Monday, July 31, 2006

What beat of the drum is Syria marching too?

Three interesting items of note found today. Ynet News is reporting that a land mine mysteriously explodes on the Syrian side of the Israeli-Syrian border:
Channel 2 TV reported that a landmine exploded on the Syrian side of the Israel-Syria border on Sunday. Military officials said the incident, which took place near the Kunetra crossing, may have been an attempt by Hizbullah to drag Syria to the conflict with Israel.

The circumstances of the incident remain unclear at this point; it is possible that an explosive device was attached to the mine and set it off. Security forces are also looking into the possibility that the mine exploded by accident. No injuries were reported among IDF soldiers.

IDF officials have been saying since the onset of the fighting in Lebanon that Hizbullah would try to get Syria involved in the conflict; such an attempt was made when the organization fired rockets toward the Golan Heights in the hope that Syria would be blamed for the attack. A senior IDF officer said recently that Hizbullah may even go as far as intentionally firing at Syria to escalate regional tensions.

The second one concerns the public posturing of Syria’s President Assad as reported by Ynet:
Syrian President Bashar Assad put the Syrian army on high alert in anticipation of any developments. In a statement issued to mark the army's 61st anniversary Assad said Syria will not be deterred from helping Lebanon. "The occupying enemy hasn't forgotten the humiliating defeat and its submissive exit from south Lebanon under the strikes bold resistance," the statement read.

"Syria, which stood by its brother (Lebanon) and sacrificed martyrs to defend Lebanon's freedom as we did for Syria's sovereignty, remains as always adamant in standing by our Arab people who's fighting in Lebanon and Palestine, and by the bold national resistance who struck the enemy. All threats voiced by powers in the world who support t he enemy won't deter us from continuing to support our brothers," he said.

Assad called on the army to be prepared for all scenarios "because we believe that falling for the sake of heaven (martyrdom) is the only way to freedom and victory. We have to make all effort in training to save every drop of blood when the hour comes. The fighting continues so long our land is occupied and our rights are denied. Victory will be achieved God willing."

Assad said that this year's anniversary comes at time when "the Israeli enemy continues its extermination war against our proud peoples in Lebanon and Palestine. Our brothers in Lebanon are being subjected to aggression by the Israeli war machine from the air, the sea and the ground," Assad said.

Now Assad may strictly be posturing and wanting to cash in on some of the good will and popular support that Hezbollah’s is reaping from the so-called “Arab Street” for fighting Israel. He needs to posture in order to position himself ready to reap any “just rewards’ that kind of bluster can buy on the street.

The third one is found at the Jerusalem Post which is reporting that Syria opposes any new international peacekeeping force in Lebanon:

Syria has told Egypt's foreign minister it opposed the creation of any new international force in Lebanon, but would not be averse to the expansion of the current UN force there, widely regarded as ineffectual, officials said Monday.

"The Syrians are talking about expanding the UNIFIL," Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit told reporters in Cairo, referring to the widely criticized UN force created in 1978 to restore stability in the area. He acknowledged to reporters that Syria did oppose the sending of any new international force, as the United States and others are pushing, to police the border region.

If Syria still has territorial designs on Lebanon any multi-national force deployed with teeth are in a position to set back Assad’s program so it makes sense that Syria wouldn’t be thrilled. Or would it be in Syria’s interest to posture displeasure? A multinational force lead by France, who leads the European condemnation of Israel, and supplemented by Turkish and Indonesian forces whose governments have shown themselves more than a little sympatric to the Islamist sway in their own countries could hardly be counted on to neutralize Hezbollah, though, it probably could be counted on to effectively neuter Israel’s right to act in self-defense against Hezbollah aggression. Potentially, it could be raining Katyushas on Haifa indefinitely while Israel can do no more than file complaints with the UN.

But here’s another thought - the IDF deterrence factor has never been so low as it is now. The Israeli military censors are operating in a state of high efficiency. Not even a single sign of clear cut victory for Israel has emerged from the fog of war which can only give aid and comfort to those nations who are belligerent to Israel. Furthermore, one can take a town in a hard won battle and bury 1000 enemy dead, but if the flow of rockets continues to fall unabated in Haifa and almost a million people lives in the northern Israel are still held for ransom by the barrage - it’s a hollow triumph that rings false notes. Israel is definitely the loser in the international PR forum with more hands turned against Israel than extended in support.

Israeli political leadership has never shown itself as ineffectual as it is now. Olmert may talk a good speech but his actions belie his words. Resolute he is not. Neither Olmert nor the Defense Minister has ever held a senior rank in the IDF and have little experience at the type of mission planning needed in a time of war. Don’t kid yourself. These guys would have lost the Six Days War. Never before has the General Chief of Staff been held by an IAF general which is no doubt where the over reliance on air power comes from and has shown itself to be a somewhat unreliable tool to an early victory. I would go so far as to say that it has morphed full blown PR nightmare of epic proportions.

Furthermore, reports of mysterious stomach aliments that have been plaguing General Chief of Staff, Dan Halutz, just don’t project the Lion in Battle motif one often associates with the IDF General.

In fact, Israel has never shown itself to be weaker or more vulnerable than it is right now.


I really fail to see how the Israelis realistically could put their trust and security in a French lead UN force along the Lebanon-Israeli border when the French Foreign Minister Phillpe Douste-Blazy can issue this kind of a whopper without blinking and with a straight face. Taken from Ynet News.
Iran is a significant, respected player in the Middle East which is playing a stabilizing role, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said on Monday. "It was clear that we could never accept a destabilization of Lebanon, which could lead to a destabilization of the region," Douste-Blazy said in Beirut.

"In the region there is of course a country such as Iran – a great country, a great people and a great civilization which is respected and which plays a stabilizing role in the region," he told a news conference.


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Palestinians Go Wild

On the UNSCO building in the Gaza Strip.

Initially, the Palestinians were protesting civilians deaths at Qana in Lebanon at the UNSCO building in the Gaza Strip. How do Palestinians show solidarity to the Lebanese and protest the violence? By rioting and using more violence on themselves reports Reuters:
GAZA, July 30 (Reuters) - Palestinian protesters stormed the U.N. compound in Gaza City on Sunday during a protest against Israel's bombing of a building in southern Lebanon that killed around 60 people, witnesses and U.N. staff said.

Hundreds of members of Islamic Jihad militant group, some throwing stones and others firing rounds from assault rifles, attacked the compound at the end of a rally, witnesses said. At least two people were wounded.

U.N. staff were inside the compound at the time, but managed to escape, a U.N. official said. He said the site, which includes scores of buildings, was heavily ransacked by the demonstrators.
Witnesses said U.N. guards appeared to set off tear gas grenades to allow staff time to get away.
"The situation is very tense," the U.N. official said.

Members of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's special guard arrived shortly afterwards and managed to disperse some of the crowd by firing into the air. Gunfire could be heard from within the compound but it was not clear who was firing at whom, witnesses said.

I was watching the Fox News report on the telly and I was utterly amazed at the number of boys under 10 who were taking an active part in attacking the UNSCO building. This, of course, begs the question; where are their parents? But then again, I am asking it of a group of people who collectively came to the decision that a UN building is an appropriate substitute target to vent their spleen on. I can’t wait to see how Kofi Annan spins this. I am betting he blames the Joos.

Qana, again

Once again, the civilian causalities in Lebanon makes headlines around the world. The Toronto Star carries the report as well as the usual rounds of condemnations of Israel.

The only comment the Toronto Star carries from the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert is this one:
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel would not rush into a ceasefire until it achieved its goal of decimating Hezbollah, whose July 12 capture of two Israel soldiers provoked the fighting.

And yet, this statement from the Israeli Prime Minister never made it into the Toronto Star report.

"I express deep regret, along with all of Israel and the IDF, for the civilian deaths in Qana," said Olmert. "Nothing could be further from our intentions and our interests than harming civilians - everyone understands that. When we do harm civilians, the whole world recognizes that it is an exceptional case that does not characterize us."

Or this one from the Israeli Defense Minister, Amir Peterz:
Defense Minister Amir Peretz was also profoundly repentant for the fatal strike, saying, "this is a tragic incident that is a result of war. Hizbullah operates in the heart of populated centers with the full knowledge of endangering the lives of innocent civilians." The defense minister ordered the IDF to conduct a full investigation into the incident

Or this one from IDF Chief of Staff, Dan Halutz:
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz also expressed sorrow over the loss of innocent life. "We were operating in a place from where Katyushas are being fired and we distributed notices to residents. Nevertheless, the chief of staff said that the IDF would continue to fight in order to defend northern residents and to bring calm to the region adding, "the terrorist organizations are taking cover among populated areas. We will continue to operate, causing the minimum harm to civilians." Unfortunately, people who assembled in the area, whom we were unaware of, were harmed," said Halutz. Nevertheless, the chief of staff said that the IDF would continue to fight in order to defend northern residents and to bring calm to the region adding, "the terrorist organizations are taking cover among populated areas. We will continue to operate, causing the minimum harm to civilians."
Meanwhile Israeli civilians are deliberately targeted by Hezbollah. In the last 24 hour period more than 100 rockets have been lobbied by Hezbollah to kill Israeli civilians. Yet the silence from the Lebanese Prime Minister or Hezbollah leader over the wounds, maiming and deaths of Israeli non-combatants is simply deafening.

