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Old 08-02-2006, 02:05 PM   #121
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Originally posted by anitram


Well STING can't answer your question because while for you "effectively" is a false premise, it isn't for him.

IMO, it's because they haven't been fighting terror at all, but terror groups. They think it's like fighting a military, and even if they push back Hezbollah, so what? Islamic terrorists in the Middle East are a dime a dozen, they gather, regroup, expand so long as they have safe haven within countries whose governments passively support them and whose populations actively support them. So, it's lather, rinse, repeat.
SO WHAT? Tell that to the people in Northern Israel who are having their towns rocketed! Israel is currently under attack and they must take action that will effectively stop the immediate threat to northern Israeli towns from rockets being fired by Hezbollah. Much of Northern Israel spends its day in underground shelters.

Its absurd to suggest that Israel not defend itself because military action alone will not end terrorism in the wider general sense through out the region and the world. Israel understands that, but what you and some others don't seem to understand is that Israeli's right now are under attack and in order to defend themselves Israel must respond with its military to reverse the current situation and provide the conditions under which a negotiated settlement would have a chance of occuring and lasting.

If your the Prime Minister of Israel, and thousands of rockets are being launched into your cities from a country that is unable to take any action to prevent this, what would you instruct your military to do in order to defend the immediate safety of the citizens of your country? What would you have done in response to 9/11 in regards to Al Quada in Afghanistan?
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Old 08-02-2006, 02:37 PM   #122
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[q]Wars are more easily begun than won. It's not only Iraq that illustrates this; just look at Afghanistan, where the Taliban fights on. But the Bush administration, having apparently learned skepticism of military options since the Iraq imbroglio, veered back toward credulity when it came to Lebanon.

It is hard to see how Israeli troops can succeed in uprooting Hezbollah. Assume that the war begins to go better for them, and that they fight village by village until they destroy the militia infrastructure. But what comes after that? The Israelis will leave, allowing the pro-Hezbollah Shiite population to reclaim their land -- and opening the way for Iran and Syria to resupply military cells with cash and weapons. This prospect logically leads some analysts to advocate action against Syria and Iran. But what action? There's no international support for serious sanctions. And not even the Bush administration is talking about military strikes on Damascus or Tehran.

Just as in Iraq, the United States is supporting a war that is defensible in concept. Yes, it was Hezbollah that provoked this fight. Yes, destroying this militant state-within-a-state would be a boon not just for Israeli security but for Lebanese democracy. And yes, the diplomatic options for dealing with Hezbollah promise no quick progress. But Iraq surely teaches that wars must be more than defensible in concept. Wars are only defensible if they can be won.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...073000545.html

[/q]
Any non-nuclear war can be won as long as one is willing to implement the tactics and has or can provide the resources needed to do the job. That does not mean however that it will only take a few months, or a few years, or that all violence in a given area actually comes to an end, when the conflict is over. It also does not mean that every problem or issue can be resolved.

In Afghanistan, the United States successfully removed Al Quada and the Taliban from power, set up a democratic government, and has given Afghanistan its most peaceful period of history since before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Its laughable to watch people claim that the Taliban are suddenly resurgent in Afghanistan. Its true some Taliban fighters crossed into Afghanistan earlier this year. 800 people have been killed in violence so far this year, but 700 of them have been Taliban fighters.

In Iraq, you had a threat that had to removed in Saddam's regime. The regime was successfully removed from power and a new democratic government has been set up and taken office. The insurgency in Iraq has not grown since April 2004, and while sectarian violence has continued in some parts of Iraq, it has failed to derail any of the accomplishments Iraq has made over the past 3 years. Iraq continues to make gradual progress despite the continued violence in some area's of the country. Only a few years ago, a writer like this was commenting on how forming an Iraqi government was impossible, and the coalition would never succeed in having elections much less getting the country to agree on a constitution. These things take time, yet these writers like to classify things failures before they have had the time needed to develop.


Another thing this writer fails to understand is immediate Israeli security needs. Much of Israel is in underground shelters because of all the rockets being fired into the country. Israel has to do something about this and is currently in the process of doing that. This specific rocket threat to northern Israeli towns did not exist when Israel was occupying much of Lebanon and developed after Israel withdrew from Lebanon, something the above writer probably said was GOOD for Israeli security. Current events have proven such idea's wrong.

If Israel does the right thing, they will create a buffer zone from the border to the Latine river that will put 98% of Hezbollah rockets out of range and make the border incursions nearly impossible. Israeli towns will be safe again, and Israel will occupy the land there until a negotiated settlement is hammered out that provides for a robust multi-national force to replace the Israeli force in Lebanon, and Hezbollah is disarmed. If negotiations break down, then Israel will remain in Lebanon indefinitely to insure the safety and security of its citizens back in Israel.

The writer does not seem to understand that military action is sometimes necessary and effective in achieving countries security needs. It does not by itself accomplish everything. One can see this writer claiming that the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln were failures because Klu Klux Klan rose in the south, and African Americans were murdered and abused in the South for another 100 years until the civil rights movement of the 1960s brought about Civil Rights and better relations between the communities in the south.
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Old 08-02-2006, 02:45 PM   #123
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Originally posted by Irvine511




how?

what do the Isrealis or Americans do to alleviate Palestinian suffering thus reducing political ammunition of various Arab dictatorships?
Look at what Israel and the United States have done politically. Look at what they have offered the Palestinians in negotiations. Look at the humanitarian aid the United States has given to the Palesitinians. They have bent over backward to find a negotiated settlement, but the Palestinians have rejected every single one. One would think they would understand what they lost when the rejected the UN Partition plan of 1948. They could of had an independent state in 1948 with double the land they will get in any agreement now, and without 5 Arab Israeli wars and declining or poor standards of living for their people for the past 58 years.

