A Compendium of Clips From The Past Week of Interesting Times, featuring All The News That Fits...
(other than stories about the alleged London terror plot, war in Iraq, war in Afghanistan, political corruption, domestic and foreign policy, election integrity and so on, and on and on and on ...)
By Winter Patriot on 8/20/2006, 5:45am PT  

Guest Blogged by Winter Patriot

Your cold and humble blogger presents an assortment of clips from the war in Lebanon --- and on the home front --- since last weekend.

(And NO, I don't expect you to remember this, because some of it happened before they arrested what's-his-name? ... you know ... the guy who claims he ... um ... well ... you know what I mean, don't you?)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

BBC: Bush links Hezbollah and 'plot'

"The terrorists attempt to bring down airplanes full of innocent men, women, and children," Mr Bush said.

"They kill civilians and American servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they deliberately hide behind civilians in Lebanon. They are seeking to spread their totalitarian ideology."
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US officials say that if the plan had not been foiled, the subsequent attacks would have been the worst since those on Washington and New York on 11 September 2001.

Since the 2001 attacks, Mr Bush has said that the US is engaged in a global war on terror.

He says that as well as intelligence efforts to foil terror plots against US civilians, the ongoing military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq are part of that same battle, as is Israel's conflict with Lebanon.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Zaman Online [Turkey]: Israel Undertakes Last Minute Attacks: 11 Dead

Although Israel approved the U.N. resolution calling for an immediate end to the fighting, it continued its bloody attacks on Lebanon carrying out last minute strikes.

At least 11 civilians were killed in Israeli air strikes that were carried out while the Israeli cabinet voted to approve the U.N. resolution already approved by the Lebanese government.
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Hezbollah says it will stop fighting only when the last Israeli soldier has left the country.

Israel stepped up its attacks on the eve of the U.N. cease-fire deal.

Israeli aircraft attacked targets in more than 50 villages and towns, Lebanese security sources said, and bombs targeted civilian buildings and homes in the southern suburbs of Beirut.

Israeli aircrafts bombed Beirut's southern Dahiye neighborhood destroying eight buildings and a mosque in two minutes.

The fighting between Hezbollah guerillas and the 30,000 Israeli troops in southern Lebanon continued Sunday.

Monday, August 14, 2006

National Post [Canada]: Shaky UN truce holds as Hezbollah claims victory

The UN-ordered ceasefire in southern Lebanon seemed to be holding Monday as thousands of Lebanese civilians displaced by the month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah began to flood back into the battered region.

Although stuck for hours at a time in traffic trying to work its way around bomb craters and wrecked bridges, the mood of the human tide was festive.

Some travelers carried Hezbollah's flags with its assault weapon logo, while others placed photos of Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on the windshields of their cars and shouted their love for the cleric to anyone who would listen.

On Monday, Nasrallah appeared on television across the Arab world to boast of a "strategic and historic victory, without exaggeration, for all of Lebanon."
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U.S. President George W. Bush, speaking in Washington on Monday, said Hezbollah had "suffered a defeat," because southern Lebanon was now going to be policed by Lebanese troops and a much stronger international force.

Israeli generals on Monday also met with Lebanon’s and UN military commanders to discuss how and when 30,000 Israeli troops would pull out of southern Lebanon.

Monday, August 14, 2006

UPI: Analysis: Lebanon --- heroes and villains

Resolution 1701 is very likely to be accepted because both Israel and Hezbollah find themselves at a point in the conflict where each can --- to some degree --- claim victory of sorts, yet risk clearly losing if they continue fighting.

In truth, neither side came out of this conflict really victorious, but then again, neither are they defeated.

Of the two protagonists, Hezbollah comes out of the fight looking better, having resisted the might of the Israeli army for an entire month. In June 1967 it took Israel six days to defeat the combined armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan. And it took Israel 18 days to turn the tables on Egypt and Syria after the two Arab countries launched a surprise attack on the Jewish state on Yom Kippur in October 1973.

Hezbollah accepted the cease-fire because despite resisting the Israeli invasion and putting up a stiff fight for 31 days in a string of villages along the border --- Khiam, Bint Jbeil, Maroun el Ras and others --- and having fired close to 4,000 rockets into Israel, it is questionable just how much longer the Shiite militia, considered a terrorist group by Israel and the United States, could resist. Hezbollah has undoubtedly suffered heavy casualties among its fighters, though the group has not revealed exact numbers

Hezbollah can be blamed for the savage retaliation by Israel that caused much of the tatters in which Lebanon`s infrastructure lies today. The country`s bridges, roads, power plants have been destroyed, its economy set back some 20 years; a promising tourist season --- one of Lebanon`s primary sources of income --- lost.
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While Israel can also claim victory, overall, it`s a shallow one. Israel had intended to break Hezbollah`s back and humiliate the Shiite militia for having largely been responsible in bringing about Israel`s withdrawal from south Lebanon in 2000, something Israeli politicians and particularly its military were not about to quickly forget, or forgive.

