Sunday, August 20, 2006

Targeting Civilians

A Lebanese Civil War tradition; firing from civilian areas. This time with an Iraniand and Israeli twist, civilians find themselves between a rock and a hard place...

Another Lebanese Civil War tradition; shooting at the Red Cross.

The Lebanese Red Cross had its share of martyrs, shot by one side or the other.

The Hard Place: ze Hezb

Hezb’s fighter fought brilliantly; thanks to Iranian funding and Nasrallah’s organizational skills, it proved the potential of those uniquely Lebanese qualities of intelligence and scheming. The scheming was uniquely cynical; by using built-up areas, Hezb had three huge advantages;

  1. Their launchers were difficult to detect.
  2. If detected, they were difficult to shoot without causing civilian casualties.
  3. If shot at, the Israeli retaliation would then be viewed as an attack against civilians. A nice propaganda bonus.

The “Islamic resistance” would fire from villages, or hide in them. You can download the videos from here. The Israeli retaliation would then destroy the lot; this is what apparently happened in cana; the denser the urban setting, the better. It would not hurt if some of the martyrdom minded were Iranian Jail-birds

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, villagers have little choice in the matter. Those who chose neither and refuse to play the martyrdom game are punished.

The Rock: Israel

This is not to say that Israel does not target civilians on purpose. The Israelis are self-centered enough to play Hezb’s little game; we’re all “rag heads” to them anyway. An example of this is their attacks against the Lebanese Red Cross; on one hand, the LRC was always neutral in the conflict, on the other hand, Hezb has always scrupulously respected its neutrality. Didn’t I mention they were smart?

Precision-guided munitions made many hits against the Lebanese Red Cross. This picture shows the impact of a “Hellfire” type missile on an Ambulance; those are guided anti-tank missiles. because of the shape charge, the missile punctures whatever armour is in its way, and explodes inside. Unless it's a "dud".

No mistake here.

And no obfuscation from the Lebanese side.

Obfuscation? Not quite...

Some sites deny the truth of the story, and pick at details that don't quite fit. The ill-informed American media did overplay some stories, but not this one.

The fact remains that this ambulance was targeted by an air strike. Back in the day, the Lebanese Red Cross did loose quite a few paramedics, many of them to Israel. The Israelis tend to shoot first...

Denying facts is counter productive; if the Israelis are really serious about fighting Hezb, they better try to learn about their ennemy. The Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer,having initally jumped on the "hoax" bandwagon, is being taugh to get his facts straight before mouthing off. It is not Lebanon's fault for Australia's unintelligent immigration policy... In any case, even the placid International Comitee for the Red Cross is not Amused. What a Downer; crow for dinner?

In Lebanon, few have much love lost on Hezb, whose men kidnapped and killed two Lebanese Red Cross paramedics. But they act "smarter" nowadays...

I would wish the Israelis would stop lawyering up and admit the screw-up. This was far from the only one; remember the many attacks on civilian convoys?

There are no saints in this war, least of all Hezb or Israel. It is this kind of attitude that explains why, once greeted you with flowers, the Israelis are now so hated in Lebanon.

The Lebanese Red Cross earned respect

The LRC is an association that sacrificed much; its volunteer paramedics are drawn from across the confessional spectrum. Its motto, “Beyond Duty”, still rings very true.

The LRC has lost numerous martyrs to one side or the other. It may be one of the most professional organizations in Lebanon, and the only one non-affiliated with any party, group, or confession.

The LRC has won many awards from humanitarian organisations, and even commendations from the US and the French Army.

Maybe that’s why its is such a tempting target.

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