The United States and Israel have done more for the Palestinian people than Iran, Syria, and other Arab governments and leaders have for the past 58 years. Israel has let Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza work in Israel, how many jobs besides that of suicide bomber have the Syrians and Iranians given to the Palestinians over the past 58 years?
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Old 08-02-2006, 02:49 PM   #124
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Would Israel take an offer from the Palestinians that is 95% of what Israel states they can accept?
They already have. If it was a perfect compromise, each side would only get 50% of what they wanted. In this deal, the Palestinians got 95% of what they wanted.

Israel has accepted several peace deals and proposals, can you name one peace deal over the past 58 years that the Palestinians have accepted?
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Old 08-02-2006, 03:35 PM   #125
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Originally posted by yolland

Thank you for reclaiming the elephant from the closet.

Militarily speaking, I'm with the majority of posters in here--Israel's current approach is highly unlikely to decisively crush Hezbollah as a militia, it's further inflaming the deep regional distrusts that already exist, and it's resulting in unacceptable losses of civilian life and infrastructure, given both the past and present scope of the threat. Politically speaking, though, I'm far more sympathetic to Israeli pessimism about the prospect that any other parties to the situation (in the Middle East or elsewhere) will ever muster up the resolve and resources necessary to disarm Hezbollah and cut its cords to Tehran and Damascus.

Because I believe, at this point, that the situation requires a concerted international response, it's easier for me to talk about what Israel shouldn't do (and what the UN should), than about what Israel should do and how the UN might facilitate that. What Israel should not do is continue to use conventional warfare tactics against Hezbollah; the costs to Lebanon at large, not to mention Israel's future standing with its neighbors, for long-term Israeli "success" against Hezbollah are and would be simply too high. What the UN should do is pull together not only a peace and reconstruction plan, but also sufficient, combat-ready international forces to help implement it--and that plan must include a *UN* mandate to oversee Hezbollah's disarmament.
Israel does not have to decisively crush all of the Hezbollah militia to satisfy its immediate security needs which is to end the rocketing of Israeli towns and the border incursions that have been happening now as well as several times over the past 6 years since Israel withdrew.

The best way to do this is to push Hezbollah and the Lebanese population south of the Latini river to area's north of the Latini river. This would provide an 18 mile buffer zone which would put 98% of Hezbollah rockets out of range and make the border incursions into Israel nearly impossible with the IDF and 18 miles in the way. Without the civilian population to hide behind or blend in with, Hezbollah would find it nearly impossible to effectively operate in such a buffer zone, especially after the IDF has cleared out any remaining pockets of resistence in the isolated area.

Once the buffer zone is completed, it will prevent the problems that led to the immediate conflict in the first place and provide the conditions under which a negotiated settlement can be hammered out. If it does not, the IDF can continue to occupy the empty buffer zone indefinitely. Without the civilian population in the south, Hezbollah would not be able to operate the way it did in the area from 1982-2000. Its not a solution to the overall conflict, but it is a solution to Israel's immediate security needs which are far more important than any long term arrangement at the moment.

The hope would be that after the buffer zone is created, then a lasting ceacefire could be hammered out. With Hezbollah out of range of most of Israel and with declining ability to combat the Israeli military, they will be more likely to agree to a ceacefire. Then, disarmament of Hezbollah can be negotiated as well as the sending of a strong multi-national force to replace the IDF in the Buffer Zone. Once a multi-national force is in place, the IDF could withdraw and the civilian population could return to the Buffer zone area. Along with this, Hezbollah should be disarmed and become at most a political force in Lebanon.

But all of these post ceacefire events may prove to be a bridge to far in which case Israel will maintain the buffer zone indefinitely.


With respect to the damage done in Lebanon, you have to consider the damage done to Israel. Israel does not want to weaken the Lebanese government, but Hezbollah forces in the south put to much of Israel under siege and at risk to avoid having to use this level of military force, which I think up to now has been way to restrained and limited. The immediate safety of Israeli citizens and the northern part of the country is more important than the alleged damage that has been done to the Lebanese government or idea's about what is in Israel's longterm interest.

Israel must strike roads, bridges, and other infrustructure just as the United States hit such targets during the invasion of Afghanistan. Hezbollah uses these things to supply itself. Israel does not want large numbers of longer range missiles to be entering Lebanon once Hezbollah finds itself out of range of the Israeli border. Like any military entity, Hezbollah has logistical requirements that if not met, decrease the ability of the organization to operate which is why these targets were hit.
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Old 08-02-2006, 03:47 PM   #126
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[q]"We will continue to do all we can to halt the hostilities. But once that has happened, we must commit ourselves to a complete renaissance of our strategy to defeat those that threaten us. There is an arc of extremism now stretching across the Middle East and touching, with increasing definition, countries far outside that region. To defeat it will need an alliance of moderation, that paints a different future in which Muslim, Jew and Christian; Arab and Western; wealthy and developing nations can make progress in peace and harmony with each other. My argument to you today is this: we will not win the battle against this global extremism unless we win it at the level of values as much as force, unless we show we are even-handed, fair and just in our application of those values to the world...