Overall, Israel came short of achieving its intended goal, that of crushing Hezbollah. A war that was meant to last a few days dragged into more than four weeks with the military suffering a high rate of casualties and heavy loss of equipment. Not to mention that nearly 1 million Israelis had to be evacuated from the north of the country to escape Hezbollah`s daily deluge of rockets, incurring a huge economic drain on the country.

Finally, for Israel, it sets a dangerous precedent. The country that was once seen as the unbeatable Goliath in the Middle East has suddenly become mortal.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

BBC: 'Blame war' looms for Israel leaders

A new war is about to erupt on Israel's home front; indeed the first skirmishes have already begun.

It will be a war of recriminations and blame, but it will also be a struggle to determine the true lessons of the fighting in Lebanon.

It is a struggle from which few of Israel's political or military leaders may emerge unbruised.
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The analysis of what went wrong and what went right has already begun in the Israeli press.

But this is only a prelude to what may come. There is a long tradition in Israel of searching, full-scale inquiries into national setbacks.
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Professor Shai Feldman, director of the Crown Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at Brandeis University, is a leading commentator on Israeli affairs and has spent most of the conflict in Israel.

"A full-scale judicial inquiry," he believes, "is more likely than not." But, one way or another, he says that the Olmert government's handling of this crisis is going to come under huge scrutiny.

Any inquiry, says Prof Feldman, will not be about the principle of a strong response to the initial Hezbollah attack.

For that, there remains a strong consensus. But he sets out a range of searching questions for which, he believes, there will need to be answers.

What exactly did Israel's military chiefs tell their political masters about what could be expected from an air assault against Hezbollah? When, a week or so into the conflict, air power was not halting the missile fire, why was the leadership's learning curve so steep?

And why, he asks, when limited ground operations proved equally ineffective was the decision to mount a major offensive taken only a short time before a likely cease-fire?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Times Online [UK]: Israel begins its search for a scapegoat

ISRAEL’S embattled Prime Minister came out fighting yesterday hours after the start of the ceasefire, proclaiming that he took sole responsibility for the action against Hezbollah.

Ehud Olmert faced down a rowdy special session of the Knesset to answer critics who attacked his handling of the four-week war against the Lebanese militia.

Mr Olmert rounded on his attackers, hailing the UN Security Council’s resolution a success that would change the face of the Middle East and end a “state within a state” in Lebanon.

But even as the guns fell silent the barrage of criticism faced by the Prime Minister failed to subside, with growing demands for an inquiry into the military and diplomatic conduct of the crisis.
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Few were optimistic that the ceasefire would last, and there was much anger directed at Mr Olmert’s Government for failing to deliver on promises to eradicate Hezbollah’s missile threat, and for its conduct of the war.

“A ceasefire is necessary because the army has not managed to defeat Hezbollah militarily, but they failed because of the Government, not the army,” said Ishai Michael, 23, a computing student crowded into a shelter with fractious children, elderly women and Russian immigrants too poor to move south.

“I blame the Prime Minister and Defence Minister. Olmert doesn’t know how to organise an army — in the beginning he put all his hopes on the air force, then he called up the reserves too late.” Analysts believe that Mr Olmert and his Government face a rocky ride as the fighting subsides and reservist soldiers return home.

“I think politically he’s in trouble,” Professor Ephraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies, said. “The whole war was mismanaged, in setting political goals and military strategy. It’s clear it was no great victory. Hezbollah fired 4,000 rockets and were only stopped by a ceasefire.”

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

NYT: First the Truce, Then the Test of How Long It Can Last

Standing before flattened buildings in the shattered southern suburbs of Beirut, one of Hezbollah’s two ministers in the Lebanese cabinet, Hassan Fadlallah, asserted Monday that Hezbollah had scored “a divine victory” in its conflict with Israel.

One of the key questions to be answered by that conflict was neatly reflected in the ruined setting Mr. Fadlallah chose.

