Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Onward (Non-Denominational) Soldiers

We’ve just received a declaration of Civil War, or at least war with UNIFIL.

Nasrallah has Revealed Next Move.

He did so during another one of those ant-American Jamborees. How can we trust what he said?

Simple; we know Nasrallah is telling the truth because Nasrallah says he is telling the truth, and since Nasrallah never lies, he can only be telling the truth when he says is telling the truth. Q.E.D.

Simpler; he has painted himself into this corner. Backing down now would mean certain defeat, and maybe worse. His best strategy is to escalate matters and hope for best. Still, this “Inch Allah” option is going to be a helluvaHail Mary Pass”, and they’ll be hell to pay; I think the 3rd commandments applies to all of us monotheists, Jews, Christians and Moslems. Dura Lex...

And this time, the truth is embedded in the message, as pointed out by an excellent piece on Naharnet, “Nasrallah's 'National' Tag”, by Mohammed Salam. Mr Salam point out the key statements in the speech, where the Great Syed now asks for the help of other "National " factions.

When in a hole… get a Fig Leaf.

I a move to perpetuate the resistance myth, he is looking for fig leaves… er, Allies that can join his march for Liberation; by combining the forces of his “Islamic Resistance in Lebanon (IRL)” with the “Lebanese National Resistance Movement (LNRM)”.

No doubt those "secular" movement will forget how many of them were "liquidated", to give room for Hezb to take over the "Resistance", much like Hezb forgot Syria's massacre of its men the Khairallah barracks during the "war of the Suburbs". Who ever said loveless marriages do not last? Aoun already forgave Syria for the kidnappings of his supporters..

We’ll call the new outfit the “Non-Denominational Alliance of the Islamic-Christian Proletariat for a National Resistance Movement against Zionists and their Western Lackeys (NDAICPNRMaZWL)”. Also known as “BFD” for short; Another perpetuation of the myth of "Lebanese Exception" and our fake unity, and maybe even the mythology of world-wide class struggle... к победе, камрады!

This glorious alliance will then attempt to Liberate Shebaa. It takes no crook/soothsayer to then see how this can lead to more war and destruction;

Since the UNIFIL is in the Way…

Expect the first actions around February 14th; no, not south, that would give away the plan. Expect another push north, from Dahyeh to Downtown…

It appears that Hezb now considers “that it is ‘criminal’ for citizens to gather, demonstrate, and hold sit-ins”. I guess the planned commemoration of Hariri’s assassination is a threat to national security. True, Hariri had his faults, but he did not kill that many people.

True, downtown is turning into a shrine, which sometimes makes me regret the fist candles we lit up there… But it is a fact that Hariri had his admirers, not all for hire; I can think of more than 22,000 extended families that now benefit from their children’s education.

Now, according to Hezb, commemorations and gatherings for this war-monger “may lead to civil strife”, the “responsibility is borne by the individuals who participate, and the leaders of the groups that call for such gatherings”.

Of course, unless Hezb-bla-bla moves to confront this threat to “national unity

The Road to Liberate Shebaa goes Through… Downtown!

… Or to mass suicide; this was pointed out by Anton Effendi, in his “Path to Suicide” post. Indeed, by painting any reasonable compromise as “surrender”, Nasrallah condemns his followers to a uselss, suicidal, civil war.

Why useless? Nasrallah forgets that he "could liberate Jerusalem and hand it back to the Palestinians tomorrow", but "he will always be a rejectionist Muslim" to most Sunni Moslems. The Kurdish prince Salah El-Din E;-Ayoubi was a great hero, but his "liberation" of Jerusalem did not the Kurds much good at Halabja.

Why civil war? Well, the Daily Star’s Michael Young warned that “next time around, Lebanon will be in a civil war”, because of the persistence of such Jusqu’au bout-isme. However, few among the current Shiite leadership are likely to heed his warning.

Why Suicidal? Even Hezb’s ex leader Subhi Tufayli has noted the danger in this attitude, and reminded the Shiites to forego the “majority/minority” discourse.

Indeed, much like Christians, Alawites and Druze, Shiites are “small minorities scattered in the vast sea of the Islamic world”. They are even more so within “Greater Syria”, where it remains “in their interest to be allies for the majority and to mend fences with Sunnis”. In an increasingly sectarian Fertile Crescent, the Shiites risk destroying “even [their] future, and [could] be slaughtered like sheep, even in Lebanon; this is a reality”.