Unless we re-appraise our strategy, unless we revitalise the broader global agenda on poverty, climate change, trade, and in respect of the Middle East, bend every sinew of our will to making peace between Israel and Palestine, we will not win. And this is a battle we must win.

What is happening today out in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and beyond is an elemental struggle about the values that will shape our future.


It is in part a struggle between what I will call Reactionary Islam and Moderate, Mainstream Islam. But its implications go far wider. We are fighting a war, but not just against terrorism but about how the world should govern itself in the early 21st century, about global values...

We only win people to [our] positions if our policy is not just about interests but about values, not just about what is necessary but about what is right.

Which brings me to my final reflection about US policy. My advice is: always be in the lead, always at the forefront, always engaged in building alliances, in reaching out, in showing that whereas unilateral action can never be ruled out, it is not the preference.

How we get a sensible, balanced but effective framework to tackle climate change after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 should be an American priority. America wants a low-carbon economy; it is investing heavily in clean technology; it needs China and India to grow substantially. The world is ready for a new start here. Lead it. The same is true for the WTO talks, now precariously in the balance; or for Africa, whose poverty is shameful. If we are championing the cause of development in Africa, it is right in itself but it is also sending the message of moral purpose, that reinforces our value system as credible in all other aspects of policy.

It serves one other objective. There is a risk that the world, after the Cold War, goes back to a global policy based on spheres of influence. Think ahead. Think China, within 20 or 30 years, surely the world's other super-power. Think Russia and its precious energy reserves. Think India. I believe all of these great emerging powers want a benign relationship with the West. But I also believe that the stronger and more appealing our world-view is, the more it is seen as based not just on power but on justice, the easier it will be for us to shape the future in which Europe and the US will no longer, economically or politically, be transcendant. Long before then, we want Moderate, Mainstream Islam to triumph over Reactionary Islam.

That is why I say this struggle is one about values. Our values are worth struggling for. They represent humanity's progress throughout the ages and at each point we have had to fight for them and defend them. As a new age beckons, it is time to fight for them again."

~ Tony Blair

http://www.number10.gov.uk/output/Page9948.asp

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Old 08-02-2006, 05:05 PM   #127
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Originally posted by Irvine511
what do the Isrealis or Americans do to alleviate Palestinian suffering thus reducing political ammunition of various Arab dictatorships?
Not anywhere near enough, but a two-state solution for Palestine isn't the solution for Hezbollah, and it isn't the solution for Islamic Jihad, the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda or the rest of the major pan-Arabist/pan-Islamist players either. Anyone who thinks it is hasn't been paying attention to their patterns of action over the last three decades nor to their mission statements. The latter three are just as likely to go after "fellow" Muslims as they are after "Western" targets, and none of the four recognize a two-state solution for Israel/Palestine as a legitimate one. IMO, it's different when Hamas makes statements like that--it's still a dangerous ideology but at least they (like most of the other assorted Palestinian militant groups) are primarily nationalistic in character, and unlike the rest, they'll need to make peace with Israel if they want a land of their own, which gives them an incentive to negotiate that the rest are quite untroubled by. The danger is not so much in what they want as in who they might become a proxy for if they got it.

The Lebanese government's rationale for why Hezbollah (as a militia) should continue to exist are not the same thing as Hezbollah's rationale for why it should exist. Hezbollah's mission statement (which so far as I can tell is not available online in English, unfortunately) is an archetypal Iranian-Revolutionary-pan-Islamist manifesto, including the usual bits about expelling the foreign Zionist entity which has been thrust upon the Arabs, etc. etc. "If they go from Shebaa, we will not stop fighting them. Our goal is to liberate the 1948 borders of Palestine--the Jews can go back to Germany or wherever they came from." (Hezbollah minister of information Sheikh Hassan Ezzedin, to the New Yorker, October 2002) This is not about calling Israel a regional bully, or complaining that they've made too many repressive missteps and oversteps in the process of negotiating a two-state solution. These groups have no incentive to accept a two-state solution as the solution to all their grievances; both their issues with Israel and their issues with other regional and international actors are far more extensive than that.

A viable two-state solution is an urgent need and simply the right thing to do (if the parties could just agree on terms), and it probably would lend a significant dose of stability to neighbors currently housing large amounts of Palestinian refugees, particularly Jordan. But it isn't going to satisfy the radical pan-Arabists or pan-Islamists, and there are a lot of them, and their organizational networks and ability to mobilize resources are extensive and sophisticated. They would continue to go after "Arab dictatorships" (which might not be so terrible if the alternative they were offering was an improvement, something we're currently learning the hard way in Iraq) and they would continue to go after "Western interests," in Israel and elsewhere.