Will ordinary Lebanese come to agree with him, or will they ultimately blame Hezbollah for attacking Israel and thus bringing about the destruction of so many buildings, roads, bridges and lives?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Haaretz [Israel]: Assad: Future generations will find a way to defeat IDF

Syrian President Bashar Assad congratulated Hezbollah yesterday for what he described as their success in "defeating Israel." Assad said that the members of the resistance used their "will, determination and faith" to counter Israeli arms, enabling them to defeat Israel.

"The resistance is necessary as much as it is natural and legitimate," he said. Assad said this war revealed the limitations of Israel's military power.

The Syrian leader also railed against the United States and moderates in Lebanon, declaring that the way to victory is via resistance to occupation, and "support for the resistance creates deterrence against aggression."

Assad spoke at a conference of the Syrian Press Association, and his statements were often interrupted with enthusiastic applause.
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Assad said that the United States' plan for a "new Middle East" has collapsed after what he described as Hezbollah's success in fighting against Israel, and warned Israel to seek peace or risk defeat in the future.

"They should know that they are before a historic crossroads. Either they move toward peace and the return of [Arab] rights, or they move in the direction of continued instability until one generation decides the matter," he said. Assad defended Hezbollah, and criticized a UN cease-fire resolution for holding the Syrian-backed militant group responsible for the violence. "Israel is the one who is responsible," he said. He added that Israel's supporters in Lebanon - an allusion to the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority in Beirut - also bear responsibility.

During the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, Israeli forces surrounded Beirut within seven days of invading, he said. "After five weeks, it [Israel] was still struggling to gain several hundred meters of ground."

Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier canceled a trip to Syria in protest of Assad's vociferous attack and statements, calling the speech a "negative contribution that is not in any way justified in view of the current challenges and opportunities in the Middle East."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

AP | Sydney Morning Herald: Hezbollah holds 'banner of victory'

The leaders of Iran and Syria cheered Hezbollah "defeated" Israel in their 34-day war, with the Iranian president telling a crowd that "God's promises have come true" and the United States' plans to reshape the Middle East had been ruined.

Tehran and Damascus may be the biggest winners from the 34 days of fighting in Lebanon, buoyed by the ability of their protege, Hizbollah, to withstand Israel's punishing assaults - and the new, widespread popularity of the guerrillas across the Middle East.

Hezbollah has been left hampered by the war's resolution: The Lebanese army and international troops are to deploy in southern Lebanon, undermining the guerrillas' domination of the territory and its ability to attack Israel.

But the Shi'ite Muslim movement appeared to be strengthened inside Lebanon - and Syria and Iran ridiculed US hopes for eliminating the guerrillas and belittled Israel's high-tech military as useless against Hizbollah.

"The Middle East they (the Americans) aspire to ... has become an illusion," Syria's Bashar Assad said in a speech in Damascus.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

NYT: Hezbollah Leads Work to Rebuild, Gaining Stature

Although Hezbollah is a Shiite organization, Sheik Nasrallah’s message resounded even with a Sunni Muslim, Ghaleb Jazi, 40, who works at the oil storage plant at Jiyeh, 15 miles south of Beirut. It was bombed by the Israelis and spewed pollution northward into the Mediterranean.

“The government may do some work on bridges and roads, but when it comes to rebuilding houses, Hezbollah will have a big role to play,” he said. “Nasrallah said yesterday he would rebuild, and he will come through.”

Sheik Nasrallah’s speech was interpreted by some as a kind of watershed in Lebanese politics, establishing his group on an equal footing with the official government.

“It was a coup d’état,” said Jad al-Akjaoui, a political analyst aligned with the democratic reform bloc. He was among the organizers of the anti-Syrian demonstrations after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri two years ago that led to international pressure to rid Lebanon of 15 years of Syrian control.

Rami G. Khouri, a columnist for The Daily Star in Beirut, wrote that Sheik Nasrallah “seemed to take on the veneer of a national leader rather than the head of one group in Lebanon’s rich mosaic of political parties.”

“In tone and content, his remarks seemed more like those of a president or a prime minister should be making while addressing the nation after a terrible month of destruction and human suffering,” Mr. Khouri wrote. “His prominence is one of the important political repercussions of this war.”

Defense Minister Elias Murr said Tuesday that the government would not seek to disarm Hezbollah.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Times Of Oman: War ends .... but not Israeli threats

Israel will be forced to launch a fresh offensive against Hezbollah if the Lebanese group is not disarmed, a senior Foreign Ministry official said yesterday.

“If the international community decides to ignore Hezbollah’s refusal to disarm it means that sooner or later we will return to war,” the official said.

UN Resolution 1701, which brought an end to the month-long fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, calls for the deployment of the Lebanese Army and a multinational force in south Lebanon as well as Hezbollah’s disarming.