But found in the Toronto Star report is this gem from the Israeli Foreign Ministry official:
“One must understand the Hezbollah is using their own civilian population as human shields,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry official Gideon Meir. “The Israeli defence forces dropped leaflets and warned the civilian population to leave the place because the Hezbollah turned it into a war zone.”
Even the Jerusalem Post article maintains that Qana was papered warning Lebanese civilians to get out of Dodge. So why didn’t they? Maybe it’s the gypsy in me coming out, but if I had an enemy force drop leaflets saying they will be commencing a bombing campaign where I am living; I would be hightailing it to the mountains – post haste. So why didn’t these people fee? That’s the question an enterprising journalist should be seeking an answer to.

Update: Two hours after this report from the Toronto Star was filed online the Toronto Star posted the Israeli Prime Minister's statement of regrets.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Misery loves Company

Keith at Minority of One left a comment with a link to Infidel Bloggers Alliance that is linking to the documentary Obsession: What the War on Terror is Really About.

It bummed him out so he felt the need to share the misery. After watching this film, I am not sure that we can win the war against radical Islamist fascism for we have so totally disarmed ourselves intellectually concerning the nature of the threat we face.

Keith seemed to be able to bounce back from his earlier malaise after viewing this film. I can only hope to do the same. To that I end, I will go recite the Perek Shirah now, in the hopes that I can recover my former equilibrium.

Swedish Lutheran does Jihad at Seattle Jewish Federation

I heard the report last night on the news. I had to search for it at the Toronto Star online. I eventually found it. All 177 words and 18 lines. Here’s the lead paragraph:
SEATTLE—A man claiming to be an "American Muslim" who was "angry with Israel" was arrested after six people were shot yesterday at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, authorities said.

Here’s the report linked to at the Drudge report.

The man arrested is named Naveed Afzal Haq, 30 of Everette, Washington. Too bad the Toronto Star couldn’t avail themselves of the Associated Press report so they could have fleshed out the piece to at least an even 180 words and 20 lines.

Damn those Swedish Lutherans for bringing Jihad to America.

Friday, July 28, 2006

UN to move UNTSO from border

The Jerusalem Post reports the UN has decided to act – kind of:
The United Nations has decided to remove 50 unarmed observers from their posts along the Israeli-Lebanese border, moving them in with the peacekeeping force in the area, a spokesman said Friday. The decision came after one of the posts of the observer force, known as UNTSO, was destroyed by an Israeli air strike earlier this week, killing four.

"These are unarmed people and this is for their protection," said Milos Struger, a spokesman for UNIFIL, the peacekeeping force whose 2,000 members have light weapons for self-defense. UNTSO has about 50 observers in four posts along the border, two of which have already been abandoned - the one that was destroyed at Khiam and a second near the village of Maroun al-Ras, which was abandoned after one of the observers was seriously wounded by Hizbullah gunfire on July 23, said Milos Struger, spokesman for the UNIFIL peacekeepers. Staff were being removed from the remaining two posts to be placed at UNIFIL posts along the border, Struger said. He would not say whether the move had been completed.

I suppose this is a start. Now what about the 2,000 UNIFIL "peacekeepers"?

Kofi's Clueless Blues in South Lebanon

Anshel Pfeffer, a reporter for the Jerusalem Post visits a UNIFIL outpost in South Lebanon and files this report:
The small group of Ghanaian soldiers manning UNIFIL Position 6-52, to the west of the village of Maroun a-Ras, less than a kilometer from the border, hasn't left its base in the last two weeks. "Those are the orders of our superior officers," explains one of them who presents himself as commander of the post, but refuses to give his name. "We have been visited by our officers three times since the fighting began and a supply truck arrives here every three or four days."

On the wall nearest to the gate of the white-washed building is an "Alert State" board with the arrow pointed to black. But none of their information on the current situation has come from their own sources. "We know what's going on from the television," says the commander. Even the deaths of four UNTSO members on Tuesday night in an IAF bombardment, at a base not so far away, wasn't communicated to them from headquarters. That, too, they learned from TV.

The current contingent from Ghana has been in Lebanon for three months. The soldiers at the post are charged with patrolling and monitoring, with their single jeep, the area where the heaviest fighting has been going on for the last 10 days. The fact that Hizbullah has been well entrenched in the area ever since Israel's withdrawal six years ago - with hundreds of fighters, well stocked ammunition depots and extensive fortifications - seemed to have escape the Ghanaians notice. "I have never seen one of them," says the soldier. "You cannot easily identify them in the population."
At the beginning of the fighting, a number of bombs exploded around the UNIFIL post, including one 150 meters from the gate. Two weeks later, the area around the post is quiet, except for the distant thud of artillery fire. Hizbullah has been banished from this small part of Lebanon. IDF Merkava tanks roar through a nearby opening in the border fence. There isn't even a guard at the border and Israeli and foreign journalists pass in and out unhindered. The Ghanaian soldiers weren't even aware of the breach in the fence they are supposed to monitor, by mandate of the United Nations.

I couldn’t help wishing that I could read the “action” reports these guys filed. The children are with my mother so I haven't had a good laugh in days. Read the whole article here.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Standing with Israel

Winston at the Spirit of Man has pictures from the Stand with Israel Rally held in Toronto last night as well as a short video clip. I went to the gym before I went to the rally and arrived late. I didn’t stay long as I think that I managed to pinch a nerve in my back. Never let anyone fool you – correct posture is everything in life.

Never doubt it - Stephen Harper's the MAN

And he asks the $64,000 question (taken from the Toronto Star):
HOPEWELL CAPE, N.B. — Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Israel’s deadly attack on a UN observation post in Lebanon, which claimed the life of a Canadian soldier, was a “terrible tragedy” and he doubts whether the bombing was deliberate.

Harper, speaking to reporters after a funding announcement in eastern New Brunswick, said the Canadian military would consult with the UN and the Israeli government to find out what happened.

The prime minister also said he wants to know why the post was still manned even though it was in the middle of an obvious war zone.

Me too. So why didn't the Secretary-General of the United Nations order the evacuation of all UNIFIL forces? And even more importantly, why has the Secretary-General of the UN still not given that order? What's he waiting for - orders from Hezbollah?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Canadian-Israeli spy for Hezbollah caught?

Ynet News is reporting that a Canadian- Israeli Professor has been detained by the Shin Bet (Israeli internal security agency) for spying for Hezbollah:
Cleared for publication: An Israeli citizen, a Bedouin residing abroad, was arrested two and a half weeks ago on suspicion of spying for Hizbullah. The Akko Magistrates Court extended his remand by four days, but has yet to decided whether to indict him. The suspect, Razi Salah, 48, was arrested by police officers in the Galilee after he was caught photographing vital military facilities west of the northern border. Salah, who has both an Israeli and Canadian citizenship, was taken into interrogation by the Shin Bet.

The head of the preliminary inquiry unit, Chief Inspector Yoram Azoulay, said the suspect denied his charges and said he was a Canadian tourist who just wanted to photograph the scenery. His interrogation revealed that he originated from Nazereth, where his family resides.

Security forces are now investigating whether he sent the information and the photos he acquired to Hizbullah. Last year, two Western Galilee residents were charged on suspicion of crossing the border to Lebanon, being arrested by Hizbullah and giving the organization information on facilities and communities in the north. One of them was sentenced for a two-year prison term, while the second man's trial is still going on. About a month and a half ago, a special military court sentenced Lieutenant Colonel Omar al-Hayeb, convicted of severe espionage and contact with a Hizbullah agent, to 15 years in prison.

Canadian passports & citizenship – now beloved by all international esponiage agencies equally.

Update: Ha’aretz has a more detailed report.

knowing the face of evil

According to this Breitbart report a senior Hezbollah operative admits that Israel did not expect the ferocity of the Israeli response to invading Israel killing 8 soldiers and kidnapping two others.
A senior Hezbollah official said Tuesday the guerrilla group did not expect Israel to react so strongly to its capture of two Israeli soldiers. Mahmoud Komati, deputy chief of Hezbollah's political arm, also told The Associated Press in an interview that his group will not lay down arms.

"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. He said Hezbollah had expected "the usual, limited response" from Israel to the July 12 cross-border raid, in which three Israelis were killed.
He said the Shiite group had anticipated there would be negotiations on exchanging the Israeli soldiers for three Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails, with Germany acting as a mediator as it did before.

The three Lebanese prisoners in question are Samir Kuntar, Nasim Nesser and Yehya Sekaf. Israel has denied holding Sekaf but Hezbollah maintains that Sekaf is being held in a “secret” Israeli prison that is so secret not even Israeli officials know it exists.

Samir Kuntar has been tried by court of law in Israel and sentenced to 542 and ½ years in jail. His crime was a particular gruesome slaughter which is a tale best read and understood by the words of a victim of Kuntar’s particular brand of evil. Smadar Haran Kaiser survived the massacre but at a truly horrendous price: (article takes from the Washington Post)

The World Should Know What He Did to My Family
By Smadar Haran Kaiser
Sunday, May 18, 2003; Page B02

Abu Abbas, the former head of a Palestinian terrorist group who was captured in Iraq on April 15, is infamous for masterminding the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro. But there are probably few who remember why Abbas's terrorists held the ship and its 400-plus passengers hostage for two days. It was to gain the release of a Lebanese terrorist named Samir Kuntar, who is locked up in an Israeli prison for life.

