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Iran's Taazi Regme Role In The Latest Arab Israeli Conflict
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 1:47 pm    Post subject: Lebanon: The Myth of Hezbollah's Victory Reply with quote

Lebanon: The Myth of Hezbollah's Victory

Amir Taheri


Was it Tacitus who said, "Defeat is an orphan while victory has a thousand fathers"? Whoever said it, the dictum now applies to the latest war between Israel and Hezbollah.

Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert boasted of a tactical victory, a day after the United Nations Security Council ordered a ceasefire. President George W Bush has also claimed another victory in his own global war against terrorism, without telling us how or why this was the case.

Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah went further by claiming "a strategic victory" which, taken literally, means that his movement is now in a position to crush not only Israel but also "Global Arrogance", i.e. the United States, in the near future.

A "strategic victory" comes when the initiative passes irrevocably into the hands of one side and against the other. Churchill spoke of "strategic victory" after Allied forces had landed in Normandy on 6 June 1944. Truman spoke of "strategic victory" after US planes had dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

By those standards, it is hard to see the basis for Nasrallah's claim.

Claims of victory have also been made on behalf of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the Islamic Republic and President Bashar al- Assad of Syria.

In Tehran, the foreign ministry spokesman asserted that Israel had suffered "total defeat", implying that Ahmadinejad's promise of "wiping the Jewish stain of shame off the map" was soon to be realised.

Some Western commentators have echoed that claim, pointing to what they see as an Iranian success against the United States in a proxy war. They believe that Tehran is now in a stronger position to face the diplomatic coalition led by the US on the issue of Iranian nuclear ambitions.

Also in Tehran, Ayatollah Ali- Akbar Mohtashami, the man who created the Lebanese branch of Hezbollah, claimed "victory", presumably for his own genius in setting up the

Shi'ite militia.

There have been even more bizarre claims of victory.

Political allies of Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora see the way the war ended as a victory for his government. None, however, takes the trouble of spelling out in what way this might be the case.

We have also had claims of victory on behalf of the United Nations, the rubber stamp used to bestow an appearance of legitimacy on the most hypocritical of compromises.

Beyond officialdom, debate about "who won" has raged in the Arab world and Israel, not to mention the Western media.

Some Arab writers have continued a long tradition of self-deception that represents every defeat as victory. Others, a new breed, have manifested acute symptoms of self-loathing. Like anti-American Americans who see every evil under the sun as a result of US machination, these anti-Arab Arabs are always ready to think the worst of their people and deny the Arabs any credit whatsoever. A similar situation can be observed in Israel where Jewish self-loathing seems to have a growing constituency.

The Western media have been divided across traditional party lines. Anti-American newspapers have hailed Hezbollah's victory while supporters of the Anglo-Saxon alliance have tried to portray Israel as the victor.

One British newspaper speaks of "a convincing victory" for Hezbollah while another claims that Israel "won by achieving most of its objectives."

When all is said and done, however, such claims and counter-claims are irrelevant. The reason that the protagonists know in the heart of their hearts, what the real situation is. Even those who are delusional genetically know, deep down, whether they have won or lost.

So, what is the ordinary citizen to think of all those claims and counter claims?

The first point that merits consideration is that the world today seldom allows war to do its job to the full.

War occurs when two or more adversaries realise that there are no other means of resolving a political conflict. The task of war is to help the adversaries discover each other's threshold of pain. Once one adversary is pushed to that threshold he would surrender, allowing the war to end with a clear winner and a clear loser.

Nowadays, however, war is not allowed to continue until that threshold of pain is discovered. In most cases, the so-called "international community", symbolised by the UN, intervenes to stop war before it has done its job. As a result, in the past five or six decades, the world has become full of inconclusive wars each of which has bred an even bigger conflict. The mini-war fought between Israel and Hezbollah is no exception.