“If the international community ignores a violation of the resolution, we would be forced to react,” the official added.

Although it has accepted the ceasefire deal that came into effect on Monday and silenced its guns, Hezbollah has made it clear it would refuse to give up its weapons.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

USA Today: Rice: Not U.N.'s job to disarm Hezbollah

The 15,000-member U.N. force being created for southern Lebanon will keep the peace and enforce an international arms embargo, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday, but it won't be charged with disarming Hezbollah guerrillas.

That "political agreement" will be the responsibility of the Lebanese, Rice said in an interview with USA TODAY. In the past, the Lebanese government has been unwilling or unable to disarm Hezbollah, a movement that is now part of the government itself. A United Nations resolution on the books since September 2004 has called for all Lebanese militias to disarm.

"I don't think there is an expectation that this (U.N.) force is going to physically disarm Hezbollah," Rice said. "I think it's a little bit of a misreading about how you disarm a militia. You have to have a plan, first of all, for the disarmament of the militia, and then the hope is that some people lay down their arms voluntarily."

If Hezbollah resists international demands to disarm, Rice said, "one would have to assume that there will be others who are willing to call Hezbollah what we are willing to call it, which is a terrorist organization."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Toronto Star: Israel warns 'war is not over'

An already fragile ceasefire in the Middle East now appears in greater danger of unravelling, threatened by Hezbollah's refusal to disarm and Israeli charges that Iran and Syria are already rearming its enemy.

"This war is not over yet," Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told reporters at the United Nations yesterday.

The Israeli chief of defence staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, also said Israeli troops would remain in southern Lebanon until a robust multinational force arrived, even if that took months.

The Lebanese cabinet yesterday approved a plan to deploy its army to the south of the country starting today, a key point in the UN-brokered agreement, which ended 34 days of fighting, but there are no plans to use that army to try to disarm Hezbollah.

Officials of the Shiite militia told reporters in Lebanon yesterday that they had no intention of disarming but would melt into the population and not flaunt their weaponry, much as they had before.

They also said the Lebanese army had agreed not to diligently search for Hezbollah weapons caches.

Friday, August 18, 2006

BBC: Olmert 'suspends' withdrawal plan

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has suspended his plans for a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank, a government minister says.
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Mr Olmert was elected on a platform of withdrawal from some of the West Bank, while tightening Israel's hold on large settlements and the Jordan Valley.

The BBC's Bethany Bell in Jerusalem says the development comes at a time when support in Israel both for the withdrawal and for Mr Olmert's government appears to be slipping.
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Speaking on Israel army radio the housing minister Meir Shetreet confirmed the report in the Haaretz newspaper that the pullout is now no longer at the top of Mr Olmert's agenda.
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"I cannot say that the prime minister has dropped the plan. I don't think he has reached such a conclusion."

Our correspondent says there has been growing criticism of Israel's political and military leadership in recent days, with many Israelis are asking what was actually achieved in the weeks of fighting Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.

The defence ministry has appointed a commission to investigate how the military campaign in Lebanon was conducted.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

AP: Annan says U.N. won‘t ‘wage war‘

Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed to U.N. member states to provide desperately needed U.N. peacekeeping troops for Lebanon and assured them the U.N. force would not "wage war" on Israel , Lebanon, or Hezbollah militants.

"It is not expected to achieve by force what must be realized through negotiation and an internal Lebanese consensus," Annan said in a report to the U.N. Security Council U.N. Security Council on implementation of the Aug. 11 resolution calling for an end to the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict.

Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown said countries needed to understand that the force wouldn‘t be offensive. "It‘s not going to go in there and attempt large-scale disarmament," he said.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Conservative Voice: Israel-Hezbollah: Threading the Needle

When an American, or most any Westerner, thinks of ‘peace’ its perceived as the absence of war or other hostilities, or being in a state of tranquility, and/or possessing inner contentment. An American, or most any Westerner, concludes that a treaty of peace is one in which hostilities cease between the warring parties based on a promise that each combatant sincerely wishes to end the conflict.

The United Nations, by way of the United States and France, crafted a cease fire agreement – a peace treaty - and leveraged Israel into halting the destruction of the terrorist group Hezbollah. The United States has been at war against groups nearly identical to Hezbollah for three years. Yet when Israel has its heel on the serpents neck the world says ‘hold’ and Israel complied.

