War Link Dump I: Nasrallah: "Israel has been exposed as a slave of the U.S."

Pretty Twisted:

Nasrallah threatens to fire missiles at central Israel, says Israel wants cease-fire, U.S. opposed

By Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondent and News Agencies

Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah on Saturday vowed to fire rockets on communities in central Israel if the military operation in Lebanon continued, and accused Israel of being an American "slave."

"The bombardment of Afula and its military base is the beginning ... Many

cities in the center [of Israel] will be targeted in the 'beyond Haifa' phase if the savage aggression continues on our country, people and villages," Nasrallah said in a speech aired on Hezbollah's Al-Manar television.

"The Israelis are ready to halt the aggression because they are afraid of the unknown. The one pushing for the continuation of the aggression is the U.S. administration. Israel has been exposed as a slave of the U.S.," he said.

"There are developments on the diplomatic front, and attempts to end the crisis, thanks to our strong position. The enemy attained no military achievements. They admit this," Nasrallah said, claiming that Israel suffered a "serious defeat" in ground fighting around Bint Jbial. Nasrallah said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice aimed to impose conditions on Lebanon and to serve Israeli interests during her diplomatic mission to the region.

"Now Ms. Rice is returning to the region to try and impose her conditions again on Lebanon to serve her project, the new Middle East and to serve Israel," he said. Nasrallah pledged to cooperate with the Lebanese government, which has presented a peace package that could lead to the eventual disarming of Hezbollah. The guerrilla group's politicians in the government agreed to the package.

Nasrallah did not mention the proposals specifically. But he suggested that Hezbollah would not follow through with disarmament if the government compromises on conditions outlined in the Lebanese proposal.

"We are keen to cooperate with the government," Nasrallah said. But "for Lebanon to win the battle, it needs political will no less than the will of the resistance fighters in the field ... The government is required to act in a way that reflects the Lebanese people's steadfastness and unity," he said.

"We have a historic opportunity in Lebanon to liberate every inch of our land, regain of our prisoners and guarantee our national sovereignty, so that our skies, water, land and our people are no longer subject to Zionist violation and aggression," he said.

Over the last couple days, a ton of links have piled up. I'm going to break them up by source. There may be a few quotes but I just want to blast through them.

Haaretz - center-left Israeli paper "of record":

IDF leaves Bint Jbail; 6 soldiers hurt in clashes with Hezbollah

Israel rejects UN call for 72-hour halt in fighting; France 'regrets' decision; UN to remove observers from Israel-Lebanon border; Israel cool on UN role in peacekeeping force

Ahmadinejad: Israel pushed self-destruct button in Lebanon - July 28

Addressing the clerical staff of the Friday prayer sermons in Tehran, Ahmadinejad said Israel and its supporters "should know that they cannot end the business that they have begun."

"The occupying regime of Palestine has actually pushed the button of its own destruction by launching a new round of invasion and barbaric onslaught on Lebanon," the official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted the president as saying.

No hidden agenda - By Uzi Benziman - Olmert is going to be fucked over by this mess.

Analysis / The alternative to Hezbollah may be occupation By Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz Correspondent

Nasrallah: Our rockets will hit beyond Haifa:

Nasrallah charges Israel with having planned its attack on Lebanon that came after Hezbollah abducted two IDF soldiers for about a year. He hinted that Hezbollah had not anticipated the severity of the Israeli strikes, but said that by kidnapping the soldiers, Hezbollah had saved itself from a surprise Israeli attack.

"We eliminated Israel's element of surprise before its plans were completed," he said.

A glossary of delusions By Aluf Benn - very pissed at Israeli left, right, Hezbollah and the international community

Apache crash probably caused by friendly fire - back on Monday

3 reserve divisions to start training after call-up okayed - also has details of disagreements inside the Israeli cabinet.

Wounded troops describe Bint Jbail battle as 'hell on earth' - July 27

20 new words and sentences from the dictionary of war clichés by Shmuel Rosner. This might be my favorite:

Green light: The American green light has a down side. When you have a green light - you're expected to win!

We'd love to have a cease-fire (Tony Snow): When Hezbollah runs out of ammunition.

An 'e-mail from Nasrallah' by Tom Segev. Some guy named Nasrallah wants the kids to grow up in peace... Yousry Nasrallah, an Egyptian film director. There are a lot of good reflections from Robert McNamara and the documentary Fog of War:

The seventh lesson that McNamara offers to history is the most important of all: Very often, heads of states and armies do not really see what they think they see. They see what they expect to see, what they want to see, what's convenient for them to see. McNamara suggests that leaders take a second look at their assumptions at the moment of reckoning: Not only can intelligence be faulty, the basic conceptions guiding them may also be flawed. The communist threat that stood at the center of the Western world's thinking turned out years later to be an optical illusion. Today the Western world believes in the Islamic threat. The rhetoric accompanying the war in Lebanon sounds in part like it was borrowed from the Vietnam War.

This article was pissed at all sides: Justified, essential and timely By Avraham Tal

Contrary to what the critics are arguing, the IDF is not fighting a small guerrilla organization. It is dealing with a trained, skilled, well-organized, highly motivated infantry that is equipped with the cream of the crop of modern weaponry from the arsenals of Syria, Iran, Russia and China, and which is very familiar with the territory on which it is fighting. In such a showdown, even when you have tanks and fighter planes, the going is very slow, and, sadly, you must also pay a heavy price in terms of casualties.

Hawk suggesting they never considered all the missiles that would rain down on Israel: With a thunderous roar by Yoel Marcus.