Kuntar's name is all but unknown to the world. But I know it well. Because almost a quarter of a century ago, Kuntar murdered my family. It was a murder of unimaginable cruelty, crueler even than the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, the American tourist who was shot on the Achille Lauro and dumped overboard in his wheelchair. Kuntar's mission against my family, which never made world headlines, was also masterminded by Abu Abbas. And my wish now is that this terrorist leader should be prosecuted in the United States, so that the world may know of all his terrorist acts, not the least of which is what he did to my family on April 22, 1979.

It had been a peaceful Sabbath day. My husband, Danny, and I had picnicked with our little girls, Einat, 4, and Yael, 2, on the beach not far from our home in Nahariya, a city on the northern coast of Israel, about six miles south of the Lebanese border. Around midnight, we were asleep in our apartment when four terrorists, sent by Abu Abbas from Lebanon, landed in a rubber boat on the beach two blocks away.

Gunfire and exploding grenades awakened us as the terrorists burst into our building. They had already killed a police officer. As they charged up to the floor above ours, I opened the door to our apartment. In the moment before the hall light went off, they turned and saw me. As they moved on, our neighbor from the upper floor came running down the stairs. I grabbed her and pushed her inside our apartment and slammed the door.

Outside, we could hear the men storming about. Desperately, we sought to hide. Danny helped our neighbor climb into a crawl space above our bedroom; I went in behind her with Yael in my arms. Then Danny grabbed Einat and was dashing out the front door to take refuge in an underground shelter when the terrorists came crashing into our flat. They held Danny and Einat while they searched for me and Yael, knowing there were more people in the apartment. I will never forget the joy and the hatred in their voices as they swaggered about hunting for us, firing their guns and throwing grenades. I knew that if Yael cried out, the terrorists would toss a grenade into the crawl space and we would be killed. So I kept my hand over her mouth, hoping she could breathe. As I lay there, I remembered my mother telling me how she had hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust. "This is just like what happened to my mother," I thought.

As police began to arrive, the terrorists took Danny and Einat down to the beach. There, according to eyewitnesses, one of them shot Danny in front of Einat so that his death would be the last sight she would ever see. Then he smashed my little girl's skull in against a rock with his rifle butt. That terrorist was Samir Kuntar.
By the time we were rescued from the crawl space, hours later, Yael, too, was dead. In trying to save all our lives, I had smothered her.

The next day, Abu Abbas announced from Beirut that the terrorist attack in Nahariya had been carried out "to protest the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty" at Camp David the previous year. Abbas seems to have a gift for charming journalists, but imagine the character of a man who protests an act of peace by committing an act of slaughter.

Two of Abbas's terrorists had been killed by police on the beach. The other two were captured, convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Despite my protests, one was released in a prisoner exchange for Israeli POWs several months before the Achille Lauro hijacking. Abu Abbas was determined to find a way to free Kuntar as well. So he engineered the hijacking of the Achille Lauro off the coast of Egypt and demanded the release of 50 Arab terrorists from Israeli jails. The only one of those prisoners actually named was Samir Kuntar. The plight of hundreds held hostage on a cruise ship for two days at sea lent itself to massive international media coverage.

The attack on Nahariya, by contrast, had taken less than an hour in the middle of the night. So what happened then was hardly noticed outside of Israel. One hears the terrorists and their excusers say that they are driven to kill out of desperation. But there is always a choice. Even when you have suffered, you can choose whether to kill and ruin another's life, or whether to go on and rebuild. Even after my family was murdered, I never dreamed of taking revenge on any Arab. But I am determined that Samir Kuntar should never be released from prison.

In 1984, I had to fight my own government not to release him as part of an exchange for several Israeli soldiers who were POWs in Lebanon. I understood, of course, that the families of those POWs would gladly have agreed to the release of an Arab terrorist to get their sons back. But I told Yitzhak Rabin, then defense minister, that the blood of my family was as red as that of the POWs. Israel had always taken a position of refusing to negotiate with terrorists. If they were going to make an exception, let it be for a terrorist who was not as cruel as Kuntar. "Your job is not to be emotional," I told Rabin, "but to act rationally." And he did.

So Kuntar remains in prison. I have been shocked to learn that he has married an Israeli Arab woman who is an activist on behalf of terrorist prisoners. As the wife of a prisoner, she gets a monthly stipend from the government. I'm not too happy about that.

The man who would protest an act of peace by executing a man, at point blank range, in front of his 4 year old daughter, and then, bash that little girl's skull-in against a rock belongs to outer most edges of the human gene pool. He got off easy with only 542 and 1/2 years, but outrageously enough - this is the monster that Hezbollah want to repatriate back to Lebanon and let loose in Lebanese society? The Lebanese owe the Israelis for keeping him off their streets and away from their children.

No doubt, Kuntar has those who would speak for him, and I would even suggest that those who are capable of committing such truly horrendous acts of violence and wanton cruelty, may indeed, have been capable of loving their cat, they parents, or caring for their brothers, but no act of good can negate the evil perpetrated by their own hand. What is done is done and cannot be undone.

Doctor under fire

Ynet News carries this report of a woman under fire on the field of battle:
One of the doctors who evacuated wounded IDF soldiers from Bint Jbeil on Monday is also the first female soldier to serve in Lebanon: Lt. Dr. Marina of the 52nd armored battalion. "I entered Lebanon in a 'tankbulance' (a converted tank functioning as an ambulance) after we received word that there were injured soldiers," said Dr. Marina Monday. "We had no idea how many casualties there would be. I took care of injured infantry soldiers from the Golani division. The whole time, mortars, katyushas and Sager missiles were falling all around us. It was scary."

A short while after the tank with the injured soldiers rolled back to Israeli territory, it was discovered that another tank had been hit – that of the 52nd armored battlion's commander. After briefing MDA rescue workers in Israel on the injuries and conditions of the wounded soldiers, Dr. Marina returned to Lebanon. "There were five injured soldiers in the battalion commander's tank, under massive fire, a real war," she told. "We had to do everything quickly because explosive fire was going off all around us."

Dr. Marina (32) immigrated to Israel six years and eight months ago and serves as the doctor for the 52nd armored battalion. "In Russia, I was a doctor in the Red Army," she tells. "When I arrived in Israel, I participated in a combat officers' course. Monday's fighting wasn't easy, especially when I had to take care of soldiers that I knew, as well as the commander, Lt. Col Guy.
Lt. Dr. Marina has proven herself more than capable under fire but still she prefers not to tell her mother that she has been sent to Lebanon. Speaking as a mother of many - I'd say Dr. Marina made a wise choice.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

talk about overstaying your mandate

A UN outpost was hit by an Israeli missile and 4 UNIFIL peacekeeping forces have been killed and another 5 wounded in Lebanon.

But in day 13 of the war; why haven’t the UNIFIL forces been evacuated? Who is the boy-genius in charge of that operation? What the frack are they still there for? There is no peace to keep nor has there been for almost two weeks.

UN Secretary-General claims the attack was “apparently deliberate” - Israel says, “sorry”.

And Prime Minister Stephen Harper says, no to any Canadian contribution to any new peacekeeping missions to Lebanon. Wise choice.

And just when you thought that Lebanon was hot enough, the Palestine Liberation Organization has threatened to join the fray on Hezbollah’s side. Fatah Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has no comment according to this Jerusalem Post report:
Palestinian gunmen in Lebanon are set to join the fighting against the IDF, the leader of the Fatah faction in Lebanon, Sultan Abu al-Aynain, announced on Tuesday.

He said Fatah, which is headed by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, has thousands of fighters in Lebanon who are prepared to participate in the fighting and warned Israel against targeting Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

It is unclear whether the announcement was made in coordination with Abbas. Sources close to Abbas refused to comment on Abu al-Aynain's threats, but acknowledged that he was Fatah's "military commander" in Lebanon. The sources pointed out that in the past, Abu al-Aynain had dispatched Palestinians to Iraq to fight against US troops.

I marvel at the ability of the Palestinians to back a loser every single time. If I was Hezbollah, I would be saying "thanks, but no thanks", we got it covered.

The 55th Edition of the Carnival of Life, Liberty & Property

Is currently being hosted at So I’m Not Really a Cowboy.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Standing up for Israel

On Wednesday, July 26th, at 7:30pm there will be a rally to show support for Israel at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge Street (just a few blocks north of the Sheppard Avenue Subway stop). The doors open at 6:30pm and Retired Major-General Lewis MacKenzie will be one of the speakers.

Lebanon - We’ll Sue

Reports Ynet News:
Lebanese Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora, said last weekend that Lebanon will demand compensation from Israel "through all available channels." Siniora said that Lebanon will do everything it can to ensure that Israel pays for the damaging and fatal attacks that have "torn the country to shreds."

A spokesman for the Lebanese government told the Guardian Friday: "We know that the cost of damages is in the billions, but it's difficult to assess precisely, because we don't have access to many locations." According to Lebanese government sources, IAF attacks removed the Beirut airport from commission and hit two smaller airports, as well as damaging all civilian and military radar systems.