Just what was this war between Israel and Hezbollah? At face value, the likelihood that Israel would begin a bloody offensive over the capture of two Israeli soldiers when it has taken suicide bombings on its city streets and marketplaces seems remote. Yet that is exactly what the world sees as the cause for the latest flare-up in the Middle East. In fact many UN nations stated that Israel’s retaliation was disproportionate but it took weeks for those same members to agree to the wording of an equitable cease fire proposition.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Middle East Times: Israel abducts Hamas deputy PM

RAMALLAH, West Bank --- Israeli troops abducted deputy Palestinian prime minister and senior Hamas member Nasser Eddin Al Shaer Saturday, in the latest move against the governing Islamist movement.

Israel has detained more than 60 Hamas officials since the June 25 capture of an Israeli soldier in the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas-led government condemned the new arrest as an attempt to destroy the Palestinian administration. "At 4:30 (0130 GMT) in the morning the soldiers came to our house and took Nasser," Shaer's wife Huda said.

Palestinian security sources said 30 army jeeps entered the West Bank town of Ramallah early Saturday morning and left immediately after the arrest of the 45-year-old Shaer, who is also education minister.

An Israeli army spokesman confirmed the arrest "as part of our fight against the radical Hamas movement," which refuses to recognize the Jewish state's right to exist and to renounce violence.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

BBC: Israelis detain Hamas deputy PM

Israeli forces have seized Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Nasser al-Shaer in a raid on his home in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

He was held when troops burst into the house early on Saturday, his wife said.

The Israeli military confirmed the detention of Mr Shaer, who is a senior member of the governing Hamas movement, which does not recognise Israel.

Israel has detained about 30 MPs and a third of the cabinet since the capture of an Israeli soldier in June.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

AP: Israeli Commandos Strike In Lebanon

Special Forces Operate Inside Lebanon, Risking Mideast Cease-Fire Agreement

Hezbollah fighters battled an Israeli commando force that landed early Saturday west of the guerrilla stronghold of Baalbek, killing an Israeli officer and wounding two other Israeli soldiers deep inside Lebanon, Lebanese and Israeli officials said.

Lebanon said the raid was a violation of the Aug. 14 U.N. cease-fire, but Israeli officials said they reserve the right to attack to prevent Hezbollah from rearming.

Hezbollah said its guerrillas foiled the raid, but Israel said it force completed its mission.

The Israeli army said the commandos blew up a bridge used to smuggle weapons from Syria and Iran to Hezbollah. There's speculation that Israel hoped to kidnap a senior Hezbollah official to use as a bargaining chip to win the release of two captured Israeli soldiers, reports CBS News correspondent Robert Berger from Jerusalem.

Lebanese security officials said three guerrillas were killed and three wounded, but a Hezbollah spokesman said there were no deaths among his fighters.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

IMEMC: Hezbollah gunmen say they foiled Israeli attack in eastern Lebanon

Hezbollah gunmen said on Saturday that they foiled an Israeli invasion attempt west of Ba'labek in eastern Lebanon; one Israeli soldier was killed and two others were injured, the Qatar based Al Jazeera TV reported on their website.

Lebanese security sources said that Israeli aircraft and commandos invaded on Saturday at dawn, the village of Bodai, west of Ba'labek in Al Biqa' valley.

While air dropping paratroopers, the Israeli air craft shelled unidentified targets in the area.

Al-Manar TV that belongs to Hezbollah party, reported that Hezbollah fighters clashed with Israeli troops near Bodai and forced them to leave the area using military helicopters.

Al Manar added that the Israeli unit landed before dawn, the paratroopers were dropped with a military vehicles and drove into the village when they were intercepted by the fighters, who forced it to retreat.

According to Lebanese sources, three Hezbollah fighters were killed in the firefight.

Israeli military sources confirmed that infiltration attempt which marked the widest violation of the five-day-old cease fire that ended 34 days of war on Lebanon.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

AP: Israel Confirms Forces in Lebanon

Israeli special forces operated deep in Lebanon early Saturday, the army confirmed, making it the broadest violation of a five-day-old U.N.-brokered cease-fire that put an end to 34 days of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerillas.

The army said its commandos entered Lebanon "to prevent and interfere with terror activity against Israel, especially the smuggling of arms from Iran and Syria to Hezbollah."

In Lebanon, Hezbollah said it foiled the Israeli commando raid early Saturday near its stronghold of Baalbek. But the Israeli army said the force completed its mission successfully, and that such operations would be carried out until a multinational force is in place to prevent Hezbollah's rearmament.