They better stand up and take notice; compared to Tufayli, Nasrallah used to sound like a moderate and a realist among the fundamentalists, if there ever was such a thing. So when Tufauli calls your actions “crazy”…

… You’ve really stepped in it.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Gimme a Freakin' Break

It is not enough they dragged us back past the Stone Age, our politicians and media are now up in arms about a bunch of poison balloons infiltrating from Israel.

Sorry to burst your bubble (pun intended), those are simply part of a promotional campaign for something called “Ha’ir”, a “Schocken group newspaper”. Or is it Ha’Ayr” (pun intended)? can’t quite make the writing… Leave that to the Language students at B.A.U. to figure out, after they're done beating up one another...

So Here is the True Story, Folks:

The balloons were Israeli poison gas, The snipers were all evil Syrian and Palestinians fiends bent on dividing a united people, and the rioters were all … you guessed it; Mossad Agents. Moi good Lebanese. Us united. Us One People. Us make mother Teresa blush with envy. Hugggh.

It is noteworthy the news comes from the sorry-state run Lebanese “National News Agency”. Still a long way to Orwell’s ministry of truth, but I think we’re making progress… I guess someone forgot to read their freakin’ balloons. Well, L.U "beating" curriculum leaves little time for reading and logic...

And Here is Another Doozy (Follow-up / Jan. 28th, 2007)

Thanks to G and "Boul" for the links... It seems Tayyar is learning for Hezb in the Lies deparment. Is Nasrallah rubbing in on Aoun? Herr General jumped on the story, and displayed the pictures on Al-Manar…

Few people may like Geagea and his kind, but fewer are downright idiots, and most would hate to be taken for morons. Whatever the merits of one’s cause, it cannot justify Lies and deceit. True, the FL had weapons; every one did. But maybe not in those particular instances.

Chill, dude; you won't win this way... And now, you gave them a heck of an argument; even two, and may be more … Many may want you to be president it, but not this way.

Not Anymore, Not Ever...

Oh, and the poison cases?

What do you expect, with a country falling back into civil war? Mass hysteria, simply put. Yes, the phenomenon is much more widespread than we care to think; it is called “psychogenic illness”, soon coming to a neighbourhood near you. The human mind is a powerful thing. Especially an Arab mind fed on inane theories, nonsense, or worseAnd even more a Lebanese mind focused on fighting rather than learning...

Or more simply, the story is made up.

Bless their heart, why you anyone do such a thing?

Follow-Up (Jan. 28th, 2007)

An important issue was raised by Nadine in her comment below; when she pointed out that the Western mind is as prone to conspiracy theories that the Arab mind. Indeed, an example of such mass hysterias in the west about, the most famous of which were caused by CBC Radio's “War of the Worlds” Broadcast on October 30th, 1938

Indeed, Nadine points out my own display of bigotry, driven by my hysteria about mass hysteria, forgetting, as she rightly points out, that there is “no such thing as an ‘American mind’, a ‘Jewish mind’ or an ‘Arab mind’" Ghassan Karam saves my hind (a little) when he points out that “the belief in simple and easily refutable conspiracies” appears wider in Lebanon and Syria.

All of us on God’s green earth remain essentially Homo Erraticus.

I think the real difference here is not in “minds”, but in different political “mindsets”. In the Arab world, our conspiracies tend to be more “political” than others, as highlighted by Fubar when he cites the Iranian newspaper stories. The West indeed still have their share of crackpot theories. And the groupies that flock around our political version of the Beatles, the local cockroaches, tend to be of the bearded kind, and sing a tune with far deadlier consequences, as highlighted by Solomon2...

Ghassan further raises an intriguing question, asking whether “the level of education and access to information helps shape our beliefs”. This may well be, but there is evidence that shows that intelligence and education may not affect many aspects of our decision making as much as subjectivity and impulsive thinking. This may be related to our human intuition; it seems that even vision and perception is more complex than we think, and could even un-coupled, and more “subjective”. Disclaimer; the link is wrong to state that science is perception (he's jumping to conclusion) but he makes an interesting point, worth investigating further.

In short. Thank you for “beating me over the head” with the fact(s) that I ignored. I deserved it, and it may happen again, so, in advance;


Follow-Up (Jan. 29th, 2007)

The "Ouwet" are having a field day with this...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

We're Baaack

It is not over by any stretch of the imagination; Hezb is plotting next moves, Aoun is fighting for his political life, and Siniora hopes for a chance to doll out the dough

I feared the worse this weekend, it came earlier. Now I fear that Monday will be hot; how will students go back to classes now? Sunnis and Shiites in the same rooms, campuses, and dorms?