The air strikes also hit three ports and damaged the lighthouse in Beirut. Gas stations and electricity facilities were destroyed, causing energy shortages. 38 roads were hard hit and 55 bridges were demolished. Two hospitals were damaged by the attacks, as well as a warehouse for medical supplies.

A number of warehouses were damaged or destroyed as a result of the attacks, one of them the largest milk factory in the country. A Proctor and Gamble warehouse, for food and cleaning supplies, was also damaged. Additionally, in one of the attacks last week, trucks containing medicine, oil, sugar and rice were hit.

The 'Guardian' reported that the Lebanese government had anticipated the arrival of more than 1.2 million tourists in the summer season. According to government sources, these tourists would have provided 1.3 to 1.6 billion dollars in revenue. Additionally, the Lebanese stock market closed Monday after a 14% drop, and banks restricted citizens from withdrawing more than 1,000 dollars, out of fear of a financial crisis.

Of course, Siniora probably got the idea to sue from this lawsuit.

Sleeper Cells to Awaken?

The Jerusalem Post reports that Hezbollah is poised to activate sleeper cells world wide to target Jewish and Israeli interests:
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

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Nigerian outs the Inner Zionist in me.

Strangely enough, I received an email from a man in Nigeria who didn’t ask for my active participation in helping him defraud the Nigerian government for a huge profit. Instead, he accused me of being a Zionist and then proceeded to explain why that is such a bad thing to be. He accused me of misleading the “public” by hiding my alleged Zionism and demanded that I out myself. I'd told him I'd blog it.

I really don’t bother debating people on the existential nature of Israel or even on secular or religious Zionism. My experience of being "the other" at various times in my life has shown me the deep futility of engaging in such actions. Either you get it or you don’t, and I picked sides long ago.

Furthermore, nothing I have ever learned has made me regret that decision. There is a new rhetoric for anti-Semitism that has risen in a world since the days of the fall of the Third Reich and wraps itself as being “anti-Zionism”. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. recognized it and called it truly for what it is:
Physical security for the Jews has traditionally been improved in a number of ways: usefulness, mobility, bribery and assimilation. Psychological responses to this insecurity and trauma are well known: self-hatred and blame, identification with and appeasement of abusers, obsessive fantasy of a future paradise on earth. These solutions and responses are so integrated into the Jewish psyche that they have been passed down from generation to generation, displaying themselves even in relatively free societies, even in America and the recently liberated homeland, Israel….Despite its significance to the Jewish Nation, the State of Israel has failed to alleviate most of this trauma, and has not reduced the levels of antisemitism - it has simply allowed antisemites to masquerade themselves under the new banner of "anti-Zionism".

We cannot expect antisemitism to disappear - Jewish existence and Jewish philosophy will always be threatening to its children: Christianity, and Islam... The trauma and insecurity, on the other hand, is within our power to diminish - should we decide to do so…And what is anti-Zionist? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the Globe. It is discrimination against Jews, my friend, because they are Jews. In short, it is antisemitism….

The antisemite rejoices at any opportunity to vent his malice. The times have made it unpopular, in the West, to proclaim openly a hatred of the Jews. This being the case, the antisemite must constantly seek new forms and forums for his poison. How he must revel in the new masquerade! He does not hate the Jews, he is just 'anti-Zionist'!..."

In 1929 the Arabs of Hebron rioted and massacred they Jewish neighbors with the cry “Palestine is our land and the Jews are our dogs.” Prior to 1929, there has been an uninterrupted continuous Jewish presence in the West Bank City of Hevron since 1540. Archeological evidence places the beginning of the Jewish presence in Hebron around 18th century BCE. According to historical records there have been only 5 separate occasions totally only 217 years when Jews did not dwell in Hebron since 1800 BCE.

But more importantly, let this sink in “the Jews are our dogs” because this is what lies at the root of the conflict in the Middle East.

On a lighter note, I found a link in the comments of the Atheist Jew to a Broom of Truth post at the People’s Cube: Israel Dismantles – World’s Problems End.
Persistent rhetoric coming from concerned progressive critics worldwide has finally convinced Israeli officials that the state of Israel has no moral right to exist. "That's it," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon explained at a press conference. "We are dismantling the Nation of Israel. I'm leaving for Poland next week."

"My cabinet and I had long discussions about world troubles, and we concluded that our critics are right - all the troubles can be traced back to us. So, in order to resolve these issues, we felt it would be best to extend our withdrawal beyond Gaza to include the West Bank and Israel proper," Sharon said. "The Gaza pullout was only a test, and the ensuing waves of peace and brotherhood it had triggered in Palestine and beyond, encouraged us to disband altogether. Without us here, people of the world will finally be able, once again, to live in permanent harmony and understanding - just like they all did before Israel's founding nearly sixty years ago."

The People’s Cube has videos too. My personal favourite is this one - Greatest Movie Line Ever.

What would Hezbollah do?

I was watching the Channel 2 news report from Israel this morning. Jerusalem Online is carrying a video feed in English which regularly news broadcasts from Israel.

A Lebanese woman in need of urgent medical attention was evacuated by the IDF to an Israeli hospital for treatment. If it was an Israeli woman in need of urgent medical treatment would Hezbollah evacuate her to one of their hospitals?

I think not, and can find no record of Hezbollah doing such a thing but past history does suggest that they would not hesitate to offer her dying or dead body for ransom to Israel. Kol Hakavod L'Tzahal.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Israel Calling - Spooks Lebanese

Israel has been dropping flyers on Lebanon telling the people to leave the area but this Ynet News reports an entirely new phenomena:
At first, Bushra Khayyat tried to ignore the incessant ringing of the phone at her house in Lebanon’s southern port city of Sidon. It was 4 am, but she finally got out of bed.

“I said hello and got a recorded message from Israel,” she told Reuters. In clear Arabic, the strong voice on the phone said: “Oh Lebanese people, we tell you not to follow Hizbullah. We will continue to strike and no one will bring your prisoners back from Israel except the Lebanese government.” Other residents of the south have received similar calls.

“My grandmother got two calls at 5 and 6 in the morning saying the Israeli state would not stop the attacks and asking everyone to leave the area south of the Litani,” said one woman who is stranded in Sidon. “She slammed the phone down.”

Israel has dropped flyers on Lebanon during its 10-day-old conflict with Hizbullah terrorists, warning people to stay away from the group’s strongholds, warning them to evacuate their villages in the south or caricaturing the chief of Hizbollah.
Well, at least they weren’t trying to sell them a new roof or insurance - those are the kind of calls I get.

The Jerusalem Pride parade scheduled for August 10th has been cancelled due to the war with Lebanon.

Washington has complied with an Israeli request to expediate delivery of so-called smart and laser guided bombs. Israel and the United States had already entered into an arms agreement last year that covered the purchase of those armaments.

One of the things I hear over and over from the so-called progressives and Syd Ryan is how influential the Israeli daily Ha’artez is. Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post offers some insight into the kind of analysis Ha’aretz provides to its readers:

The week before Hizbullah launched the war in the north, Ha'aretz chief diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote an ode to the Islamist movement. Entitled, "We need a Nasrallah," Benn romanticized the terror master, writing, "Nasrallah hates Israel and Zionism no less than do the Hamas leaders, [kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad] Shalit's kidnappers and the Kassam [rocket] squads. But as opposed to them - he has authority and responsibility, and therefore his behavior is rational and reasonably predictable." Benn continued, "The moment Hizbullah took control over... south [Lebanon] and armed itself with thousands of Katyushas and other rockets, a stable balance of deterrence was created on both sides of the border."

An international group of jurists on accused both Israel and Hizbullah of committing war crimes reports Ynet News.
The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), which links 60 senior judges and lawyers worldwide, said Israel's “disproportionate and indiscriminate" use of force through air raids against Lebanese civilian targets amounted to "collective punishment", which is outlawed. "Collective punishments constitute a war crime under international law," ICJ Deputy Secretary-General Federico Andreu-Guzman said in a statement.

Hizbullah rockets fired at northern Israeli towns could also be considered a violation of international humanitarian law because armed groups are also covered by the Geneva Conventions protecting civilians in times of conflict, the ICJ added.

How one fights a war without violating the Geneva Convention is really beyond my ability to fathom. In my studies of wars of the past, I have yet to see a war that did not routinely violate the articles of the Geneva Convention, and flagrantly, at some point. I am starting to believe the entire convention is a sham and a put up job meant to massage liberal guilt for victory or instill a sense of warped fairness so that the victor can face defeat the next time. Of course, neither Hezbollah, Hamas nor Fatah has ever been a signatory to the Geneva Convention.

Canadian officials failed to meet the boat arriving from Lebanon carrying the most recent Canadian evacuees in Cyprus because they overslept. No doubt they are liberal supporters. Conservatives are by nature too uptight not to meet the boat and say what you like about the dippers but they can always be counted on to show up and would never miss an opportunity to listen to people whine.

“Thousands” protested against the war in Tel Aviv reports Ynet News. I really did think it surprising at how well the hammer and sickle crew was represented. Who would have thought that the former USSR has so many fans?