Lebanese security officials confirmed a report on Hezbollah TV that Israeli commandos were dropped off by helicopter outside the village of Boudai west of Baalbek in eastern Lebanon.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to release information to the media, said the Israelis apparently were seeking a guerrilla target in a school. The officials also reported heavy Israeli overflights.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

AP: Israeli Soldier Killed In Lebanon Raid

Hezbollah fighters battled Israeli commandos who landed near the militants' stronghold deep inside Lebanon early Saturday, killing one soldier, in the first large-scale violation of the U.N.-brokered cease-fire between the sides.

Hezbollah said its guerrillas foiled the raid after a gunbattle, and the Israeli army said one soldier was killed and two were wounded, one seriously.

Witnesses said Israeli missiles destroyed a bridge during the raid the first major violation of the U.N.-imposed cease-fire that took effect Monday following 34 days of fighting.

The Israeli army said the special forces operation aimed "to prevent and interfere with terror activity against Israel, especially the smuggling of arms from Iran and Syria to Hezbollah." It said the commando team completed its mission.

The army said such operations would be carried out until "an effective monitoring unit" of Lebanese or multinational troops was in place.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

WP: Israelis raid Hezbollah base

Helicopter-borne Israeli commandos raided a Hezbollah stronghold in the Bekaa Valley early Saturday, setting off a fierce gunbattle. Lebanon called the attack a "flagrant violation" of a fragile six-day-old cease-fire and threatened to halt troop deployments in protest.

Hezbollah, which battled the Israeli military for 33 days until the truce took hold Monday, said its fighters encountered the Israeli commandos in a field near the town of Boudai, about 20 miles from the Syrian border.

The Israeli military, confirming the raid, said its commandos carried out the operation to interdict shipments of weapons and munitions to Hezbollah from Syria and Iran. The military said one Israeli officer was killed and two soldiers were wounded, one seriously.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora told reporters in Beirut that the attack was a "flagrant violation" of the U.N. cease-fire and that he planned to lodge a complaint with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Later Saturday, Annan said he agreed that the raid violated the cease-fire agreement and said he was "deeply concerned."

Saturday, August 19, 2006

NYT: And Now, Islamism Trumps Arabism

Emboldened Demonstrators chant anti-Israel slogans in Cairo and vowed support for Hezbollah.
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“I have more faith in Islam than in my state; I have more faith in Allah than in Hosni Mubarak,” Ms. Mahmoud said, referring to the president of Egypt. “That is why I am proud to be a Muslim.”

The war in Lebanon, and the widespread conviction among Arabs that Hezbollah won that war by bloodying Israel, has fostered and validated those kinds of feelings across Egypt and the region. In interviews on streets and in newspaper commentaries circulated around the Middle East, the prevailing view is that where Arab nations failed to stand up to Israel and the United States, an Islamic movement succeeded.

“The victory that Hezbollah achieved in Lebanon will have earthshaking regional consequences that will have an impact much beyond the borders of Lebanon itself,” Yasser Abuhilalah of Al Ghad, a Jordanian daily, wrote in Tuesday’s issue.

“The resistance celebrates the victory,” read the front-page headline in Al Wafd, an opposition daily in Egypt.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Guardian [UK] : UN condemns ceasefire violations

Israeli commandos have raided a Hezbollah stronghold deep in Lebanon, engaging in a fierce gunbattle.

The Lebanese government threatened to halt further troop deployments to protest what UN officials called a violation of the six-day-old ceasefire.

The office of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a statement, labelling the operation a violation of the UN truce.

Israel said Saturday's raid was launched to stop arms smuggling from Iran and Syria to the militant Shiite fighters.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Haaretx [Israel]: Annan: IDF raid in eastern Lebanon is violation of cease-fire

In the wake of an Israel Defense Forces commando raid near Baalbek in eastern Lebanon on Saturday, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Israel had violated the UN-backed truce and made him "deeply concerned."
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The statement said that according to UN peacekeepers in Lebanon, "there have also been several air violations by Israeli military aircraft."

"All such violations of Security Council resolution 1701 endanger the fragile calm that was reached after much negotiation and undermine the authority of the government of Lebanon," the statement said.

"The secretary-general further calls on all parties to respect strictly the arms embargo, exercise maximum restraint, avoid provocative actions and display responsibility in implementing resolution 1701."
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The ministry's statement said the raid "does not breach the cease-fire and was an essential operation that aimed to prevent Hezbollah's rearming."

"The defense minister congratulates the fighters who attained the goals in a brave operation that was performed perfectly," the statement said.
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Meretz party leader Yossi Beilin said on Sunday that the decision to carry out the raid in Baalbek put the cease fire at risk, and that the government's judgment in this case was completely distorted.