In any case, the Lebanon conflict needs to be dealt with now.
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Old 08-02-2006, 05:17 PM   #128
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Hospital used as Hezbulla base. Who should we believe the israelies or Hezbulla. I am guess the majority here would go with hezbulla since hezbulla is claiming there were only civilians in the hospital.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/...ain/index.html
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Old 08-02-2006, 05:33 PM   #129
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I'm saddened by the attacks on Baalbek. That's a very historical place, and if it weren't for the poisonous political environment it'd be a major tourist mecca.
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Old 08-02-2006, 05:45 PM   #130
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Originally posted by yolland
But it isn't going to satisfy the radical pan-Arabists or pan-Islamists, and there are a lot of them, and their organizational networks and ability to mobilize resources are extensive and sophisticated. They would continue to go after "Arab dictatorships" (which might not be so terrible if the alternative they were offering was an improvement, something we're currently learning the hard way in Iraq) and they would continue to go after "Western interests," in Israel and elsewhere.


while there seems (to me, at an initial reading) to be a conflation of pan-Arabism and pan-Islamism, this seems to me to get at the heart of the current issues that most deeply trouble the Middle East -- it seems to me that a pan-Arabist, even in the most radical form, could be dealt with and ultimately be more receptive to a two-state solution than could a more moderate pan-Islamist, the difference between, say, Anwar Sadat and Hasan Nasrallah. anyway, i agree the understanding of the destruction of Israel as a religous duty will never be solved by a two-state solution. however, a two-state solution that would do much to reduce perceptions (and realities) of Palestinian suffering (specifically, the poverty that results from occupatoin) that would greatly reduce the credibility and efficacy of the pan-Islamist movements amongst both the "Arab street" as well as the "chattering classes" who sip hot, sweet mint tea in in the coffee shops of Cairo and Beirut.
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Old 08-02-2006, 05:55 PM   #131
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A two-state agreement will help Israel's standing in the world. Governments will recognize the new Palestinian government and look at Israel as a partner they can do business with more. Right now it's too isolated. No, this isn't what the radicals want. They want the caliphate restored. This won't do. Ataturk did away with that and it ain't coming back.
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Old 08-02-2006, 06:11 PM   #132
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Getting them to recognize Israel would be a good first step.
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Old 08-02-2006, 06:27 PM   #133
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Ladies and gentlemen, I thought it would be a good time to pause from our spirited discussion and get to know the benighted organization at the center of this latest firestorm.

There is a book written by a man named Robert Young Pelton. You may have heard of his activities, if not him. A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London, he is a fearless photojournalist, a danger junkie's danger junkie, who routinely dares to tread where not even the most reckless danger junkies go. (According to his fantastic website, http.www.comebackalive.com/ he is currently holed up in downtown Baghdad, and giving regular reports from the heart of the war zone. For a true account, go to the Black Flag Cafe and read up on it. The place is so dangerous right now that for the past few weeks even his most devoted journalist friends, who have shared some really close calls with him in some really "hot" spots, are urging him to get the #$*! out of there. I have to admit, as a devoted DP'er--as his fans call themselves--I'm scared for him too.) The sane and rational half of Mr. Pelton produces specials that have been seen on National Geographic and the Discovery Channel. The book that I'm copying this post from is his celebrated "travel guide", "The World's Most Dangerous Places: The High-Octane Guide to Surviving Hot Spots, War Zones, and the new Hidden Dangers of Global Travel." The first edition came out in 1995 and made Pelton a global houseold name at the time. Since then, the book is updated regularily, and the there is a new edition due out soon. It's become such a classic that it is now required reading for the CIA. The last edition was from 2002. You can find this book in the Travel Section of any major bookstore in the U.S. I strongly urge you to read it....it'd one of the most entertaining things you'll ever pick up. Because of his style. He's FUNNY....I can't resist copying out this little tidbit from his chapter on Iran:

The ICBM Barbie

Fans of DP will remember that back in January 1995 the Ayatollah Ali Khameini issued a religious degree banning the consumption of both Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Khameini's reason was logical and predictable: "Anything that stregthens world arrogance and Zionist circles in itself is forbidden." So when we heard rumors of a homegrown Barbie doll making its debut in Iran, we packed our Zionist baggage and checked our hidden agenda to get the scoop. Well, it seems that Iran's version of the anatomically incorrect Barbie are the twins Dara and Sara. The $15, foot-high dolls (who come with a selection of appropriately modest clothing) are the brainchild of the Instiute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults.
It seems that the Zionist puppet Barbie (the Western one, created by Ruth Handler) was doing quite well in Iran at $40 a pop but was projecting "wanton" values, and there were fears that the Iranian girls who played with them would grow up to reject traditional family values. The Associated Press interviewed a local toy seller, who warned that the Barbie doll is "more harmful than an American missle."
Although DP's pretty sure that Sara and Dara are not romantically involved (they are twins, remember?) we have not determined what the penalties are for peeking under Sara's chador or being caught with two Dara dolls.


Stuff like that. The book (1074 densely worded pages long) is full of such trivia, collected by Pelton himself and his ever-growing cult of (I think) cheerfully insane band of devoted journalist followers, who follow him around the world to the hot action. This interview with Hezbollah at their headqurters in 2002 was conducted by one of them, a gent named Robert Mueller. How this guy got through, I don't know, and he doesn't either, as he tells us. Perhaps as Pelton has spent a lot of time in the trenches interviewing Muslim rebel groups in other parts of the world (Chechen rebels and Kurdish groups, for example, and even Talibs, as documented in past and the current edition of the book) they expected a sympathetic rendering. No such luck. But that's the real reason I love Pelton: he really is not a political animal. He tries to see both sides...he just writes down the facts and tells it like it is.

Anyway, enough dithering. I give you our Heroes of the Hour, the Protectors and Benefactors of Lebanese people: (drum roll, please): Hezbollah!



