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July 13, 2007: Lebanon

July 13, 2007

Madgi Halabi is an Israeli Druze journalist who has connections with friends in Lebanon. In today’s YNet he writes about the inevitability of war in Lebanon:

Hezbollah, he reports, is in absolute control of south Lebanon: "Even weddings are coordinated with Hezbollah activists so that everything is orderly and no "undesirable songs" are played…I was told of this by a Lebanese friend who resides in the south…He says that members of the organization take care of everything .

"The situation…is volatile. Hezbollah is planning a revolution and a takeover of the Lebanese government, and aims to establish an alternative government…This coup will immediately by recognized by Syria and Iran, and the whole of Lebanon will go up in flames. Under such circumstances, it would be natural for the fire to be directed at Israel again…

"Hezbollah’s control in the south is absolute …also when it comes to military affairs. Recently, many Hezbollah flags were hung on 10-meter high (roughly 30 feet) flagpoles under the open eyes of UNIFIL and Lebanese troops…

"Hezbollah continues to bring in [to Lebanon] huge quantities of sophisticated weapons and various types of missiles… and smuggles them to the south. There is no doubt, Hezbollah is preparing for another war against Israel, this time with direct Syrian and Iranian military backing."

Says Halabi, Israeli’s inability to take out Hezbollah strengthened the organization — everyone is afraid of it now.

"All the talk about Security Council Resolution 1701 and its implementation on the ground is futile…Empty words."


Have we learned anything? Will we be ready this time — not only ready with a plan to defeat Hezbollah but with adequate protection for the north?

And, just as important, will it have dawned on us that we cannot depend upon the international community to protect us and that UN resolutions such as the one that was touted by Livni last year are worthless?


Speaking of Livni, she gave an interview with the Le Nouvel Observateur in Paris, released yesterday, and she hardly sounds like her old "diplomatic solution" self. I am tempted to say that EVEN Livni says… but she may revert to form at any moment.

Two things she said are worthy of note. First, conflicting with recent messages from Olmert, she opposes direct negotiations with Syria, and properly so:

"Syria is pursuing the dangerous game it plays in the region. It is supporting Hezbollah, refusing the principle of independence for Lebanon and remains a threat…

"Moreover, Damascus, which is still the regional centre of support for terrorism, is today associated with Iran in a partnership which also constitutes a danger."

When asked about speedy withdrawal from the West Bank , she replied that "It would above all run the risk of seeing the West Bank sink into civil war and resemble what Gaza has become."

How about that?


It has been announced that Sec. of State Rice’s trip to this area is being postponed until August. Ahh, too bad… Seems even State Department officials with their persistent illusions must have perceived that this would not be an auspicious time for accomplishing their "goals."

Now…Jordanian and Egyptian envoys had postponed their visit here until after Rice’s visit. Can we assume they won’t be here either until at least August?


Perhaps there is hope yet. I have been reading about the encouragingly strong campaign cabinet being assembled by Rudy Giuliani. Of interest in particular is the inclusion of conservative intellectual Norman Podhoretz, who recently wrote a piece in Commentary (which he formerly headed) advocating bombing of Iran.

Podhoretz’s inclusion on Giuliani’s staff is noteworthy for several reasons. The attacks on the "Jewish lobby" of late — most notably the infamous Walt/Mearsheimer paper — focus on Jewish neo-conservatives who supported invasion in Iraq. The charge is that the neo-conservatives were interested only in the well being of Israel to the detriment of the US (the old "dual loyalty" charge). Commentary is at the forefront of neo-conservative thinking and so it is heartening to me to see that Giuliani embraces its editor-at-large.

The dual-loyalty charges, I believe, have been a factor in making Jews run scared of supporting either a continued US presence in Iraq or the bombing of Iran. This is greatly to be regretted. First, it is short-sighted in the extreme to imagine that what threatens Israel does not also threaten the US. This is for several reasons: Israel provides stability in this part of the world, and the forces out to get us are also out to get the US; whatever strengthens those forces weakens the US. And then, it is absolutely within the American tradition for loyal Americans to express an interest in the well being of another country. Who are we kidding here? Arab Americans don’t lobby for Arab states? Hispanic Americans don’t lobby for legislation beneficial to Latin American countries? Come on! But it is the Jewish concern for Israel that is attacked.

We should remain mindful of these issues . American Jews need to be strengthened in this regard.


Giuliani’s team, by the way, also includes Martin Kramer, an expert in Islam and Arab politics who is a strong opponent of radical Islam; he is a senior fellow at the conservative Shalem Center here in Jerusalem and is associated with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.


The IDF has announced the capture of a terrorist apparently on his way to launching an attack. He was caught at a checkpoint (please note: at a checkpoint). On his person were found an AK-47 assault rifle and an army vest with matching ammunition clips. In the care were discovered three explosive devices.

Under no circumstances can these checks be halted for "good will."


Ruthie Bloom has done a stunning interview of Dr. Joel Fishman, who is a fellow with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Brilliantly he lays a picture of what we are contending with, and reminds us of essential facts that it is so easy to forget.

I urge you to read it in its entirety and to share it with others.





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