August 16, 2006
The Worst Is Yet to Come

Even if Bush didn’t secretly egg Israel into this new war, he publicly supported it by delaying a ceasefire and replenishing the bombs as fast as the Israelis could drop them. Read all of Robert Fisk’s report in The Independent, from which this excerpt comes. And thanks to Gordon Coale for the link.

From this morning, Hizbollah’s operations will be directed solely against the invasion force. And the Israelis cannot afford to lose 40 men a day. Unable to shoot down the Israeli F-16 aircraft that have laid waste to much of Lebanon, the Hizbollah have, for years, prayed and longed and waited for the moment when they could attack the Israeli army on the ground.

Now they are set to put their long-planned campaign into operation. Thousands of their members remain alive and armed in the ruined hill villages of southern Lebanon for just this moment and, only hours after their leader, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, warned Israel on Saturday that his men were waiting for them on the banks of the Litani river, the Hizbollah sprang their trap, killing more than 20 Israeli soldiers in less than three hours.

Israel itself, according to reports from Washington and New York, had long planned its current campaign against Lebanon — provoked by Hizbollah’s crossing of the Israeli frontier, its killing of three soldiers and seizure of two others on 12 July — but the Israelis appear to have taken no account of the guerrilla army’s most obvious operational plan: that if they could endure days of air attacks, they would eventually force Israel’s army to re-enter Lebanon on the ground and fight them on equal terms.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at August 16, 2006 10:33 AM
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So remind me again what Hezbollah expects to get out of this -- aside of course from more dead Israelis. They've managed to bring down death and destruction on Lebanon and bring misery to yet another part of the ME. They say they've won.

What exactly did they win?

Posted by: Lucy on August 16, 2006 4:52 PM

Respect of the Lebanese, for one, "Lucy". Gained respect they never before enjoyed with the common folk of Lebanon. Kicked out an intruder in THEIR lands, for another. That it was the "unbeatable" Israelis? All the better.

Posted by: farang on August 17, 2006 12:25 AM

In fact it was the invading army that brought down death and destruction on Lebanon.

Hezbollah comes out the clear winner because Israel announced that the purpose of the invasion was to destroy Hezbollah, an aim that was obviously not accomplished.

Instead, Hezbollah has increased its political stature throughout the Muslim world.

As [is] well-known, Hezbollah was formed in reaction to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and its harsh and brutal occupation in violation of Security Council orders. It won considerable prestige by playing the leading role in driving out the aggressors. Also, like other Islamic movements, including Hamas, it has gained popular support by providing social services to the poor. Along with Amal, now its close ally, Hizbollah represents the Shi'a community in the parliament in Lebanon's confessional system. It is an integral part of Lebanese society. And much as in the past, US-backed Israeli violence is sharply increasing popular support for Hezbollah, not only in the Arab and Muslim worlds generally, but also in Lebanon itself. Polls taken in late July reveal that "87 percent of Lebanese support Hizbullah's fight with Israel, a rise of 29 percent on a similar poll conducted in February. More striking, however, is the level of support for Hizbullah's resistance from non-Shiite communities. Eighty percent of Christians polled supported Hizbullah along with 80 percent of Druze and 89 percent of Sunnis. Lebanese no longer blame Hizbullah for sparking the war by kidnapping the Israeli soldiers, but Israel and the US instead" (Christian Science Monitor, July 28). As often in the past, Israel is doing itself no favors by failing to attend to the predictable consequences of its resort to extreme violence instead of such measures as prisoner exchange, as in the past.
Posted by: Chuck Dupree (Belisarius) on August 17, 2006 11:17 AM
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