It was the continuation of their earlier war in 1996, only on a grander scale. The "international community" did not allow the 1996 war to do its job to the full and come up with

a winner and a loser. The result was this latest war. This is exactly what has happened again, this time with the new UN-sponsored ceasefire. Because neither side was pushed to his threshold of pain, there is no winner and no loser. And, this is a recipe for a bigger war sooner or later.

Let us consider some questions?

Was Israel hurt enough to think of surrendering or at least to change its overall policy in the Middle East?

What about the United States? Has Bush been hurt enough to abandon his

"Greater Middle East" plans or, at least, stop pushing Iran's back to the wall on the nuclear issue?

Has the Islamic Republic been hurt enough to realise that it cannot challenge the American script for the Middle East through proxy wars?

Has Hezbollah been hurt enough to understand that it cannot offer the Lebanese Shi'ites long-term leadership by dragging them into what is essentially a duel between an aggressive US administration and a defiant Iranian leadership?

The answer to all the above questions is: no.

Israel could have continued to fight for many more months, if not years without its people thinking of running away from the Middle East. Also, Israel has the firepower to blast the whole of Lebanon out of existence had the war pushed it closer to its ultimate threshold of pain.

The US, too, was nowhere close reaching its threshold of pain, even in purely political terms.

Hezbollah could have continued to fight for many more months. Nasrallah's private army was firing an average of 80 missiles at Israel. At that rate, Hezbollah could have continued the missile attacks for at least six months before it ran of supplies. Even then its losses could have been easily made good with fresh supplies from Iran, enabling it, theoretically, to continue attacking Israeli civilian targets forever.

As for Iran, financing and arming Hezbollah represents a very small investment in a big confrontation. The Islamic Republic could keep Hezbollah, and many militias like it, alive for years.

While we cannot be certain who won in this mini-war we can be certain that none of the protagonists were pushed anywhere close to their respective thresholds of pain.

That, however, is not the case with the people of Lebanon who will have to pay the price of the conflicting claims of victory made by the various protagonists. They did come close to their threshold of pain and were clearly not prepared to see the war continue much longer.

That may well be the only good news to come out of this tragedy. Those who wish to plunge Lebanon in another war for whatever reason may have to think twice before they pull the trigger.


Amir Taheri was born in Iran and educated in Tehran, London and Paris. Between 1980 and 1984 he was Middle East editor for the London Sunday Times. Taheri has been a contributor to the International Herald Tribune since 1980. He has also written for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Taheri has published nine books some of which have been translated into 20 languages, and In 1988 Publishers'' Weekly in New York chose his study of Islamist terrorism, "Holy Terror", as one of The Best Books of The Year. He has been a columnist Asharq Alawsat since 1987
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 4:28 pm    Post subject: Hizbollah Hands Out Cash to Lebanese Reply with quote

Hizbollah Hands Out Cash to Lebanese
August 18, 2006
Alistair Lyon, Special Correspondent


BEIRUT -- Hizbollah handed out bundles of cash on Friday to people whose homes were wrecked by Israeli bombing, consolidating the Iranian-backed group's support among Lebanon's Shi'ites and embarrassing the Beirut government.

"This is a very, very reasonable amount. It is not small," said Ayman Jaber, 27, holding a wad he had just picked up from Hizbollah of $12,000 in banknotes wrapped in tissue.

Israeli and U.S. officials have voiced concern that Hizbollah will entrench its popularity by moving fast -- with Iranian money -- to help people whose homes were destroyed or damaged in the 34-day conflict with Israel.

Hizbollah has not said where the funds are coming from to compensate people from an estimated 15,000 destroyed homes. The scheme appears likely to cost at least $150 million. The Lebanese government has yet to launch anything similar.

Trying to bolster a five-day-old truce, Lebanese troops moved deeper into south Lebanon a day after France dealt a blow to hopes of building a strong U.N. force to help the army take control of the region as Israeli troops withdraw.

The United Nations said it had received substantial offers of troops for Lebanon, but was disappointed that France was only offering to send 200 additional soldiers.