The Toronto Star is reporting that a unilaterial ceasefire has been agreed to by both Fatah and Hamas in the Gaza Strip and they will stop firing Kassam at midnight tonight.
Guerrilla groups in the Gaza Strip have agreed to stop firing missiles at Israel at midnight tonight, senior Palestinian officials said.

The unilateral ceasefire is aimed at ending an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip that began June 28.
The agreement was reached in Gaza City following meetings sponsored by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh aimed at finding a way out of the crisis in Gaza, the officials said.

Several Palestinian militant groups attended, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which have been blamed for many of the rocket attacks on southern Israel, the officials said.

The Israeli Defence Forces said it had no immediate comment on the Palestinian ceasefire.

I am struck by how novel the concept of a unilateral ceasefire sounds and wouldn't it be easier just to give back the kidnapped Israeli soldier? Who knows, maybe the Palies have run out of Kassams or this action by the IDF is threatening to become far too successful for words, guns, or rockets.

Oddly enough, I can find no mention in the English Israeli papers about this so I wouldn’t put too much stock in this report. It could be that someone at the Toronto Star is having a hippie flashback moment.
Update: I finally found an article in an Israeli newspaper talking about a possible mutual ceasefire with Israel that Egypt is trying to broker with both Hamas and Fatah. It’s still a long way from a unilateral ceasefire that the Toronto Star is reporting.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The revolution may be blogged but I am not going to nickel and dime the dead or injured

The military censors are doing an outstanding job so that it is harder and harder to get a feel or a handle on what exactly is going on in the conflict. Logic dictates that a ground war is inevitable in Lebanon, if the stated objective by the Israelis is to reduce Hezbollah’s capacity to strike with their missiles into the heart of Israeli communities. It could be already underway for all I can determine. I suspect official announcement of ground war action will not be announced until several days into the actual offensive.

I find that I am suffering a sort of emotional and intellectual distaste for blogging the gruesome details of soldier and civilian causalities from either side on a daily basis which seems to make up a substantial portion of what news is being released at this time. I suppose I just don’t want to end up being simply a coffin bloggerazzi. I will be blogging, but I am not going to do daily body counts.

I am surfing the regular Israeli media’s English sites (Ynet News, Ha’aretz, Jerusalem Post, Debkafile & Arutz Sheva) and I am also reading a fair amount of other bloggers in the midst of this conflict for updates. The Israeli and Lebanese bloggers are giving the war an ethos that is extremely poignant. One just does not get that from newspaper accounts listing how many dead, injured or where. For the Israeli bloggers start with Israellycool, and for the Lebanese start with Lebanese Bloggers ; then work your way through their respective blogrolls. I should also give a special mention to the IRIS Blog which does an outstanding job of posting a daily round-up of editorial and hard news content.

And for heaven’s sake don’t pay attention to the analysis offered by anchors of either CNN or Fox News. After despairing over the CNN coverage, I changed the channel to Fox and Friends this morning just as the blond (whatever her name is – I am too apathic towards her to waste my time looking up her name) anchor discussed how the Israeli Defense Force was still using strategy and fighting techniques based on the old WW2 paradigms of warfare……

Iran’s Final Solution; Ask Germany for Assistance

This report taken from Ynet News Online:
A German government official said on Thursday that letter written by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to German Chancellor Angela Merkel asks her to help solve the Palestinian problem and deal with Zionism.

“There’s nothing about the nuclear issue (in the letter),” the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the extreme sensitivity of the issue for the German government. “It’s all related to Germany and how we have to find a solution to the Palestinian problems and Zionism and so on. It’s rather weird,” The official, who has seen the letter, said. Iranian students news agency said on Wednesday that Ahmadinejad had written to Merkel, but until Thursday officials had not spoken about the contents.

Zionism is a political movement that supports a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine, now the state of Israel. The fate of Palestinian Arab refugees is one of the world’s largest and most long-lasting refugee problems.

Berlin’s relations with Ahmadinejad have been complicated by his denial of the Holocaust, in which Germany’s Nazi regime killed six million Jews, and his call for Israel to be wiped off the map. Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany punishable with up to five years in prison. “It’s extremely touchy (for the German government),” said the official, adding that the government did not yet know if or how it would respond. “There are a lot of propaganda phrases about Israel and the Jews inside.”
“It’s not negative like Ahmadinejad’s letter to Bush. He is not criticizing Germany,” he said. “It’s basically about how we have to work together and solve the problems of the world together.”
The obvious explanation is that Ahmadinejad’s thinks Germany is still in the final solution industry but I suspect this is Ahmadinejad’s attempt at using a subtle form of guilt designed to entice Germany to become pro-active into resolving a solution to the crisis which, according to Ahmadinejad’s worldview, Germany caused.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

IDF doing what Abbas Failed to Do

In January 2005 most of the world press and pundits were experiencing a touchy feel good moment with the election of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. I was among the few who declined to believe a new day was dawning for the Palestinian Authority sans Arafat.

One of the reasons some many felt so hopeful with Abbas, was that he wasn’t, well Arafat. Many tried to point out that a man who managed to survive and stay on relatively good terms with Arafat had to be cut from the same cloth – birds of a Fatah and all that. It takes a particularly warped kind of psychological pathological to pursue a degree in holocaust denial. Let alone choose to seek academic accreditation under the old United Soviet Socialist Republic.

When Abbas announced plans to issue a decree forbidding Palestinians from carrying unlicensed guns, it was important to note that Abbas did not make any concrete gestures to remove guns from the hands of the politico/para-militias that were carrying unlicensed weapons. And of course, it failed to register on most people’s radar that Arafat regularly issued such decrees during his reign prohibiting the citizenry from carrying unlicensed weapons.

Abbas preferred to attempt to negotiate with the various and sundry politico/para-militias operating in the Palestinian Authority rather than take on the groups head first and risk potentially a civil war. There’s a point of irony in how the failure of the Lebanese government to disarm Hezbollah, is the same failure of Abbas’ Palestinian Authority. Let’s face it; south Lebanon is starting to look a lot like Gaza or is it Gaza’s starting to look a lot like south Lebanon - I can't tell. Anyhoo, I bring this up because Ynet News Online is reporting that the IDF is going to start a massive operation designed to do what Abbas coulda, shoulda, woulda done but never did:
The Israel Defense Forces distributed pamphlets last night (Wednesday) throughout the Gaza Strip warning residents of the area that the IDF will soon start bombing houses which are suspected of hiding weapons or ammunition.

"We will no longer allow terrorist organizations to hide weapons in civilian homes. We will distance the civilians from the area and then will damage these strongholds," said an army source in the Southern Command.

"The minute these announcements have been sent, the lives of anyone who has weapons or ammunition in their house are in danger and they must leave their house for the sake of their lives and their family's lives," one of the leaflest distributed read.

Until now, the IDF has avoided taking action against the weapons caches found in private residences in Gaza out of worry for harming innocent civilians. The Southern Command has understood that the terrorist organizations exploit this policy of caution and have hidden weapons and ammunition in garages, shelters and rooms of Palestinian civilians' houses.

"From now on, things will be managed differently," said a source in the Southern Command. "We have distributed pamphlets to everyone. In the next stage we will send warning to each specific region, after which we will simply act against these weapons caches. There are places in which the civilians know they are living below weapon storehouses. This will not be allowed to happen anymore."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

What price abuse?

A Toronto Star editorial of the day asks; what would it take to get Torontonians out of their cars on smoggy days? The bottom-line in the Toronto Star’s editorial is to increase the funding levels by government:
In the long run, the best way to cut smog would be to ensure TTC service is faster and more reliable. That requires more government money. Once that happens, more drivers might see public transit as "the better way" and leave their cars at home.

I live downtown, I work downtown. This was a conscious decision on my family’s part. I have never learned to drive officially and the chances of me being motivated enough to wade through the 2 tier license requirements, the expenses associated with ownership and up keep for keeping a car running in the city fall into when pigs fly category. I prefer to spend my disposable after tax income on my family rather than at the gas pump or paying for parking downtown.

There use to be an old joke told in Hogtown wherein the initials of the TTC meant “take the car” rather than Toronto’s public transit. What was true over twenty years ago is only more so today.

I stopped using the TTC on a regular basis in getting around the downtown core during the first day after the last major transit strike in 1999 was settled. Why you may ask? After a few days of walking 30 minutes plus to work, I came to the conclusion that hoofing it was preferable to being assaulted by the incredibly overwhelming smell of rank body odor or having my body being held hostage by the sweat of others packed far too tightly on the streetcar. Call me old fashioned, but I like my personal space and treasure the fact I generally can breathe without gagging when walking on the street.

It’s not that I don’t use the TTC, but it’s a case of only when absolutely necessary. Two days ago, I was pushed for time and got on a streetcar at Yonge & College going eastbound at 6:30pm, long after rush hour is allegedly over. The streetcar was hot, packed and just as smelly as I remembered it, but there was another joy whose memory I had either completely suppressed or years ago it was far too new a phenomenon to register as anything more than as an anomaly in my mind.

There are now the legions of beggars who appear to ride for free whose sole purpose is to harass and demand money from those passengers who have been suckered into paying for the alleged joy of riding public transit. The $2.75 fare doesn’t seem like such a bargain after being ruthlessly subjected to 10 minutes of abusive language uttered in a pitch so high that it makes one’s skin crawl.

