But ultimately you're right. Your question is: Shouldn't Hizballah disarm? And ultimately they should. And it's necessary for the Lebanese government to succeed.

The cornerstone of our policy in that part of the world is to help democracies. Lebanon's a democracy. We want the Sinora government to succeed.

The U.N. is making it very clear that this new UNIFIL, this "robust" U.N. force in southern Lebanon, will not be there to disarm Hizballah, nor patrol the Syrian-Lebanese border no matter what Bush or OLmert think or want. Furthermore, Israel's little buffer zone from the Litani to the Blue Line, which would have cost it dearly if it manned it, may not come to fruition especially, with the LA deployed along with the thus far, small UNIFIL force.

John Bolton, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. also weighed in on the Administrations' crisis pacifier in a press conference at the United Nations.

International Pacifier Sought

France officially, bowed out offering only 10 officers as part of its 200 troops consisting of mainly engineers who will help rebuild. Italy is now asked to lead the UNIFIL force in Lebanon. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert asked Italy to head the U.N. peace force in Lebanon, and to deploy troops to oversee Lebanon's border with Syria. [Ironic that the descendants of the Romans are now asked to come to the rescue of Israel.]

Italian Premier Romano Prodi said his country intended to send a "significant military force." Italy would be willing to lead the proposed 15,000-member force if asked by the U.N.

Germany's defense minister insisted Berlin will send no combat troops to Lebanon, but said he was hopeful of a "robust" mandate for its proposed naval contingent.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul left for Israel to discuss the cease-fire and Turkey's possible contribution to a peacekeeping force however, no firm offers were made. Some factions in Lebanon's government may take the Israeli cue and decline Turkey's assistance to UNIFIL.

Greece is likely to accept a request to send troops to a U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis said. Cyprus continues to help with humanitarian efforts and has showed timid interests in sending troops to southern Lebanon.

South Korea suggested it will send peacekeepers to Lebanon. China already, has troops in UNIFIL. One of their peacekeepers was killed in that infamous Israeli bombing of a UN outpost that killef 4 UNIFIL observers. China has made lukewarm responses to requests for more troops.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev said his country was willing to participate in a U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, but gave no details of possible troop numbers.

Of course there were the instances where Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangledesh offered some 5,000 troops to the U.N. however, Israel rejected the offers because those States do not have Charges D'affaires with the State of Israel.

These and other countries have all pressed the U.N. for precise rules of engagement for the peacekeeping force, while suggesting they were willing to contribute to the peacekeeping effort. Apparently, none of these countries want to send troops in a situation where they would be deployed in a hot fire zone. I don't think the Israelis are fooling the EU and other potential contributors by having these temper tantrums amd tampering with the truce; they are not convincing. Although, Bush of course, tried to hand Israel the U.N. pacifier. Source here.

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