Friday, July 14, 2006

Hezbollah rockets hit Israel as Israeli offensive in Lebanon continues

The BBC is reporting that "Two [Hezbollah] rockets have struck the Israeli city of Haifa" and that "Lebanon's international airport was hit for a second time as Israel continued attacks by land, sea and air".

Haaretz has more, as does The Jerusalem Post.

The Washington Post has the details:

Israel imposed a blockade on Lebanon by land, sea and air on Thursday, striking the capital's airport twice, cutting off its ports and wrecking bridges and roads in attacks that killed at least 47 people in the last two days, nearly all of them Lebanese civilians. Israel said the radical Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah fired 150 rockets into northern Israel, including two that reached the port city of Haifa. Israeli jets repeatedly crossed over Beirut before dawn Friday. At least two explosions were heard, and antiaircraft fire and flares lit up the night sky.

Meanwhile, both Haaretz and The J-Post is reporting that Hezbollah intends to move the two captured IDF soldiers to Iran. Israel has "concrete evidence," but Iran has denied the allegation.

For more, see Laura Rozen at War and Piece. She mentions, paraphrasing Seymour Hersh, that "sometimes big wars get started almost by accident". Is the capture of those two IDF soldiers akin to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand?

Steve Clemons: "While I think that Israel has responded disproportionately in its incursion into Gaza, I think that the firing of rockets from inside Lebanon into Israel changes Israel's moral position to a degree. Israel has withdrawn from Lebanon -- and Lebanon should do everything it is able to do to secure its borders and to preempt this kind of attack on Israel."

I don't necessarily agree with Steve that "Israel has responded disproportionately" -- see here for my recent post on the matter -- but he's quite right about "Israel's moral position".

Andrew at Obsidian Wings: "I am left wondering just what it is Israel hopes to accomplish with these strikes. I do not mean that they are morally wrong to do so; both Hezbollah and Hamas have been in a state of war with Israel since it came into existence, so Israel has every right to wage war against them. But in this case, I'm not certain what it is Israel can possibly hope to gain."

Fine, but what is Israel supposed to do?

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  • Hezbollah is primarily controlled by Syria. Lebanon has very recently escaped Syria grip to form a fragile fledgling democracy, although there is still a strong pro-Syrian faction within Lebanon. Hezbollah, IIRC, controls about a fifth of the seats in the parliament. I doubt that the (anti-Syrian) Lebanese government had the werewithal to seriously crack down on Hezbollah. If it could've, it probably would've.

    So, to be all realist about it, Israel acted against its best interests. It attacked a democratic government that is currently weak, but could have in time become a friend. Meanwhile, Damascus is laughing.

    You ask what Israel was supposed to do. Well, when in doubt, remember -- first, do no harm.

    (That was the realist perspective. On the moral perspective, I think that Israel have acted terribly wrong. They have punished a nation for the act of an extremist faction that was not controlled by the government. They have killed many innocent Lebanese civilians. The economy of Lebanon, where my cousin's husband-to-be's family was originally from, will be devastated. However, I realize that it's fairly hopeless to talk about the rights and wrongs of matters when it comes to the Middle East.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:02 AM  

  • I had a teacher once - a long time ago. Every time someone would react in kind when the class bully whacked him over the head or dumped someone's books on the floor or spit in somebody's lunch, she would say "It takes two to have a fight."

    Somehow, the observation that it takes two parties to perpetrate a murder or assault never seemed to justify the acceptance of murder or assault - at least to me.

    If a country is relentlessly attacked and violated for 48 years, don't they eventually run out of cheeks to turn?

    The doctrine of proportionate response helped the US to lose in Viet Nam and it would be the same for Israel, outnumbered by a huge margin and surrounded by murderous and unrepentant religious fanatics who will kill their own people merely to make themselves into victims in the world's eyes.

    But you've asked precisely the right question - just what is Israel supposed to do? Appeal to the UN?

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 11:03 AM  

  • Israel shouldn't of attacked the Main international Lebanese Airport. They shouldn't of killed 45 innocent civilians, and they shouldn't of committed acts that led to an act of war. For it is not the state of Lebanon that is responsible but extremists that are not connected to the state.

    Mr. Stickings, I find your posts very PRO-ISRAEL, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, unless it gets in the way of having a balanced view of the issue and I think this affects you. I believe Israel's action was too abrasive, bold, and it didn't give a shit about international law... Their actions will not lead them out of their vicious cycle in the long term.

    I don't know what they are suppose to do anymore... All I know is how they carried out their response was wrong.

    Citizen of the world

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:34 AM  

  • I learned a long time ago, going back to your disproportionate post, never to confuse the current Israeli government with "the Israelis." I certainly wouldn't want it reflexively assumed that the idiot policies of this Administration reflect what's in my self-interest, that their actions corresponded with my self-defense, or that I didn't care about others because of my nationality.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:56 AM  

  • Just wanted to correct something...I implied in my comments that the lebanese government is anti-syrian. According to Juan Cole it's more complicated. The president is not anti-Syrian but most of the cabinet is. Still doesn't make the situation right. Oh, and Captn Fogg, no side in the middle east have the right to play the victim. Everybody has got blood on their hands. Not in the least Israel, who are keeping the Palestinian people under their thumb.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:18 PM  

  • There is only one option. CRUSH the opposition in the most brutal manner possible. This is war! Nations have the option of seeing the blood of their nation slowly seep into the battlefield over a period of years or they can wipe out all thoughts in the enemy's mind that they can compete with on the battlefield.

    What would Tony Soprano do?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:46 PM  

  • You're crazy

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:38 PM  

  • Anonymous, pleasedon't resort to ad hominum attacks, but debate me. Tell me have I gotten wrong?
    Here's what Sun Tzu in the Art of War wrote. Is he crazy?

    When you engage in actual fighting, if victory
    is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and
    their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town,
    you will exhaust your strength.
    3. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources
    of the State will not be equal to the strain.

    4. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped,
    your strength exhausted and your treasure spent,
    other chieftains will spring up to take advantage
    of your extremity. Then no man, however wise,
    will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.

    By Blogger Mover Mike, at 5:43 PM  

  • Mover Mike
    You forget to mention that sun tzu value above all gaining victory without coming to blows. Israel rushed into this attack instead.

    By Blogger Battlepanda, at 9:37 AM  

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