Some in the press are even channelling Savonarola against his modern intellectual heirs in Lebanon, in effect, the whole sinister lot. I can’t help but feel that there is no hell hot enough for those who started this (my loose translation), however they did it, whoever they are, whatever their reasons…

Still like those politicians of yours?

Well, we have the leaders we deserve, I guess... Spare a though for the generation that preceded you, and tasted the real taste of war, and shed real blood. Today, as I see the pieces of our lives thrown away again, I have little to add to those who say that "our own formula has expired" (H/T Blacksmith Jade).Just this; in the video, one man was telling his father, the day of his uncle's funeral;

"say hello to your (dead) brother, O my father, and to your mother".

The man killed his own brother. Some killed their own children. Some killed their own parents. All betrayed their country, themselves, their families, and God's commands to mankind. It is still true that those who want to have dinner with the devil need a helluva long spoon. So keep following those sheep herders of yours, and Say goodbye to your loved ones;

The brothers you will kill,

The sisters you will shame,

The mother and father you will dishonour.

...and All for the sake of a chair, a black turban, a fistful of greenbacks

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Reality Bites

Lies, Damn lies and …

Main Stream Media.

I wuz wrong, truth is not the first casualty of war; it is the first casualty of the bias in the Media. As we were “discussing” the latest events, J-U pointed out to me how the news headlines differ among the media;

Mostaqbal Newspaper, aka Hariri: "The [Hezb] government is besieging Lebanon"

Future TV, aka Hariri: "5 dead from Mostaqbal"

Euronews: "5 dead from [Hezb] riot"

LBC, aka “LF-ish”: "5 dead from Lebanese Forces"

New TV, aka “I Still Hate Hariri”: "5 dead: 1 from LF, and 4 from Tayyar"

Which leaves us with a total of 15 dead; 6 from LF, 5 from Mostaqbal, 4 from Tayyar, and no Lebanese killed…. Actually, it appears that newTV happens to be closer to the truth this time; there were more than 8 killed and at least 150 wounded. Some of the wounded were not better off than the dead, and a few may rejoin their ranks as time goes on…

And the (deeper) truth behind all this? Well, it is a bit more convoluted, with many facets;

The Limits of Freedom

First, the facts, in my humble, yet accurate, opinion:

1- A Person’s freedom stops at the gate of another One’s Freedom. Simple. Which means that you have the right to demonstrate, but you do not have the right to obstruct me. So no burning tires, even if the big chief decides that it is “legal”. And get out of the private property you’re occupying, or start paying rent.

2- La continuité de l’Etat. The state must go on, and its actions should not be impeded; in that sense, the army and/or the police where under the obligation to remove the barriers and make sure the state of law was upheld. What with those water cannons anyway? Those that were not there… It is in the vacuum left by the security services that the militias poured in.

3- Whether you think Siniora is a crook (who isn’t?) and Hezb are saints (righ), the timing is suspicious, to say the least. Whatever the merits of HassAoun’s proletarian message, those actions only turn Lebanon into a message. No, not the one meant by the late Pope Jean-Paul II.

Message to the Saudi; Behold my Flaming Tires

We are the second part of extortion message from Iranians to Saudis;

Part 1; Mary at ExitZero had pointed out an “interesting” piece on AsiaTimes, where Kaveh L Afrasiabi, simply proposes that “the Lebanese crisis be resolved amicably with the reapportionment of cabinet posts more proportional to the balance of political forces in the country, as favoured by not just Hezbollah but also by certain Christian leaders”. The message was noted earlier, and came on the heels of earlier hints by Ali Larijani, but it had little “positive” reaction.

Part 2; The little barbeque of tires. So You think Iraq was bad? Wait till you see Lebanon. And we ask for so little in return, only want a bigger share of the pie. And now, Prince Bandar bin Sultan is talking to Ali Larijani in Tehran, maybe cooking some sort of deal that excludes Aoun, of course… Even if they do, events will catch up with the deal; the dead can’t reproduce, but they sure do multiply

Message to the West: Si Paris m’Etais contée

The events were only the second part of extortion message from Iranians to the West. Here we should note that Hezb likes the money, but not the strings attached to it;

Part 1; UNIFIL is often reminded to “mind its own business” and to stay out of Hezb’s way. I am sure those villagers were only concerned about Spanish spies; those devious Spaniards invaded us before… No wait, in spain, weren't we the invaders?