"We had hoped -- we make no secret of it -- that there would be a stronger French contribution," said U.N. deputy secretary-general Mark Malloch Brown.

International and Lebanese government aid efforts risk being overshadowed by Hizbollah's swift action on reconstruction.

Hizbollah said it had so far given the one-time cash payment to 120 families whose homes in the southern suburbs of Beirut were destroyed in Israeli air strikes. The money is to help families rent and furnish alternative accommodation.

"We have full information on all the buildings that have been destroyed or damaged," said a Hizbollah official at one of 12 assistance centers the group has set up in the suburbs.

"Later on, we will either pay for new flats or rebuild the buildings that were destroyed."

Hizbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah promised the compensation in his first speech after the truce took hold.


France's reticence to contribute more troops follows disastrous peacekeeping missions in the past. It lost 58 paratroopers to a Shi'ite suicide bomb attack in Beirut in 1983 and some 84 soldiers in Bosnia in the early 1990s.

"I'd like to remind you of the experience of painful operations where U.N. forces did not have a sufficiently precise mission or the means to react," French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie told RTL radio.

The Italian government formally approved the deployment of troops to Lebanon. It did not say how many would be sent, but officials have said Italy was ready to offer up to 3,000 troops.

Prime Minister Romano Prodi said Italy wanted to contribute, but that the mission must have clear rules of engagement.

The Lebanese army began deploying south of the Litani River, about 20 km (13 miles) from the border with Israel, on Thursday.

A senior security source said about 4,500 Lebanese troops were already south of the Litani and more units were joining them on Friday as the force builds up to an eventual 15,000.

Some troops reached the village of Shebaa, near the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms enclave, a key source of tension between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas before the recent war.

Hizbollah fighters have melted away as the Lebanese army arrives, but they have not left the south or given up the rocket launchers they used to bombard Israel during the conflict.

Malloch Brown said Hizbollah's disarmament required an agreement between the group and the Lebanese government.

At least 1,181 people in Lebanon and 157 Israelis were killed in the conflict that erupted after Hizbollah captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12.

In the occupied West Bank, Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinian militants near Bethlehem after a nearly two-hour standoff, Palestinian security sources and witnesses said.

(Additional reporting by Beirut, Jerusalem, Paris, Rome and U.N. bureaux)

Last edited by cyrus on Sat Aug 19, 2006 6:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I think Israel should be the one giving free money to the Lebanese civilians ... it would get their popularity up as well.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Lebanese citizens stand next to a picture of Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in the Hezbollah stronghold of Baalbek, in the eastern Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, Friday, Aug. 18, 2006. There are more posters of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini here than in towns in his native Iran, where he toppled 2,500 years of monarchy nearly 30 years ago, established an Islamic republic, and set out to export his Shiite Muslim ideology beyond his Persian nation. (AP Photo/Samer Husseini)
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 2:32 pm    Post subject: Iran Has 'Blood on its Hands' MacKay Says Reply with quote

Pro Hezbollah Taazi Occupiers Of Iran Has 'Blood on its Hands' MacKay Says

August 19, 2006
National Post
Mike Blanchfield


With a potential international showdown looming next week in Iran's nuclear standoff with the West, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay says Tehran has "blood on its hands" for backing Hezbollah in its recent war against Israel.

In an interview with CanWest News Service, Mr. MacKay highlighted Iran's support of Hezbollah and its nuclear ambitions, which will be back in the international spotlight on Tuesday -- the symbolic date in the Muslim calendar chosen by the Islamic regime to reply to UN demands to end its suspected nuclear weapons program.

"They [Iran] are certainly behind much of the difficulty that's going on in the region by funding Hezbollah, by supporting them in terms of their activities against Israel. They have a great deal of responsibility and blood on their hands from their activities," he said.

Mr. MacKay said he saw a "glimmer of hope" this week Tehran might consider halting its uranium enrichment program, although he's not holding his breath.

Iran says it needs nuclear energy to provide electricity, but the West suspects it of trying to create a nuclear bomb.