At Home With Hizbollah
By Robert Mueller
From Robert Young Pelton's "The World's Most Dangerous Places", 5th Edition, copyright 2002, pps. 715-727. (sorry, I have to quote this stuff, in case the Homeland Security goons are watching.....dear God, what our country has come to.)

The South Beirut suburb of Haret Hriek is clearly marked turf. In between the tumbledown high-rises, underneath the cat's cradles of jerry-rigged television cables, the busy, dusty streets are haunted by America's recent, and current, foreign-policy nightmares: statues of Iran's late spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini glowering on corners, posters of Iran's current spiritual leader Ayatollah Khameini hanging from streetlights, and, in every shop corner window, portraits of the man whose organization runs this neighborhood: Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, secretary-general of Hizbollah. [If that isn't a mockery of the UN, I don't know what is.] Probably the only other places on Earth that look anything like Haret Hriek are Delta Force training camps, though Haret Hriek has considerably more traffic, and just the one Pizza Hut....

When I find Hizbollah's Central Information Office, located above a bakery in Haret Hriek, I am greeted by Hizbollah's Press Officer, Hussein Naboulsi. A funny, sharp, smartly dressed 35-year-old who has been working for Hizbollah since the movement began in 1982, Hussein begins by apologizing for not offerng refereshments--it is Ramadan, so Muslims are observing the fast durinf daylight hours. Hussein is intruiged to hear I'd been to New York since Sept.11--he lived there himself for a while, but much preferred Montreal ("It has a much more European feel--a great city."). When I describe the scene at Ground Zero, he shakes his head and agrees that it it terrible and incredible. I wait for the "But..." but it doesn't come. "Terrible", he says. 'Incredible."

Hizbollah have out together a program for me. Hussein explains. they want me to see what they really do, or at least the part of what they really do that they're happy for journalists to see--my requests to see the disputed Shebaa Farms region in southern Lebanon, where sporadic fighting with Israeli forces continues [bear in mind that this interview dates from the spring of 2002] , or to see a Hizbollah miltary base, recieve dismissive looks. [hey, he tried, didn't he?] My reques to se eone of Hizbollah's $25 million men (so called b/c the US has places a bounty on their heads--Hizbollah's top three honchos) is met with delighted, incredulous laughter. The three are associated with the 1985 highjacking of TWA Flight 847, in which one passenger was killed. Like the bombings of the American Embassy and the US Marnines barracks in the early 80's, which killed hundreds, and the kidnappings of Associated Press correspondant Terry Anderson and others--these are not things Hizbollah cares to discuss.
"We have connection with what happened in the past," reiterates Hussein. I will eventually figure out that "the past", as far as Hizbollah is concerned, is any period of time in which something happened in which they are not happy talking about.
"We are," Hussein says, "the most civilized party in the world. If we were a partywith no honor or dignity, a party which practiced violence, nobdy would give us their vote. You can't make people love you. Love comes from work on the ground."
Hussein's campaign to convince me of their essesinally compassionate nature begins with the al-Jarha Establishment in Haret Hriek. The clean, cheerful rooms of al-Jarha are a haven for wounded vetrans and for civilains permantly injured by Lebabon's interminable internecine wars. [There follows a long paragraph with comments by the injured vets, some in wheelchairs. One says, 'I fought Israel becuase they took our land. That's all we did. And now you see what is implied about us by America." ]

Hizbollah's rank-and-file seem genuinely perplexed by
America's characterization of them as devious enemies of civilization. They insist, repeadedly and at occaisonally exhausting length, that they are no more and no less and army of national liberation, raised in response to the formal occupation of their country--they ask more than once, with gentle indignation, whether I would have done the same if my country has been invaded. Now that Hizbollah's war with Israel is won, Hizbollah are at pains to present themselves as a mainstream policitcal party-cum religious movement. Hizbollah, as Hizbollah sees it, is a kind of Salvation Army armed with rifles and rockets instead of trombones and tamborines.
Ingenuous though this notion is, there is certainly more to Hizbollah than dimly remembered headlines might think. Eight Hizbollah emembers sit in as elected deputies in Lebanon's 128-seat Parliament. Aside from al-Jarha, Hizbollah own or fund several other hspitals throughout Lebanon, as well as schools, sports clubs, cultural societies, construction companies, agricultural cooroperatives, and charities. The doings of these are all chronichled in neatly bound annals, containing details of military and civil operations, phtos of the year's martyrs, and press comentary on Hizbollah's activities--some of which are drawn from Hizbollah's weekly newspaper (al-Ahed), Hizbollah's television channel (al-Manar), and Hezbollah's radio station (al-Nour.)