Very recommended: Diminishing expectations By Doron Rosenblum:

This war, with all its hundreds of casualties and tremendous damage, broke out not because of the abduction of the soldiers, but because of a speech: Hassan Nasrallah's short, bragging speech in which he provoked Israel's new leaders.

Was it a clever trap laid by the wily fox, or perhaps one uncalculated moment of catastrophic hubris when, with that defiant smile, the Hezbollah leader told his listeners that Ehud Olmert, Amir Peretz and Dan Halutz are inexperienced and "small" as compared with Ariel Sharon? And, as though to add fuel to the fire, he emphasized the "small" with his fingers.

It's possible that the war would at least have been postponed if the prime minister or the defense minister had been a woman, or if Hezbollah had made do only with the incident in which soldiers were killed and abducted, without the provocative speech. But with that speech, and with this kind of cast on our side - bad-tempered Olmert, egocentric Peretz, arrogant Halutz - Nasrallah had a better chance of emerging unscathed if he stood barefoot in a puddle and stuck a nail into an electric outlet.... So the war, whatever its price, was unavoidable. Let us therefore not be surprised that it has no well-defined "strategic goals." It burst out reflexively, like a blow delivered below the belt.

The U.S. may have to resume talks with Syria By Shmuel Rosner: The U.S. realizes that Israel will probably not succeed in destroying Hezbollah's infrastructure.

Sources: Shin Bet issues warning to families of terrorists ahead of strikes

Now for other sources: I really recommend this overview of Hezbollah that tells pretty much the whole arc of the story, from the 1980s civil war to just before today: Boston Review: Hizbullah’s New Face: In search of a Muslim democracy by Helena Cobban (April/May 2005):

In 1985, the IDF withdrew from a large region stretching southward from Beirut and consolidated its positions within the so-called security zone, a broad strip of land inside Lebanon, running the length of its L-shaped border with Israel. Much of South Lebanon then became a free-fire zone for Israeli artillery, aerial bombardments, and periodic ground operations, all of which inflicted considerable casualties in the southern Shiite villages. But with the IDF’s permanent positions now removed far from Beirut, Hizbullah was able to establish a national headquarters in the Dahiyeh, and from there a group of talented political organizers set about building Hizbullah into a single, very effective nationwide party with its roots reaching deeply into the Shiite communities of the south, the Beqaa, and Greater Beirut.

All kinds of people, from hardscrabble farmers to well-educated members of the liberal professions, were brought into the constellation of mass organizations that the party established in every region, every profession, and every sector of the economy. Timur Goksel, who last year retired after 24 years as the chief political advisor to the UN’s (highly constrained) peacekeeping force in south Lebanon, told me how surprised he was to discover that the members of the first Hizbullah delegations sent to deal with him, in the mid-1980s, were not wild-eyed Islamist radicals but calm, serious men who were doctors, engineers, or businessmen: men of real substance in their local communities.

[snip]........Nasrullah’s leadership strategy—combining efforts at mass organizing and inter-group negotiating with a “militant” image and targeted violence—has many parallels with that pursued by the African National Congress leaders in South Africa in the 1980s and 1990s. And just as the ANC realized its longtime goal of establishing a one-person-one-vote system in South Africa, so too did Hizbullah succeed in May 2000 in winning an unconditional Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.

The contribution of mass organizing to Hizbullah’s early growth and to its success in winning Israel’s withdrawal has seldom been recognized in the west. It is true that Hizbullah built a smart, bold, and well-disciplined military wing that inflicted nontrivial harm on the IDF and its proxy forces from the so-called South Lebanon Army. That violence never came anywhere close to overwhelming the IDF militarily, but it did continue relentlessly, and the IDF was never able to suppress it. Meanwhile, over time, the IDF’s continuing losses in Lebanon spurred the emergence of a broad pro-withdrawal movement inside Israel that by 1999 had propelled the withdrawal issue to the top of the national agenda. The promise of withdrawal helped the Labor Party’s Ehud Barak win the 1999 election, and in late May 2000 he followed through.

That withdrawal was very popular inside Israel. But since 2000, a number of Israelis have expressed concern that Hizbullah’s success had “significantly dented Israel’s deterrent capability throughout the region.” Proponents of this view are largely right in judging that Hizbullah’s 2000 victory served as an inspiration to, among others, militant nationalists and Islamists inside the Palestinian territories. But they are wrong to attribute the victory solely to Hizbullah’s military capabilities. For what actually brought Barak to his very sensible decision to withdraw was his realization that winning the military battle in Lebanon (which Israel did many times between 1982 and 2000) could never be translated into winning lasting political gains there; Hizbullah always survived to fight another day. And the roots of Hizbullah’s remarkable resilience lay in the success of its mass organizing.......

......Nasrallah can be seen, then, as an extremely pragmatic political operator, both in his policies toward Israel and (as noted earlier) in the policies he has adopted within Lebanon. Several researchers have noted the tactical agility with which Hizbullah leaders have been able to develop and pursue a pragmatic political “program” (al-burnamij al-siyasi) containing realizable short- and medium-term goals while at the same time keeping in mind the political “ideology” (al-fikr al-siyasi) that defines their long-term goals. But these men’s political choices can also helpfully be seen (as Judith Harik has suggested) as the result of their shifting use of the four intersecting ideological “frames” within which they operate: Islamism, Lebanese nationalism, Arab nationalism, and global anti-imperialism.

All right, this post is getting too long. I will post a few more links in a while, from a more varied set of sources.

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