"We can't accept the terms of the cease fire, and simultaneously violate it, and remain in southern Lebanon. If government officials believe that it is not in Israel's best interest to adhere to the UN Security Council-brokered cease fire - they should announce that the war is in fact not over, and instruct Israel's residents to return to the shelters," Beilin said.

Sources in Jerusalem said that Israel views the raid as "a defensive measure and therefore does not constitute a breach of the cease-fire." According to the sources, Hezbollah fired at the raiding force as it returned from its mission, which was completed successfully.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Guardian Unlimited [UK]: Israeli raid in Lebanon 'breaks' ceasefire

The ceasefire in Lebanon was holding by a thread on Saturday night after Israel sanctioned a commando raid in the east of the country. Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary General, said Israel had violated the truce, and he was "deeply concerned" about it.

But the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, claimed that the attack was intended to prevent the supply of new weapons and ammunition to Hezbollah.
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Envoys sent to the region by Annan have so far sent back positive reports, praising the efforts of both the Lebanese and Israeli armies to uphold their obligations under the recently passed UN Resolution 1701.

The Israeli commando raid thus took observers by surprise. The deployment of Lebanese forces and the eventual disarmament of Hezbollah have been a demand of Olmert's government.

Early on Saturday, troops from the Matkal, a special-forces elite unit, launched a commando raid near the Hezbollah stronghold of Baalbek, in the Beka valley. During the ensuing firefight one officer was killed and two injured. Israeli reports said the commandos were in two vehicles unloaded from helicopters, and were on their way to attack the office of a Hezbollah official in the village of Bodai when they were intercepted.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Sunday Times [UK]: Army raid in Bekaa breaks ceasefire

LEBANON accused Israel of a “flagrant violation” of the United Nations ceasefire after an Israeli commando raid on a Hezbollah stronghold in the Bekaa valley early yesterday, writes Uzi Mahnaimi.

Members of the elite commando unit 262, wearing Lebanese army uniforms, were dropped from CH-53 helicopters at dawn and encountered Hezbollah fighters near the village of Boudai, 16 miles west of the Syrian border.

One Israeli officer was killed and two others were wounded in the ensuing battle. A Lebanese security official said three Hezbollah fighters were killed and three wounded.

The commandos’ official mission was to disrupt the group’s arms supplies, but Israeli sources suggested that the troops might have tried to kidnap Sheikh Mohammed Yazbek, 56, a senior Hezbollah cleric who lives in Boudai.

He could have been used as a bargaining chip for the release of two Israeli soldiers captured last month.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

WP: Israelis raid Hezbollah base

Helicopter-borne Israeli commandos raided a Hezbollah stronghold in the Bekaa Valley early Saturday, setting off a fierce gunbattle. Lebanon called the attack a "flagrant violation" of a fragile six-day-old cease-fire and threatened to halt troop deployments in protest.

Hezbollah, which battled the Israeli military for 33 days until the truce took hold Monday, said its fighters encountered the Israeli commandos in a field near the town of Boudai, about 20 miles from the Syrian border.

The Israeli military, confirming the raid, said its commandos carried out the operation to interdict shipments of weapons and munitions to Hezbollah from Syria and Iran. The military said one Israeli officer was killed and two soldiers were wounded, one seriously.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora told reporters in Beirut that the attack was a "flagrant violation" of the U.N. cease-fire and that he planned to lodge a complaint with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

IMEMC: Hezbollah gunmen say they foiled Israeli attack in eastern Lebanon

Hezbollah gunmen said on Saturday that they foiled an Israeli invasion attempt west of Ba'labek in eastern Lebanon; one Israeli soldier was killed and two others were injured, the Qatar based Al Jazeera TV reported on their website.

Lebanese security sources said that Israeli aircraft and commandos invaded on Saturday at dawn, the village of Bodai, west of Ba'labek in Al Biqa' valley.

While air dropping paratroopers, the Israeli air craft shelled unidentified targets in the area.

Al-Manar TV that belongs to Hezbollah party, reported that Hezbollah fighters clashed with Israeli troops near Bodai and forced them to leave the area using military helicopters.

Al Manar added that the Israeli unit landed before dawn, the paratroopers were dropped with a military vehicles and drove into the village when they were intercepted by the fighters, who forced it to retreat.

According to Lebanese sources, three Hezbollah fighters were killed in the firefight.

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As you may or may not know, The BRAD BLOG is a fan of freedom and supports freedom of the press.

To the best of my knowledge, none of the reporters I have quoted above have met with physical harm this week. This is not to say they are not in danger; clearly they are all in danger. But they are stlill in more or less the same shape they were in last weekend.