Al-Nour--the name translates as "the light"--is housed in labyrithine basement in Haret Hriek. The underground location was a necessity in wartime, and they plan to move to new offices soon. That said, al-Nour does not feel like a bastion of revolutionary desperadoes: the walls are freshly painted, the furniture is polished, the equipment is modern, the staff--many of whom are women, as is pointed out to me twice before I've had the chance to ask--are courteous, and in a corner table in the office of the general manager, is stacked a couple of dozen awards from Arab broadcasting associations.
"We're here to support the resistance," says Youseff, "but we have all knids of programs--for women, for children. And we have exclsuive rights to the Lebanese soccer league." [He's not telling him the other cheerful things Hizbollah teaches Lebanese children in these programs--for example, the Boy Scout camp Hizbollah runs a mile north of the Israeli borner, whose cirriculum included routinely desecrating the Star of David in its Arts and Crafts proram, as is depicted in a series of pics Time last week..one wonders if Jew-hating is a part of little children's cirricula in these other Hizbollah-run organizations. Sorry, I can't read this stuff without my blood boiling. I'll stop now.]
[There follows a long section in which Mueller describes being deluged by his tour guides with a litany of Isreai perfidy and America's role in all this. Mueller seems to be doing this as he assumes that a Western journalist is pro-Israeli and needs reminding. Mueller is silent. I'm skipping sections here to make this a short as possible.]
"We like some European classical composers," says Youseff. "We play Beethoven and Mozart. But we mostly play revolutionary songs, recorde din the current period. these are songs related to the resistance of the occuparion of our land, and are targeted to provoke and inspire the people."
I ask to hear a few of these, and am guided to an impressivley equipped studio. To my surprise, the three "revolutionary songs"the engineers play for me have no discernable Arabic influence...they borrow heabily from 1980's synthesizer pop. .."The Resistance Is the Honor of Lebanon" suggests a disco version of the 'Knight sof the Round Table" singalong from Moty Pythonand the Holy Grail. ..The also play me a longer piece: a 20-minute musical dramatization of a 1996 Hizbollah action in which an Is raeli patrol was struck bt tow roadsise bombs, killing four Isreli troops. The accompanyment is samples of Vangelis instrumentals. The narration is provided by the guerilla who ran the operation, his voice distorted to prevent it being recognized. A gruesome verite is added by what I am told are the genuine screams and oaths of the injured and terrifed Israeli soldiers. there is no reason to disbelieve this--Hizbollah, keen propogandists, are as diligent as the Pentagon at recording their actions (a few days later, Hussein sends one of his colleagues to a market in Haret Hriek to but me a video called "Heroic Epics: Major Operations of the Islamic Resistance."

Hizbollah's television station, al-Manar--Arabic for "the Beacon"--is housed in a new building in Haret Hriek; an armed guard dresse din black stands at the gate, and above the entrance hang colored streamers in honor of Ramadan. While my bag is searched in the marble lobby, I norice a telvision monitor showing al-Manr's current output: footgae of fighting betwen Israelis and Palestianians are set to deranged techno music. When the video changes to funerals and soft-foucs pictures of mained Palestinian children, the music shifts to gentle Arabic pop. The screen then fades to a commercial break: the advertised products are both local and foreign--including, startingly, German chocolate Milka and American detergent Ariel. I wonder if anyone has ever tried to sell Israelis a cleaning product called Yasser.
Al-Manar, like Al-Nour,is a conspicuously professional enterprise--both admit starting out with financial help from Hizbollah and their backers in Tehran, but now claim to support themselves through advertising and renting their studios. The station broadcasts via satellite to the whole world aside from Southeast Asia and Australia, and they're working on those. Al-Manr is especially priud of their news department, with correspondants in nearly a dozen countries. [I presume Israel is not one of those?] I ask the chairman of Al_manar's borad of Directors, Nayaf Krayem, 37 yrs old, if Al-Manar puts any kind of spin on its news.
"No," he says, "we broadcast what Hamas syas, what Arafat says, what the Israelis say, what America says. Our reporting is objective." [I do admit to an unholy wonder at what they must have reported about Katrina last yr]....
The biggest Middle East news story before I arrived had been the Hamas suicide bombers in Jerusalem and Haifa who killed 25 people, all civilians. Neyef immediately objects to the term "suicide bomber". "Those were martyr's operations," he says.
"Do you present those martyrs as heroes?"
"Of course."
But they killed shoppers, commuters, people every bit as innocent as those murdered by the Sept 11 hijackers. Did Al-Manar offer them the same kind of respect?"
"That did not occur in occupied territories, sp they are not considered martyrs. Hizbollah is against what happened in America."
This is probably true. The Hizbollah press statement issued on Spet 16 wasn't the most thundering condemnation of 9/11, but it certainly wasn't an endorsement. "We are sorry," the concluding paragraph read, " for any innocent people whop are killed anywhere in the world. The Lebanese, who have suffered repeated Zionist perfidies in Qana and elsewhere, massacres that the US refused to condemn at the Un Security Council, are familar with the pain and suffering of those who lost their loved ones in bitter events." And what of Bin Laden? If he dies fignting America, will Al-Manar show mondtages of scens from his life, as it does of Khomeini?
'No. Bin Laden is not a hero, and he won't be a martyr."
I ask nayef how safe he feels here--in the last few years America has twice demonstarted that it regards hostile media organizations as legitimate targets, bombing Radio Television Serbia and the kabul Headqurters of al-Jezeera.
"W ehave another base ready in case that happens," says Nesef, "but if I was killed here, I would be a martyr."
As I leave al-Manar;s offices, the station is broadcasting a cooking show.