Of course, that feeling might have been caused when my personal harridan leaned down to shake her smelly and potentially lousy head into my face. And what did I do to earn her spleen? I politely refused her DEMANDS to share the contents of my wallet with her. For that, I went from “lady” to whore, bitch, cunt etc. The only name she neglected to refer to me as was Jew but that’s probably only because my neighbors drive rather than walk. And the really surreal part was she was not the only beggar on the streetcar at the same time. I swear they work in teams now.

I have never been fan of the horror genre so paying $2.75 to have a personal ringside seat in a real life version of Beggar’s From the Dark Dank Lagoon may seem like a bargain for some, but I am betting all those people currently driving the car to work think the price for TTC is far too high already, and no amount of money poured from the public purse into the current system will change the fact.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Go ahead, I khadr you to call me a racist.

There are uncomfortable questions coming from that little annoying voice in the back of my head that as a Canadian - I never like to hear. Just why are there approximately 40,000 Canadian citizens in Lebanon? Lebanon’s a tiny country and the political situation has been relatively unstable in the last year or so. No slur on Lebanon, but I just can’t imagine it as high on the list as the place most Canadians most want to visit. Not to mention that the airfare would be off-putting for most Canadians. The US, Caribbean or Europe would be a far greater attraction, and flights would be a darn right bargain compared to Lebanon.

It is not an unreasonable conclusion that most of those 40,000 Canadians currently trapped in Lebanon are dual nationals visiting and renewing family ties per say. I decided to do some checking and found a Wikipedia (yes, I know that Wikipedia can be unreliable but since no one pays me to research this and the Canadian Encyclopedia confirmed the same figures – just suck it up or pay up for better research)entry that details the 2001 census report listing Canadian ethnicity breakdowns. There are approximately 143,635 Canadians who are claiming Lebanese ethnicity but 40,000 are currently stranded in Lebanon. Even accounting for population increases through live births and immigrations in the last six years it does appear that a third of Lebanese Canadians are currently in Lebanon which makes those little voices a tad more compelling.

I decided to compare the US Lebanese community with our own. According to US 2000 census figures, in a country approximately 10 times our size has only a Lebanese community of 329,377 and only approximately 25,000 US passport holders currently in Lebanon. But Canada, with a Lebanese community of less than half that of our American neighbors has 15,000 more nationals in Lebanon? Are Canadian Lebanese more caring than their American former compatriots? Flights cheaper or our dollar pacts more bang for your buck than the US dollar in Lebanon? Or is another fact at work here? Like easy and lax refugee entrance requirements in say the last 20 years or so?

I am not suggesting that the 40,000 Canadians currently stranded in Lebanon should not be assisted by our government in leaving Lebanon but I hope that the CSIS is taking a good long hard look at who exactly is maintaining such close to ties with a mother country whose southern boundaries have been overtaken by an internationally known terrorist organization. Do Canadians really need to fully embrace Hezbollah sympathizers or operatives for the sake of cultural diversity without the CSIS at least knowing who they are and what they are doing?

Let the name calling begin.

A muddled clarity

A late muddled start for my day means; I really am behind on the haps. A quick skim of the headlines reveals that things were pretty much what they were before I went to bed. Hezbollah has not been disarmed, and has sent over 70 rockets sent into Israel in the course of one hour, which must be some kind of record even for Hezbollah, but miraculously enough, only one reported death.

The IDF repelled two separate attempts from Hezbollah terrorists to gain a foothold into northern Israel at Moshav Avivim. For those with either incredibly short memories or who were simply weren’t alive at the time to understand the significance of Moshav Avivim. It was the sight of a particularly horrific and gruesome attack in May 1970. Although I was only 8 years old and living a half a world away, I developed a fear of riding in school buses after viewing pictures in the newspapers from the aftermath of that slaughter.

Palestinian terrorists had infiltrated into Israel from their home base in Lebanon. The Palestinian terrorists laid in ambushed for an Israeli school bus which was their chosen target. The school bus was initially disabled by first firing a bazooka at it and then the Palestinians turned their guns onto the survivors. When the smoke cleared, the death toll was 3 adults and 12 children. Nineteen children were crippled for life. All in a days work for the Palis, I suppose.

Arutz Sheva has an interesting little article up on its site called “Will the Rockets Fall?” and quotes some prominent Israelis with their analysis and predictions for the future of the Gaza Strip. Here’s a quote from the old Ariel Sharon:
If we cut and run, Gaza will be taken over by terror organizations... Gaza's squares shall be transformed into launching platforms of Katyushas toward Ashkelon ... The only way to defeat terrorism is by controlling its bases.
Likud MK Ariel Sharon
Maariv, June 12, 1992

Strangely prophetic, huh? Here’s the new and improved Ariel Sharon:
The purpose of the Disengagement Plan is to reduce terror as much as possible, and grant Israeli citizens the maximum level of security...These steps will increase security for the residents of Israel and relieve the pressure on the IDF and security forces in fulfilling the difficult tasks they are faced with. The Disengagement Plan is meant to grant maximum security and minimize friction between Israelis and Palestinians.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Herzliya Conference
December 18, 2003

So much for the Sharon vision. And just to show that newspaper editorial boards are no strangers to delusional thinking; here’s one from the Jerusalem Post dated August 11,1995:
A particularly favored line is that the Likud's dire predictions of Gaza turning into another Lebanon, with Katyusha rockets hitting Ashkelon, have proved unrealistic and plain silly.

How about from a former Israeli Defense Minister:
I anticipate that the level of terrorism will drop after the disengagement and after pragmatic Arab forces take control.
Defense Minister, Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz
Arutz Sheva
Jul 02, 2004

Now that he has joined the Kadima party, he is no longer Defense Minister but he does hold the Transportation and Road Safety portfolio.

Check out the scorecard here.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Berlin, eh? Ironic.

Taken from Ynet News:
However, more than 1,000 Lebanese and Palestinians staged an anti-Israeli protest at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate on Monday, police said. A Reuters witness said demonstrators were chanting "death to Israel" and "death to Zionists", while some carried placards bearing the image of Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Police said around 1,200 people took part in the protest at the German capital's famous landmark, not far from a major memorial to the millions of Jews killed in the Holocaust.

Talk about an overwhelming sense of déjà vu

Should they stay or should they go………

The Jerusalem Post is now reporting that the Israeli ground troops have now returned from Lebanon:
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. Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz declared that the IDF currently had much better alternatives than to launch a major ground incursion into Lebanon.

And the much better alternatives are – continuing to target the same runway in Beirut over and over again?

Speaking of rumors – this one is a whopper. A group calling itself the Lebanese Foundation for Peace is claiming that they have intelligence which suggests that the two kidnapped Israeli soldiers are being held in the Iranian embassy in Beirut.

A perusal of the website implies that it is a Christian Lebanese group whose sympathies lie with the former president Bashir Gemayel which places the group’s political ethos as a pro-Christian, anti-Syrian/Hezbollah party.

It would certainly be a most audacious move for the Iranians, but oddly enough, my initial instinct thinks not. As tied to Iran as Hezbollah is, I cannot see Hezbollah freely giving up autonomy over the prisoners. Nor do I think that Iran wants to run the risk of having their hands caught well-muddied on this one, but it would make a very dark twist. I suspect the idea of publishing this rumor is to generate enough noise so Israel will carry this group's own freight. I may be moderately sympatico but I am also a big believer of carrying one's own load.

Boots on the Ground

ABC News is reporting that Israeli ground troops have now crossed the border into Lebanon.
JERUSALEM Jul 17, 2006 (AP)— Israeli ground troops have entered southern Lebanon to attack Hezbollah bases on the border, a government spokesman said Monday. Israel's six-day-old offensive against Hezbollah following the capture of two Israeli soldiers earlier had been an aerial campaign.

The government spokesman, Asaf Shariv, said the Israeli army chief of staff confirmed that ground troops were also in Lebanon. Earlier Monday, Israeli fighter bombers pummeled Lebanese infrastructure, setting Beirut's port ablaze and hitting a Hezbollah stronghold in attacks that killed at least 17 people. Hezbollah retaliated by firing rockets that flew farther into Israel than ever before.

Message to a Beloved Son

Happy Birthday Isaiah Sender! I will love you forever and miss you always.

Rumour, and Rumours of War

Arutz Sheva is carrying a report the Iranian Fajr missiles are being launched into Israel and there is a rumour that upwards of a 100 military advisers are currently in Beirut. Iran officially denies allegations of any military personnel in Lebanon.

Ynet News is carrying a report the British Prime Minister is suggesting that a multi-national peacekeeping mission be deployed along the Lebanon border and apparently the idea is under advisement by the European Union. What should be interesting to watch is what countries would actually pony up and contribute troops to such a mission considering the history of the multi-national deployments of peacekeeping forces to Lebanon.