Part 2: We can screw up your planned “recovery”. Not that the reform package was great, but the timing there is “blatant”… The Paris conference started on Wednesday; the airport road was opened just in time for PM Siniora’s trip. Was Hezb playing close to the edge, or did he relent in the face of more muscled arguments?

We’ll see this weekend, on the PM’s return from ParisIf he can.

Facts are stubborn things…

Kinda like electrons, facts speak for themselves. Kinda like electrons;

I cannot prove that electrons exist, but I believe fervently in their existence. And if you don't believe in them, I have a high voltage cattle prod I'm willing to apply as an argument on their behalf. Electrons speak for themselves.”

Facts, also shock; They Bite...

Follow-Up (Jan. 25th, 2007);

Thanks to Fubar for pointing this out; it seems that “Oil traders and others believe that the Saudi decision to let the price of oil tumble has more to do with Iran than economics”, and that “the Saudis are not doing this alone, that the other Sunni-dominated oil producing countries and the U.S. are working together”. With that in mind, then Prince Bandar may rather be in Tehran to read them the riot act, rather than make a deal.

To be sure, pressure seems to be mounting on Iran, in another development (H/T Fubar, via AbuKais), “The government of Bahrain has decided to close its borders to Iranians, starting from midnight Tuesday”. Either Bahraini Rulers maybe concerned that their majority Shiite population, or they are acting in conjunction with their Wahhabi brethren in Saudi Arabia. It should be noted that the Khalifa Dynasty that rules Bahrain since 1783 are essentially “interlopers”, who took over the area after being kicked out of Kuwait

So it appears that I may be wrong to assume a “deal” is the works. Either way, whether the Saudis read them the riot act or not, and whether the Iranians may truly be weakening in the midst of all the bluster in front of the gathering storm, those who expect Hezb to fade quietly into the night are in for some disappointment. The Iranians will not so cheaply give up the Crown Jewel of their terror network.

Follow-Up (Jan. 25th, 2007 - Part Deux);

Putaing, Ca recommence; them fan de peute is back at it again, creating more distruption with a littel help from their friends... They must really hate Paris.

Now where is that home made Arak?

Follow-up (Jan. 26th, 2007 - Part X);

The Final words in this farce belong to the Economist, a better Journal than most;

They see the events are linked to the "the peculiar make-up and intractability of the opposing forces";

"Mr Siniora’s coalition includes Druze and Christian warlords, much of the business elite and the bulk of Sunni Muslims, including extreme fundamentalist groups that see more menace in Shias than in an alliance with America.

Hizbullah, aligned with and armed by Syria and Iran, and doctrinally loyal to the latter, has found allies in old-time leftists, Arab nationalists, Syrian-backed feudal lords and the Peronist-style Christian populists of Michel Aoun, a former general who led a bloody and quixotic revolt against Syrian forces during the civil war.

What is missing is a leader who might rise above the mudslinging."

End Quote. Anyone interested, please send resume.
Evita's need not apply.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

... And so, It begins

If truth is the first casualy of war, it certainly dead long before civil wars really begin.

I apologize in advance, as some may dislike the tone of this post... In times like these I feel a little introverted as I brood over ancient themes (hence the many links to past posts). Even though I am not present in Lebanon right now, the mood seems to transmit itself telephatically. And now, it looks like my trip will be prolongued...

As I had expected

Yes, expected. Fellow blogger Solomon asked me once about how I would acted in the summer if I knew ahead of time. In a way, we all knew; in Lebanon, you can see things coming, and you can plan for such events, as long as you are not too invested emotionally. Interestingly, many of the businessmen that I have talked to were not expecting this to escalate till March, but few factored in the need for Syria to scuttle Paris III and the Lebanese government's trip there.

I guess you can never get the timing of those things right.

A line was Crossed Today

I have been commenting about this looming civil war in Lebanon for a while, and I am now becoming to sound like a broken record.

In light of Hezb's intransigence, whether it has really begun or not is now irrelevant; THE line was crossed today, with fights reported between security forces and Shiite partisans of Hezb, as well as between Aoun's partisans and Geagea's supporters.

Darwin Awards All-Round...

Rejoicing at the death of those poor morons may sound heartless to Politically Correct ears, but what else would you feel when you see a war among Syria’s ex-slaves whose main goal is to bring the massa back? May they rest in peace, and may others learn from their mistakes. While I am aware of the good intentions of many protesters, I am also well aware of their properties as a good paving material.