"Look, we're not the Taliban," says Abdullah Kassir. Kassir, a 43-yr-old father of seven, is a member of Hizbollah's central board, is now serving his second term as a deputy in Lebanon's Parliament. he was once, he confirms, active in Hizbollah's resistance, but refuses to go into detail.
"We don't dent our Islamic way of thinking," he continues, "but we don't wan to make it compulsory." We are happy for Lebanon to be a democracy."
.....Israel's ultimate responsibilty for Hizbollah's creation--and Israle's responsibilty for a lot more besides--is taken up a few days later by Hizbollah's Deputy Secretary-General, Sheikh Naim Qassem. My translator and I have traveled to my prvious appointments in taxis, but for this one we are led to a hidden garage improvised from girders and blankets, and ushered into a black Mercedes with tinted windows--we can see out, nobody can see in. As I know we're driving to a Hizbollah building a few blocks away, I guess this show of secrecy is to emphasize Shiekh Qassem's importance.
Shiekh Qassem is the only Hizbollah member I meet who does not wear Western clothes, altough the shoes undernetah his robes are smart leather loafers. [Note: the highter up the heirarchy you appear to go, the less "modern" the sensibilitiy. I wonder if any of of the Western-dressed staff members runing the TV and radio stations have ever even seen this guy, let alone know him.] A founding member of Hizbollah, he looks older than his 49 years, but is an affable sort whose gray beard splits frequently with a gleaming white smile. I ask him if anything has changd in Hizbollah since September 11.
"No," he says, "because conditions here didn't change. We are still suffering the same problems--there are still Israelis in Shebaa Farms, there are still Lebanese detainees in their jails, we still have Palestinain refugees here in Lebanaon [they wouldn't be refugees if Lebanon offered them citizenship, but they've enver been able to become citiizens--somehow the fact that Palestinian refugees have never been able to beocme citizens of other Arab countires is a detail often overlooked by the world's media--the men can have temporary work permits to work in oil fields and such, but they are not able to settle their familes there. Chew on that for a minute.] Israeli planes are still flying in Lebanese airspace and Israeli ships are still sailing in Lebanese waters."
.....Have Hizbollah ever copperated at any level with Al-Queda?
"We have no communication with them. We are only interested in what is happening here."
This, for what it may be worth, is in keeping with the rolled eyes and shaken heads with which other Hizbollah members had reacted to the mention of bin Laden (the US State Department nevertheless beleives that Hizbollah is harboring Queda escapees from Afghanistan). I ask Shieckh Qassem if he could explain, then, the moeal difference between flying civilian airliners into office blocks, which Hizbollah condemnns, and Hamas bombing cafes full of young people drinking on Saturday night in Jerusalem, which Hizbollah supports.
"Hamas," he says, "is part of the Palestinian people, and the Palestinians are surrounded in a very small area. The Israelis are attacking them everywhere. The whole Israeli society is armed."
This shockingly ruthless justification--that killing Israeli civilians is acceptable because nearly all Israelis serve in the Israeli military--is one I have heard from other Hizbollah members, often shortly after they've complained about the kiling of Lebanese civilians by Isreali forces chasing Hizbollah. [I wonder: if you were to interview anybody in the IDF, would they routinely say that killing any Lebanese is justified simply becuase Hizbollah are Lebanese? You just heard that statement almost from the horses mouth: from one of the Founding Fathers of Hizbollah. Anyway, back to our little afternoon tea with these people.]
"The Palestinians have to defend themselves. As they don't have capabilities equal to the Israeli miltary, they have no choice but to sacrifice."
I ask if Hizbollah cooperates with Hamas. Sheikh Qassem's response is startlingly candid.
"We support their way of operating, we consider that they are right, but their geographic region is different from ours. There is limited cooperation, as conditions permit."
What kind of cooperation?
"Those are details we don't talk about."
Other details Shiekh Qassem doesn't speak about are the three alleged memebers on the FBI's list, the four Israelis captured by Hizbollah in 2000, or any of the bombings or hijacking or kidnappings during Lebanon's civil war that are atributed to Hizbollah....
On the subject of America's view of his party, he is rather more forthcoming.
"For many years, the Untied Sttes has been describing Hizbollah as terrorists. This is not the first time they have issued such a list."
But things are different. When they see what is happening to the Taliban, is he not worried?
"No. this is America's blackmail. It has no effect on us. Our destiny is to continue as a resistance. No one can stopus from taking back our land."
And turning that land into an Islamic state?
"The idea of an Islamic republic is part of our faith. But it depends on the consent of othe rparties. God tells us in the Koran that it is not right to impose religion on others. The weapons in our hands are to resist the occupiers, not for internal affairs."
But the occupiers are gonenow, pretty much, and it's sometimes difficult to believe than Hizbollah's ambitions go no farther than that. When I interviewed Abdullah Kassir, he was sitting next to a Hizbollah flag, which has Jeruslem's Dome of the Rock emboidered on a corner of it. Al-Manar,'s [the Hizbollah TV station, ] indentification clip shows Hizbollah guerillas on one corner of the screen, and Jersulem's al-Aqsa Mosue on the other corner. [Chew on THAT for a minute.]
...."The world is imposing Israeli on us by force,"
And why would the world do that?
"America is trying to control this region through something which causes fear to everyone else."
I'm not keen to pursue this angle--the idea that history is a chaotic sequence of happenstance and improvisiationis common in the Midde East, where belief in some grans, malign plot is universal, and I don't want another lecture. So I tell Shiekh Qassem that many people in the West have much to admire in the Islamic world--its emphasis on family, say, it's respect for elders, its hospitality to visitors. Is there anything he finds commendable or enviable about the West?
"What is good in the world is welcome here. We use the Internet, we use the new technology--we'll use anything we can against Israel. We don't agree with everything given us, but we don't deny anything either. [All together, everybody here: roll your eyes, retch, and tick off your personal mental list of things that Middle Eastern governments and societies "deny" from the West, politically, socially, culturally, etc]. We have our principles, and we base our judgements on them."
So, I say, briefly relieved, Americans shouldn't think the Arab world hates them.
"No, that's right," he says. "Arabs do hate America, and Hizbollah hates America. This is because of their policies in the region, because of their support for Israel. When confronted with these facts, we don't have time to look for positive things."