Michael Oren in this New Republic article (registration required) argues that the lessons of the Six Days War need to be remembered and advances the idea that Israel should launch an offensive on Syria in order to avoid a larger regional conflict.
The answer lies in delivering an unequivocal blow to Syrian ground forces deployed near the Lebanese border. By eliminating 500 Syrian tanks--tanks that Syrian President Bashar Al Assad needs to preserve his regime--Israel could signal its refusal to return to the status quo in Lebanon. Supporting Hezbollah carries a prohibitive price, the action would say. Of course, Syria could respond with missile attacks against Israeli cities, but given the dilapidated state of Syria's army, the chances are greater that Assad will simply internalize the message. Presented with a choice between saving Hezbollah and staying alive, Syria's dictator will probably choose the latter. And the message of Israel's determination will also be received in Tehran.

Of course, he does seem to ignore the idea that any offensive launched on Syria could potentially ignite a larger regional conflict, nor does he offer any reasons why Iran would act contrary to the defensive pact signed with Syria a month ago and would choose not to get aid in the defense of Syria. Perhaps Oren feels that meeting the Iranians forces now is preferable to meeting them at some unknown later date in the future?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Syrian Count Down Clock Cleaned?

Reuters is reporting that the Israeli Air Force has launched missiles at a target along the Syrian-Lebanon border. Very little details are available at this time.

Update: Reuters has a report stating that Israeli military is claiming they have only attacked positions in Lebanon near the Syrian border.

Is the Syrian countdown clocking ticking?

Could Basher days be numbered? Ynet News has published this:
The London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Hayat reported Saturday that “Washington has information according to which Israel gave Damascus 72 hours to stop Hizbullah’s activity along the Lebanon-Israel border and bring about the release the two kidnapped IDF soldiers or it would launch an offensive with disastrous consequences.”

The report said “a senior Pentagon source warned that should the Arab world and international community fail in the efforts to convince Syria to pressure Hizbullah into releasing the soldiers and halt the current escalation Israel may attack targets in the country.”

Al-Hayat quoted the source as saying that “the US cannot rule out the possibility of an Israeli strike in Syria,” this despite the fact that the Bush administration has asked Israel to “refrain from any military activity that may result in civilian casualties.”

The IDF continues the papering Beirut with paper and strategic missile strikes. Ynet carries this report of the activity:
Lebanese sources said Saturday that some 70 people, mostly civilians, were killed thus far since the beginning of Israel’s offensive in the county last Wednesday. The air strikes in Lebanon continued Friday and Saturday, with Lebanon police reporting that the Israeli Air Force attacked targets in the northern city of Tripoli, located some 90 kilometers (55 miles) north of the capital Beirut. Warplanes also attacked gas stations and petrol tanks along the coastal highway linking the capital Beirut to the south.

Lebanon police also said three civilians were killed in an aerial attack in the Lebanese Valley, near the border with Syria. According to reports, the IAF also bombarded two bridges in the area as well as communications facilities. Additional attacks were reported ion south Lebanon.

Seventeen Lebanese citizens were injured overnight during an IAF attack on the Damor Bridge; earlier witnesses reported that warplanes attacked a petrol facility near the village of Ras el-Ayin in south Lebanon. At around midnight it was reported that five people were killed and eight others were wounded in another IAF strike in the south; among those killed were two Syrians working in Lebanon.

As part of the ongoing campaign against Hizbullah, IAF planes dropped leaflets on Beirut criticizing the terror group’s chief, Hassan Nasrallah. The leaflet includes a caricature of Nasrallah, who is depicted as a Cobra snake about to swallow the Lebanese capital.
The IAF did target the headquarters of Nasrallah and it is reported that Nasrallah was not in the 11 storey building at the time. I suppose one cannot win them all.

Hugo Chavez wades in with his two pesos against the Israelis. Of course, some might give credence to Chavez’s judgment concerning the judicious use of excessive forces since Chavez uses it regularly against his perceived political opponents.

In case you had any doubts; Syria backs both Hezbollah and Lebanon.

The Syrian Ambassador to the US throws a hissy fit and stalks out when Israeli Ambassador Danny Avalon suggests that they appear together on a MSNBC broadcast.

Ha’aretz is reporting that the missing body of an Israeli sailor has been recovered and that contrary is earlier reports the Israel vessel was hit not by a drone but an Iranian made C-802 missile.

Hezbollah has managed to launch Katyusha rockets as far inland as Tiberias approximately 35 kilometers from the Lebanese border.

Friday, July 14, 2006

French Formula

Chirac condemns Israel. Yadda, Yadda. Ynet News:
President Jacques Chirac said Friday that Israel's military offensive against Lebanon is "totally disproportionate" and asked whether destroying Lebanon was not the ultimate goal. However, he also said that rockets fired on Israel by Hezbollah and Hamas are "inadmissible, unacceptable and irresponsible."
Experience and finesse are needed to find a way out of the crisis, he added. Chirac blamed both sides for the current situation - but did not spare Israel. "One could ask if today there is not a sort of will to destroy Lebanon, its equipment, its roads, its communication," Chirac said during an interview in the garden of the presidential Elysee Palace to mark Bastille Day, the French national holiday.

How come no one ever quizzes Chirac on really fun questions; like how the French applied the alleged principles of proportional force to say - Algeria & Vietnam?

One more thing

A good way to show support for the Israeli state is to buy Israeli (I'll be adding to my Golan Heights wine collection today) or consider a donation to Magen David Adom (the Israeli equivalent to the Red Cross Society).

Quick Hits on Day Zero

I have hit day zero in the lead up to the big birthday countdown in my family. Today starts with my mother's, mine to follow in 2 days, Isaiah Sender's on Monday and ending with the Last Amazon's on the 24th so time is limited. Why the Last Amazon chose to sign up to run a triathlon on my birthday is beyond my understanding, and I fully intend to hold it against her, in the hopes that I can get out of cooking entirely on Sunday. Since my time is limited and I have to call my mother before I leave for work, here's just a quick round-up.

The IDF repel an infiltration attempt by Hezbollah and widen the offensive reports the Jerusalem Post:

IDF forces foiled an infiltration attempt by Hizbullah operatives near an IDF post close to Zar'it on the northern border on Friday. Troops opened fire towards the infiltrators and clashes erupted in the area. Meanwhile, IAF fighter-bombers blasted Beirut International Airport in the third attack on the nation's sole international facility since the military offensive was launched against Lebanon three days ago.

Airport officials said one of the three runways was hit with two missiles and Lebanese eyewitnesses reported that a nearby residential building was struck in the raid. No casualties were reported. About an hour before Friday's raid, the five remaining Airbus jets belonging to the national carrier Middle East Airlines flew to Amman for safety reasons, officials said.

Earlier, the IAF struck the main Hizbullah headquarters building in Beirut as well as an adjacent structure that housed security guards. The IDF said that the headquarters, which were in the Shi'ite neighborhood of Dahiya, were used to direct terrorism around the world. Police said that three people were killed and 55 wounded in overnight IAF air strikes against the Lebanese capital's southern suburbs where Hizbullah has its strongholds.

Israel widened its offensive on Lebanon early Friday with an air strike on the southern suburbs of the capital that are strongholds of Hizbullah and a raid on a large fuel storage tank at a power station, police and witnesses said. The impact of at least seven missiles were heard in the attack on south Beirut in the hours before dawn on Friday, according to an AP photographer, reporter and other witnesses. Anti-aircraft fire from the ground echoed in other suburbs of Beirut as the planes roared over the Lebanese capital.

The Galilee has been hit, reports Ynet News:
A Katyusha rocket barrage landed Friday morning in an open area in the Moshav Biria, near Safed. There were no reports of injuries, and fire fighters were working to put out the fire that started in the area. Simulatnaously, rockets were fired at Rosh Pina. There were no reports of injuries. earlier, rockets landed in open areas near Kibbutz Baram in the Galilee panhandle.

A senior Hizbullah official told the al-Arabiya network that "the Lebanese resistance is preparing further surprises in response to Israel's bombardments tonigh and this morning in Lebanon."

Asked whether Hizbullah plans to fire additional rockets at Haifa, the official added: "We promised to respond and we will stick by our commitments. The way to respond is up to our commanders in the field, and the enemy should prepare for surprises."

So much for Hezbollah's denial earlier stating that they did not fire on Haifa. The damage does not seem to be extensive and on a purely personal note, Haifa is the place that the Last Amazon and I had decided to use as our primarily base when we visit Israel upon her graduation. You have no idea how peeved I will be if the shelling keeps up.

The current Israel Defense Minister had a run-in with a Katyusha reports the Jerusalem Post:
Peretz arrived at the military base overlooking Safed at 1:30 PM and went straight into a meeting with OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Udi Adam and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz. During the meeting, large explosions were heard in the background and Peretz's military attach Brig.-Gen. Eitan Dangot began arguing with another officer whether the explosions were caused by Israeli artillery fire or Katyusha rockets landing nearby.

Suddenly a siren went off throughout the base and without wasting anytime or taking chances, Peretz's team of Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) security guards decided to rush the minister to a nearby underground bunker. Peretz at first laughed and told the officers at the meeting: "I am from Sderot. This is not such a big deal."

Before entering the bunker, Peretz tried to hold a meeting with leaders of local councils in the North about the current tense situation. The meeting, however, was cut short after the security guards decided to move it to the bunker. On his way out of the meeting, Yonit Levy, Channel 2's anchorwoman, tried provoking the minister and asked him: "What do you say to the people who claim you are a defense minister without experience?" Peretz decided not to answer and told journalists: "Don't get excited. I come from Sderot where there are constantly Kassam attacks."