Like it or not, our descent towards this hell has accelerated, but the details are still a little fuzzy.

Fighting our Way Back to the Plantation

While I am still convinced that this government will not fall, I am increasingly convinced of the futility of this “opposition”, and that nothing will ultimately remain of our country's true soul, at the very least.

As I had posted before, I still see a silver lining in this cloud; Hezb's intransigence reveals an underlying weakness, and their escalation shows how little endurance they really have. Lebanon may lose much, but one thing is certain; as HassAoun crossed a line, and Lebanese Army may even be protecting them, but they sealed their own fate; Hezb and the Tayyar are already demonized, and the "Syed" is not Taboo anymore...

Alea Jacta Est

Back in December, the tone was already set. The Sunni reaction was not going to be passive in front of what then presented as a Shiite coup d’état. No matter how they "spin it"

HassAoun ignored the warning shots, dont acte:

Monday, January 22, 2007

a Pyrrhic Peace...

Syria makes overture to the United States, while at the same time stoking trouble in Lebanon. Many otherwise smart Americans, obsessed with getting out of Iraq, are making fools of themselves. Whatever it can deliver, the Alawite regime of Syria can only deliver a temporary respite, and displace the terror, but I cannot deliver peace

How to Engage the Syrians

The Alawites are smart, but they are “street-smart”. This was a sweeping sectarian statement, but the point behind it remains valid; the gang of thugs who is in power in Syria understands only force. They can exert it, as in Hama, or submit to it, as when Turkey threatened war.

Once they understand their limitations, the regime can behave really nicely, as demonstrated by the enduring peace of sorts along the Golan. But this peace comes at a price, since the Alawite military regime’s hold on power is internally weak, continuously challenged by the country’s merchant class, which happens to be the Sunni majority.

So the regime is in a quandary; now that it has achieved a peace of sorts with Israel, how can it continue its hold on power?

Should it cut military budgets, and therefore reform the economy? But this will reinforce the merchant class, in which the Alawites are under-represented. Reforms are therefore out the question, since any reforms will weaken their hand, and fortify their enemies.

Can it go to war with Israel? That’s what the huge GDP share of the military is for, after all. But all out war is out the question; without Egypt, Syria cannot afford it. Even with Egypt and much Soviet support, it could only afford to lose. And besides, in a defeat, the Alawites could lose their Army, and therefore their powerbase.

Poor Man’s Orwellian Dynamic

The regime has a third option; a poor man’s Orwellian dynamic of exporting the tensions it is storing internally, without completely destroying its neighbours. Much like a Pyromaniac Fireman...

In Syria and the Arab world, this means controlling the past. It is a past where lies and deceptions are hammered as absolute, inalienable truths. The modern world may have succumbed to Orwell’s implied “doublespeak", but the Syrian regime has long been a master of the technique, with its own “newspeak” and “doublethink

Instead of Orwell’s “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace”, Syria can only afford “sustained terrorisms for a perpetual cease-fire”.

At the smaller scale of the Middle East, the changing alliances between Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia described in 1984 are similar to the game between Syria, Iran, Israel, Turkey, and the Arabs.

But in this dynamic, Bachar’s Syria made a mistake that Hafez was always careful to avoid; it had succumbed to the facility of a long term commitment with Iran. With a millenarian cult in charge of Iran, the situation is confusing even to the Iranians, and Syria’s commitment is fast turning into entanglement, and its allies in Lebanon are struggling to keep up.

Then again, even Iran itself may not be able to stay the course...

With this in mind, Israel’s Bitkhonim obsession drove it to a costly peace with Syria. Quiet in the Golan comes at the price of civil war in Lebanon, terror in the Arab world, and terror in the West Bank and Gaza (this one comes thanks to a large helping of Israeli hubris).

Peace with Syria? A very Pyrrhic peace indeed.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Lessons of Past Wars

Dan Halutz, the Israeli army’s chief of staff finally resigned; while his letter made no “explicit acknowledgment of the war's errors”, the “failure to call up the reserves, the delay in launching a ground operation, the poor communications” fell chiefly upon his shoulders. There is now pressure on Olmert and Peretz to go as well, since Halutz “was not the only one responsible for the failures of the war; the government was too”. Halutz may have had his faults, but he was only typical of a limited thinking which is far too commonplace...

The “Reserve Revolution” may yet find a second wind.

Military Intelligence?