The United States says it wants the United Nations to move swiftly to impose sanctions if Iran fails to halt uranium enrichment by Aug. 31, the deadline set by the UN Security Council for Tehran to respond to an incentive package offered by the West.

"I think this is one of the more ominous and looming concerns that everyone should be focused on," Mr. MacKay said.

"Of course, we've been very much caught up with what's been happening in the Middle East, but Iran, it's fair to say, has been described an agent provocateur."

Mr. MacKay also pointed to Syria as "a conduit for Iran to perpetrate much of this mischief."

Israel and the United States are concerned Iran and Syria may try to resupply Hezbollah with weapons after the ceasefire in its 34-day war with Israel. Syria is thought to have acted as one of the main supply routes for weapons used by Hezbollah during the war.

Manouchehr Mottaki, the Iranian Foreign Minister, suggested his country might be ready to agree on suspension of uranium enrichment.

"We are ready to negotiate over all issues stated in the proposed package," he said this week.

"One of the points in the package is the issue of suspension. We are ready to negotiate over all issues, including suspension."

Mr. Mottaki's conciliatory tone contrasts with the continued refusal of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to stop enrichment and his fiery support of Hezbollah.

"I have reservations about Iran's intentions for obvious reasons. At this point I think the Foreign Minister's statement is -- I would describe it as a glimmer of hope -- and let's hope that they follow through on their word," Mr. MacKay said.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 5:56 am    Post subject: European press warns French troop offer weakens UN force in Reply with quote

From AFP: European press warns French troop offer weakens UN force in Lebanon. (LGF)

France faced criticism in the European press for not offering more troops for southern Lebanon, which was seen as jeopardizing the UN force's difficult task of imposing peace. ...
Despite expectations that France would provide the bulk of a planned 15,000 strong UN force, Paris said Thursday it would send 200 troops to reinforce the UN mission in Lebanon.

While it said France was prepared to command the enlarged force, it also called for safety guarantees for its soliders before making further commitments.

From FoxNews: French Soldiers Among First Peacekeepers to Land in Lebanon.

French soldiers landed in Lebanon on Saturday, the first reinforcements for an expanded U.N. peacekeeping force tasked with keeping the truce in the Israel-Hezbollah conflict.
About 50 French troops — military engineers — were to prepare for the arrival of 200 more soldiers expected next week, said Cmdr. Bertrand Bonneau, a spokesman for the French contingent. ...

On Friday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed to U.N. member states to provide peacekeepers, assuring them the U.N. force would not be tasked with fighting Israel, Lebanon, or Hezbollah militants.

A key concern of many countries is whether the U.N. force will be called on to disarm Hezbollah fighters, as called for in a September 2004 U.N. resolution.

From the Boston Herald: With doublespeaking France, honor gets lost in translation. (via InstaPundit)

In recent weeks, France stepped forward to act as a broker of peace in Lebanon. “Act” is the key verb in that last sentence, as it now would seem that the only other verifiable part of the sentence is “in recent weeks.”
To correctly parse that sentence, one must understand that when France suggested it wanted to broker peace in Lebanon, it did not necessarily mean “broker” or “peace” or “Lebanon” in the way we might understand those words. The same is true when France further suggested it wanted to “lead” a “strong” “multinational” “force” there.

I don’t speak French, so I have no idea what the actual French words are for those concepts or what possible nuances there may be. I’ve been relying on news reports in English, which now inform me that the French do not intend to send any significant number of troops to what is supposed to be a force of 15,000 in Lebanon, like everyone thought they said they would.

The heady moment of peace brokering having passed, uponsober reflection, the French now say they already have a general and some staff in south Lebanon ordering about UNIFIL, the U.N. monitoring entity there. That’s plenty of leadership, the French suggested: All France needs to contribute now is another 200 combat engineers.

In tactical terms, when it comes to securing a Middle East conflict zone, that can be referred to as “squat.”
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