The Iranian president is threatening Israel with retailiation if Israel attacks Syria.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned Israel against extending its offensive in Lebanon to neighboring Syria and said such a move would equate to an attack against the Islamic world, the official Iranian news agency reported Friday.
Syria and Shiite Muslim Iran are the top backers of the Shiite Hezbollah guerrilla in Lebanon.

"If the occupying regime of Jerusalem attacks Syria, it will be equivalent to an attack on the whole Islamic world and the regime (Israel) will face a crushing response" Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.
Ahmadinejad made the comments in a telephone conversation with Syrian President Bashar Assad to assure him of his support. The Iranian leader called on Muslim countries to create a united front against Israel. "The Islamic world, especially countries in this region, need more unity and integrity, particularly in the context of Lebanon and Palestine," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying. "The Islamic republic of Iran supports the case (for unity) with all its diplomatic capacity," he said.

Separately, the spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry denied Israeli allegations that the captured Israeli soldiers were being transferred to Iran.

I know there is a general consensus that Syria is pulling the strings on Hezbollah and that targeting Syria for Hezbollah’s actions would make a far more effective response, but Israel can only play the hand it is given. Until some hard evidence comes to light that Syria sponsored the recent attack, Israel’s hands are tied. The IDF must rise to meet the threats that come openly and not chase the shadows in the night at this time.

But what is the real purpose of Iran’s threat to Israel? Israelis do not live in the dark ages and are very well aware that Syria and Iran signed a mutual defense treaty less than a month ago. The signing ceremony was well covered by the world press. So one has to ask; what is the point of issuing an open threat to Israel when Israel’s response has been measured to target Hezbollah in Lebanon. Are the Iranians now attempting to use schoolyard goading in the hopes of provoking an Israeli response?

Has the Israeli state been around so long in the Middle East that even the Iranians are now presuming that Israeli state can be presumed to think and act like every other third world Arab despot?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

What 3rd rate pisspot of a country doesn’t have Russian made weapons?

The Israel Insider carries Russia’s official denial:
Russia on Friday rejected an Israeli claim that the Lebanese guerrilla group Hizbollah used Russian-made rockets that had been sold to Syria.

Israel's Yediot Ahronot newspaper on Thursday quoted Israeli Maj. Gen. Aharon Zeevi-Farkash, the head of army intelligence, as saying Hezbollah had used Russian-made rocket-propelled grenades purchased by Syria in two recent cross-border attacks into Israel. "There are not and cannot be any grounds for this," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said in a statement Friday.

"The system we have created for control of weapons exports is one of the strictest and most reliable," he said, adding that the system would not allow Russian weapons to reach unintended recipients.

And pigs fly.

"Steve" Harper's The Man

Finally, we have a prime minister in this country who doesn’t speak weasleze reports the Globe and Mail:
LONDON — Responsibility for the escalating violence in the Middle East rests entirely with those who have kidnapped Israeli soldiers, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday.

Mr. Harper, on his first major international foray, hadn't even touched down in Europe before aligning himself firmly with the United States and Israel in the latest conflagration.

“Israel has the right to defend itself,” the prime minister told reporters aboard a Canadian Forces Airbus en route to London, where he's starting a week-long diplomatic mission.

“I think Israel's response under the circumstances has been measured.”

Israeli military incursions into Lebanon following the kidnapping of two of its soldiers threatened to toss the volatile region into full-scale war. While many countries are urging restraint, Mr. Harper said “the onus to end this escalation is on the other side, and I would urge them to return the prisoners.”

In a prepared statement delivered midway over the Atlantic Ocean, Mr. Harper said: “It's essential that Hezbollah and Hamas release their Israeli prisoners and any countries in that area that have influence on these organizations should encourage an end to violence and recognize — and encourage the recognition of — Israel's right to exist.”

He said he found it “tremendously disappointing” that Palestinian organizations are launching attacks on Israel from a territory that Israel “voluntarily evacuated.”

I find that I have suddenly developed an overwhelming impulse to pinch myself and give my head a shake. You know, I am now going to hope that they seat Harper between Putin and Chirac at the G-8 Summit Meeting.
I wrote about my gut instincts on Toronto’s own homegrown jihadies shortly after their arrest in June 2006:
I am reserving full judgment until the crown’s case is fully laid out and until that day; I cannot speculate accurately as to the how serious the intentions of the alleged perpetrators were, nor can I realistically judge their commitment to Jihad in Canada. Let me direct – there is nothing like having an allegedly neutral undercover party cheering you on to higher highs or giving you a shove over the edge when you have been content to sit around with your buddies discussing how much Canadians/Christians/Jews sucks while playing extreme camper now and then. Really, it seems more like Boys club than Jihad.

So what do I read in the Toronto Star this morning? Nothing more than our intelligence agencies were running moles in the all-Canadian Jihad Boys club:

Although his identity is now known within the community and also to some of the 17 terrorism suspects arrested June 2, his name cannot be published due to Canadian laws. Sources say the man worked for the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service, and then became a paid RCMP agent once a criminal investigation was launched. It's an offence under the Witness Protection Program Act to disclose the name of an RCMP agent.

While the names of sources in national security cases are often protected, this witness has agreed to testify in open court when his identity will be made public, sources say. His name has not been revealed during court proceedings now underway to determine if any of the 17 accused will be released on bail. A publication ban prevents the reporting of any evidence heard during the bail hearings.

When contacted by the Star, the police agent said he did not want to talk about the case, saying that "justice should be served," and he looked forward to testifying in court. Last month the Star revealed the involvement of a second police agent in the case, who allegedly took part in the delivery of three tonnes of ammonium nitrate. Police claim seven of the suspects were involved in the alleged plot to use the fertilizer to create truck bombs destined for targets in southern Ontario. Since police were aware of the alleged purchase, they arranged for the switch of ammonium nitrate for a harmless substance before delivery, sources said.
I won’t be surprised if the case against the 17 accused falls apart at trial, nor would it be the first time in the history of either the CSIS or the RCMP for a case to do so at trial. Actually - coloured me shocked if the Crown actually presents a compelling case for conviction.

All these years later, and yet, the song still remains the same

Ha'aretz reports 29 people wounded in Israel overnight in Hezbollah rocket barrage; one dead.

The Hezbollah Al-Manar television station in Beirut was hit. Beirut International Airport has been hit and is now closed until further notice so there goes the tourist season in Lebanon. Overnight the IAF launched over 40 separate attacks in Lebanon. The IDF has imposed a total naval and air blockade over and under Lebanon.

From Beirut to the Beltway is posting that Lebanese casualties number 26.

The IDF Home Front Command issued instructions to citizens to stay close to the bomb shelters in the northern border area. Maj.-Gen Yitzhak Gershon:

"Together with the police, the fire department and Magen David Adom, the Home Front Command can provide an efficient and professional response to any incident that might occur," Gershon promised. He added that he could not foresee a need to evacuate communities in the North even if rocket attacks worsen. "There's no need to panic, just to obey the instructions of the Home Front Command. Stay close to the shelters and you will be okay."

Gershon told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday morning that the farthest point Katyushas had reached was Mahanayim, some 25 kilometers from the border. "The IDF is expanding and deepening its operations in Lebanon," he said. "This will not be over soon. We need to have patience and restraint to be able to achieve our goals."
Hezbollah’s range is now 25 miles inland and the IDF Home Front Command is warning, “This will not be over soon.”

What a change! For once, the US Administration and I are in agreement – the combined patronage of Iran and Syria are to blame. Of course, one should never discount the power of a strong belief in the rheotric of denial.

Debkafile is reporting that Iran’s National Security Adviser, Ali Larijani, flies to Damascus. Gee, I wonder why?

My heart bleeds for Lebanese people. I cannot imagine at worst fate than facing the wrath of the IDF and to be left standing on the wrong side of history - for the second time. The Cedar Revolution that began with the people and showed so much promise only to crushed by the errors of the past. That promise might have been faltering in recent months by the established politicos of the old guard but the Lebanese people had not given up on themselves.

I am an outsider looking in. If anything, the old guard of Lebanese politics must go. In fact, they have failed to learn the lessons of history and by their refusal to stand up and confront Hezbollah, have allowed Hezbollah to lead the Lebanese people back onto the frontline arena of war. How many times will you allow them to fail you? Cast them off before they kill all of you.

Hezbollah demands the loyalty of the Lebanese people to their cause, and yet, where is Hezbollah’s loyalty to the people of Lebanon? Who died and elected Nasrallah as leader of the Lebanese people? Hezbollah brought this war unto the heads of the Lebanese people and claims to act in your name while all the time scurrying for favour from Tehran and Damascus. And when you bury your dead - will he come to comfort those who mourn? While the joys of martyrdom may wait for Hezbollah members, most of the Lebanese I have ever known would prefer the living warmth of their earthly wives, mistresses, and girlfriends to the cold comforts offered by celestial graves. If the Lebanese do not shake off the yoke of Hezbollah, once and for all, Lebanon will never be able to take their rightful place as a free nation among free nations.