In the midst of the rejoicing, there is the danger of throwing away the baby with the bath water. The Israeli failures in the July War were chiefly due to a mode of thinking which was grossly ill-adapted to the conditions of July 2006, but that was mostly due to overall arrogance and complacency, not just on the part of the "fly boys" and the doctrinal dogma that “airpower wins wars, but also the "all-tank fanatics" of the Israeli army.”

When they decided to move ground forces into Lebanon, they suffered from their over-reliance on tanks. In this, they ignored the lessons of Tel Shams, and of the 1982 Lebanon war; in those engagements, Syrian tank hunters proved extremely effective against Israeli armour.

They also ignored progress in missile technology.

All too often, as they learn from the mistakes of the past, military types often forget that wars are not fought by a given doctrine, but by a combination of actions It may be that Clemenceau was right, and there are three kinds of intelligence; “human intelligence, animal intelligence, and military intelligence”, the latter being a real oxymoron.

Indeed, it is a little known fact that the first book on tank warfare was De Gaulle’s “Vers l’Armee de Metier”, published in 1934, and still a great read… Thoroughly ignored in France by a military establishment who was still flush with the victory of the Great War, it had a huge success in Germany, where it was translated, and where new leaders had emerged to replace the discredited, defeated commanders of the past war…

No, the French were not “surrender monkeys”; they just happen to take too many “days off”.

As a result of German success during the “Blitzkrieg”, historians now wrongly cite Guderian’s 1937 book, “Achtung-Panzer!”, as a precursor, and forget that Erwin Rommel’s success owed much to his mastery of infantry tactics, as demonstrated by his 1937 “Infanterie greift an”..

Preparing for the Wrong War?

Things were not so simple back then, and they are even more complex today.

As they prepare for the coming war, the Israeli military may find itself confronted with another type of war… If that happens, they risk applying the lessons of one type of war to a completely different one… With the looming conflict with Iran, the “fly boys” will be much needed, as well as those of the computer geeks who operate those missiles, and the navy, with its Popeye-equipped Dolphins in the Persian Gulf. I understand they already deployed at least 2 of them over there.

On (their) plus side, their enemies make every sign of preparing for the past war as well…

The tactics of the Cedar Revolution worked back then, but they will not work now, especially not when implemented by the local Mullahs, even if Aoun helps, and even if they start blocking roads… And it is unlikely that all those new weapons and restocked missiles will do any good; there is little to “defend” now, much credit was lost, and too many bridges have been burned.

The coming Lebanese war will be very different indeed; it already takes on many forms…

Follow-Up (Jan. 19th, 2007)

There were quite a few comments disputing my observation that this past war was a “victory” for Hezb. My contention is simple; it was a tactical victory for HEzb, but a strategic defeat for Iran, and a disaster for Lebanon.

1- It was a tactical victory for Hezb because as Amir points out again, “guerilla wins if he does not lose; a conventional army loses if it does not win”. Hezb is an Iranian guerrilla outfit with a Lebanese face. In the July war, Israel hit the face, not the minds behind it; wrong target, wrong outcome. In this respect, while Anonymous (17:10) and Amir point out that propaganda won the war, I feel that Propaganda WAS the war.

2- It was a strategic defeat for Iran because it had to mobilize its outfit too soon, before it was ready.

Tactically, the destruction of Lebanon will suit them fine, much like the destruction of Monte Cassino, the “German paratroopers survived the onslaught of Allied air power without a casualty and occupied the ruins”, turning them into a strongpoint. I agree with Amos that tanks destroyed were odler models, but the nature of most the Southern terrain sitll makes a use of combined forces vital. Some newspapers make the point that Hezb lost quite a lot of men, but what does the "body count" mean to those who consider men expandable?

Strategically, Iran’s hand has been forced; it now has to accelerate its nuclear program before this card is completely spent, and its Iraqi card may be spent too… Or it can find a way to compromise with the United States, before economic issues force it hand further.

3- It was a disaster for Lebanon.

We are now a failed state, facing the grim choice, either surrender to Hezb, or to confront them in a civil war is our best outcome. While Hezb has increased its hold over its “human assets” thanks to their increased poverty, it has made the mistake of succumbing to hubris and cornering its enemies…

So I have no doubt that Hezb will lose this one, but his monopoly over the Shiite community will turn any war into genocide. In this regard, I disagree that we are “reasonable human beings” as Ghassan said; much like a Greek tragedy, I fear we’re stuck in this role. Unfortunately, Diane, no one needs to try and destroy Lebanon; we can do it very well on our own...

I will blog later on this later point, as I gather more elements.