Some Lebanon links

In Misc. on July 27, 2006 at 11:40 pm

I haven’t really been posting since this mess in Lebanon started, so I wanted to post up some links to articles I either liked or found interesting.

For the most recent updates (aka today),  BBC had a good article that included some sumamaries of the conflict.  Here are a couple of highlights from the article:

“We received yesterday at the Rome conference permission from the world… to continue the operation,’ Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon said.”
“[Israeli Justice Minister] Ramon…said that in order to prevent casualties among Israeli soldiers battling Hezbollah militants in southern Lebanon, villages should be flattened by the Israeli air force before ground troops moved in.”

Then last week, while in Brussels, one of my in-laws gave me this article to read.  One of the highlights of the article is:

Neoconservatives deceived Americans into an illegal attack and debilitating war in Iraq. American neoconservatives are closely allied with Israel’s Likud Party….neocons hold high positions in the Bush regime. Ten years ago these architects of American foreign and military policy spelled out how they would use deception to achieve “important Israeli strategic objectives” in the Middle East. First, they would focus “on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.” This would open the door for Israel to provoke attacks from Hezbollah. The attacks would let Israel gain American sympathy and permit Israel to seize the strategic initiative by “engaging Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon.”

This article is the only place i’ve read these accusations, so I can’t vouch for them, but if they are true, then things are deeper than everyone realizes.  It’s worth checking into.  Anyone have any more information?

Finally, in trying to find the above mentioned artilce online, I encountered another good article on the economic impacts of the Israeli assaults on Lebanon.  Most of what I read and hear in the media talks about civilian casualty counts, which is bad enough, however  the larger picture of long term economic effects also needs to be considered.  The article claims that Lebanon has already suffered so much damage that its economy may never recover.

  1. The claim that Israel was give approval to proceed at the Rome conference is being hotly contested.
    From the Jerusalem Post:

    “Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja on Thursday dismissed Israel’s view that the international community had sanctioned it to proceed with its military activity in Lebanon. ‘It’s a totally incorrect interpretation,’ said Tuomioja of the outcome of Wednesday’s conference in Rome, in which the US, UN, World Bank and several EU and Arab states met to discuss the crisis in Lebanon.”

    And from UPI:

    “Tuomioja’s protest was echoed by Berlin and Rome.
    “Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi stressed that ‘the position expressed by the conference cannot be interpreted as an authorization.’
    “Meanwhile German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier insisted the Rome emergency talks had signaled “just the opposite,” as all its participants ‘wanted to see an end to the fighting as swiftly as possible.’

    “While the Rome conference stopped short of explicitly calling for a cease-fire, Israel must note that its failure to do so was a result only of U.S. opposition to such a move.”

    And as for the Neocons broader plan, a good overview is done by Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar at The Online Journal:

    In 1996, the newly elected prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, commissioned a study group, called ”Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000,” to craft a strategy for Israel in the coming decades. The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies’ which included Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser, created Israel’s strategy paper titled: “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm” [11].
    The paper contains six pages of recommendations for Benjamin Netanyahu and some of the more relevant suggestions are presented bellow:

    We have for four years pursued peace based on a New Middle East. We in Israel cannot play innocents abroad in a world that is not innocent. Peace depends on the character and behaviour of our foes. We live in a dangerous neighbourhood, with fragile states and bitter rivalries. Displaying moral ambivalence between the effort to build a Jewish state and the desire to annihilate it by trading “land for peace” will not secure “peace now.” Our claim to the land — to which we have clung for hope for 2000 years — is legitimate and noble. It is not within our own power, no matter how much we concede, to make peace unilaterally. Only the unconditional acceptance by Arabs of our rights, especially in their territorial dimension, “peace for peace,” is a solid basis for the future.
    Syria challenges Israel on Lebanese soil. An effective approach, and one with which American can sympathize, would be if Israel seized the strategic initiative along its northern borders by engaging Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran, as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon, including by:

    striking Syria’s drug-money and counterfeiting infrastructure in Lebanon, all of which focuses on Razi Qanan.
    paralleling Syria’s behaviour by establishing the precedent that Syrian territory is not immune to attacks emanating from Lebanon by Israeli proxy forces.
    striking Syrian military targets in Lebanon, and should that prove insufficient, striking at select targets in Syria proper.

    Work closely with Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize, and roll-back some of its most dangerous threats. This implies clean break from the slogan, “comprehensive peace” to a traditional concept of strategy based on balance of power.
    Change the nature of its relations with the Palestinians, including upholding the right of hot pursuit for self-defence into all Palestinian areas and nurturing alternatives to Arafat’s exclusive grip on Palestinian society.

    Given the nature of the regime in Damascus, it is both natural and moral that Israel abandon the slogan “comprehensive peace” and move to contain Syria, drawing attention to its weapons of mass destruction program, and rejecting “land for peace” deals on the Golan Heights.
    Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria.

    This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions. Jordan has challenged Syria’s regional ambitions recently by suggesting the restoration of the Hashemites in Iraq. This has triggered a Jordanian-Syrian rivalry to which Asad has responded by stepping up efforts to destabilize the Hashemite Kingdom, including using infiltrations. Syria recently signalled that it and Iran might prefer a weak, but barely surviving Saddam, if only to undermine and humiliate Jordan in its efforts to remove Saddam.

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