A few other writers were not so fortunate this week.

The man who wrote the following article claims he was beaten, stunned with a taser, and arrested --- in his own front yard, in Chicago!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

AFP: Zionist Media Lies Conceal Hidden Agenda Behind Israeli Invasion of Lebanon

As Israel kicked its war of aggression in Lebanon into high gear, the pro-Israel controlled media in the United States bombarded the U.S. population with carefully crafted lies designed to provide support for Israel's illegal aggression and conceal the hidden agenda behind it.

These lies are designed to garner U.S. public opinion in support of the Israeli aggression in Lebanon, which is clearly illegal and disproportionate. Because these falsehoods are constantly repeated as truth [...] it is necessary to point out the falseness of the fundamental lies upon which the Israeli aggression is based.

Lie No. 1: Two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped in Israel.

Based on this lie, Hezbollah, branded as a "terrorist" group by Israel, Canada and the United States, stands accused of having started the war. Unfortunately, both Zionist claims are bold-faced lies.

The Israeli version, however, which lacks any factual basis to support it, has been trumpeted by every media outlet, including the well-respected journalist Robert Fisk of The Independent (UK).
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Initial news reports from international wire services, based on a Lebanese police report, however, clearly indicate that the two Israeli soldiers were not kidnapped at all, but captured --- inside Lebanon --- after having crossed the border and infiltrated the Lebanese village of Aitaa al-Chaab. Furthermore, these first reports have not been retracted or proven false.

Indeed, the story that the Israeli soldiers were captured in Lebanon was reported by a number of leading international press services, including the German news agency (DPA), AFP from France, AP and UPI. This version of events, however, is never mentioned by the Zionist-controlled mass media outlets in the U.S.

Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA), for example, had 10 articles on this matter on July 12-13, 2006. All of them reported that the Israelis had been captured in Lebanon.
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"Israel's military response by air, land and sea" to the provocation was "unfolding according to a plan finalized more than a year ago," Matthew Kalman wrote in a July 21 article in San Francisco Chronicle.

"More than a year ago," Kalman wrote from Jerusalem about the Lebanon campaign, "a senior Israeli army officer began giving PowerPoint presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to U.S. and other diplomats, journalists and think tanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail."

To set the stage, Ehud Olmert, the new Israeli prime minister, commenced his term with extremely violent and relentless terror attacks against the people of the Gaza Strip, which culminated in the fatal artillery strike that destroyed a Palestinian family on the beach.
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Lie No. 2: The massacre of Cana was caused by Hizbollah, which had fired missiles from the area.
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Lie No. 3: Israel does not target civilians or ambulances.
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Lie No. 4: "Israel would never target a UN force."
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Lie No. 5: Hezbollah is a terrorist organization which Israel is fighting in the "war on terror."

And the man who wrote the following (and much else too) claims he has left the country, forever:

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

BY THE LIGHT OF A BURNING BRIDGE: A Permanent Goodbye to the United States

My shame today is that it took a set of circumstances where my life was in danger to make me make the right choice, a choice I would now like to say was totally a matter of conscience, but it was not. The truth is that I was prompted to do what I should have done long ago out of a well-justified desire to save my life.

In this life I have chosen not to die a martyr’s death. As I am learning every day, there are more difficult and demanding ways to write the final chapters of one’s life. I left the United States with one large suitcase, my laptop, and a backpack. I left behind my precious library, most of my clothing, my personal possessions, my guns, and a house full of furniture. I brought with me less than eight thousand dollars in cash and gold to start the final segment of my life.

My permanent exodus from the US was actually ordained thirty years –- to the month –- before I left for good on July 18th, 2006. It was thirty years ago that my then-fiancée, a career contract agent for the CIA, disclosed to me that “her people” were interested in giving a major boost to my career with LAPD if I would become involved with her “anti-terror” operations that involved “overlooking” (i.e. protecting) large drug shipments coming in while facilitating the movement of large quantities of firearms going out. I refused to compromise my ethics as a police officer and –- as I wrote on page 6 of Crossing the Rubicon – “that has determined the course of my life ever since.”

Like all humans I want to hold on to dreams for as long as possible, even long after I know they will never come true. I have tried and sacrificed with every fiber of my being to change my country, but the plain fact is that the United States of America cannot and will never be changed from within. I recall the words spoken to me by a senior FBI agent in Los Angeles in 1986: “Mike, the world doesn’t want to be saved.”

Stupid me. I still believe it does –- at least the parts of it that lie outside the US, Great Britain, and Israel; the real Axis of Evil.