Hizbollah is keen that I should see the south of Lebanon. It is the scene of their greatest victory--Hizbollah's mythic staus throughout the Arab world derives from its uniqueness as the only Arab force to have defeated Isreal on the battlefield. It is also, they tell me, very beautiful, though the weather in the hills might come as a shock after the mildness of Beirut. ("You'll need to wrap up," says Hussein. "Is that the only jacket you bought?")
In Nabiteyeh, Hixbollah's green and gold flag flies from a monument in the city square, and from dozens of windows and roofs. At Hizbollah's office, in an aprtment building not far from the city center, I am introduced to Hassan Abu Hanim a shy, sad-faced man who has been appointed my guide. he is a cameraman--one of the ones who makes Hizbollah's home movies--but disappointingly reluctant to talk about his work.
Nabitiyeh is also festooned with portaits of the yoing men who have fallen in Hizbollah's war with Israel. I am taken to meet the mother of two of them.
Hajjah Im Hassan Sabbah lives with her husband and four daughters in a large modern house. The walls of the living rooms are bare expect for the portraits of her tow dead children, Hassan and Ali....
"I used to ask Hassan," she syas, smiling at the thought of her wayward son as mothers do, "why not get married? Why not lead a normal life? But he hoped that God would choose him for this since he was 13 years old. He always wanted to become a martyr." [He learned this attitude at a Soccer League meeting, perhaps.]
It is not unsual for 13-yr-old boys to dream of becoming soldiers, even in countries at peace. And all countries revere their war dead. But the single most perplexing aspect of Hizbollah, and one or two like-minded outfits, is not just that they think death preferable to figuring out how to get along with neighbors, but prursue ti with a craving that borders on the ecsastic. [It's even more perplexing how the conflict with Israel, and this one thing alone, can be used to make suicide a noble thing, and not an evil punishable by a one-way ticket to hell, as the Koran states.]
"I have another son," says Hajjeh Sabbah. He's 33 now, but if they ask for him, they can have him. Me too, if they want."

The rest of this chapter is a description of the southern Lebanese border in that area, with billboards in front of every former fortress where Israeli troops were stationed, and on each billboard the "gloating" (as Mueller says) tone of the billboards as they say after every battle description: "Date of ignominous departure." Mueller tells his guide that he should buy a green and gold minibus, paint it gold and yellow, paint "Hizbollah Tours" on it and advertise in travel magazines--the tourists would come running. They got to another border town, Khaim, where the South Lebanon Army (SLA) accoridng to Hizbollah, collaberated with Isreal in torturing people. they interveiw one of the torturees. Another stop on the crafully constructed tour.

The last paragraph on pg 727 reads: "Our excursion finsihses at the fortified border that now seperates Lebanon from Israel. We walk behind hassan down the dirt track to the outermost fence in careful single file--much of southern Lebanon is still an israeli minefield. The city limits of the Israeli town of Metulla are maybe 20 meters of fortifications from where we're standing. In the Israeli Army observation post behind the wire, we can see soldiers raising their filed glasses and leveling their rifles, and I try to imagine a less comfortable place to be than standing next to a member of Hizbollah.
On the Israeli sid eof the frontier, a white sedan pulls up. From the back seat, someone waves. I wave back. Hassan keeps his hands in his pockets.

Oh yeah, and I forgot: scattered in the midst of his Lebanon chapter in "Dangerous Places" are various snail mail addresses, website addresses, telephone and fax numbers for various parts of the Hizbollah organization. That's another fun part of this book. If this guy was a Yank, he'd probably have been thrown into Gitmo long ago. You can look up this info for dozens of terrorist groups in this book. As well as travel sites, aoll kinds of similar info for world leaders, rebel groups, etc. I can't describe it--you just have to go to the local Barnes and Noble and look this stuff up, and buy this wonderful book. I'd love to give these Hizbollah addys and numbers, etc, but even outdated (some of it, no doubt) 2002 info would probably have Dick Cheney's goons at my door.
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Old 08-02-2006, 06:39 PM   #134
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Here's an article about a related development in Turkey. I'm cutting and pasting due to registration requirements.

Turk-Israeli friendship group on verge of collapse

The Turkish-Israeli Inter-parliamentary Friendship Group has come to the brink of dissolution, with members resigning one by one in protest of Israel's military assaults in Palestinian territories and Lebanon. Opposition Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) Hatay deputy Züheyir Amber resigned from the 263-member parliamentary group yesterday, bringing the number of deputies who have left the group to 25.

Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres, meanwhile, said during a visit to New York that Israel was worried when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party (AKP), seen by some as a pro-Islamic political entity, won the 2003 elections, but that the new Turkish government's modern and Europe-oriented policies have proven that those concerns were groundless.
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Old 08-02-2006, 07:37 PM   #135
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"Unless we reappraise our strategy; unless we revitalise the broader global agenda on poverty, climate change, trade and, in respect of the Middle East, bend every sinew of our will to making peace between Israel and Palestine, we will not win, and this is a battle we must win." ----- Tony Blair


http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/mil...198207498.html
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