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August 6, 2006

Opposing Windows : Missing Targets

Hezbollah-Mobile1

Lebanon-Building-Damaged2

You can’t have a war — especially these days — without a propaganda war.  Is it just me, though, or does it seem there has been a real lack of coverage of the coverage?

Given the strong and opposite sympathies surrounding this conflict, The BAG aims to offer a series of posts divided in pairs.  My purpose is less to analyze than to mirror two radically divergent views of reality — especially as expressed through the media filter.  Hopefully this approach can encourage something rare — an examination of the dynamics of the conflict, as opposed to the drumbeats from either side.

So, here’s what we’ve got.

Right wing blogs have been buzzing for days over photos showing Hezbollah operating in a dense civilian neighborhood.  The images reveal fighters in civilian clothes manning a truck equipped with large caliber weapons.  Originally reported in the Sunday Herald Sun, the location is reported as Wadi Chahrour, a Christian area in east Beirut.  The photos are attributed to a “visiting journalist” who reportedly smuggled them out through a friend.

The second shot is from a photo gallery on Syria’s SANA news service.  It was taken about two weeks ago.  I’m guessing it’s Southern Beirut.

Note: For equivalency (if I can use the expression), because the top image came off a scan from a newspaper, I desaturated the second shot and added some noise.  For more images of the Hezbollah truck, check here.)



(image 1: unattributed.  Sunday Herald Sun. July 30, 2006.  Lebanon.  image 2: SANA News Service.  July 26, 2006. Lebanon.)

  • http://www.keirneuringer.blogspot.com Keir

    Chickens and eggs indeed. One thing I don’t hear very much—because it seems few want to deal with the notion that Hezbollah is a legitimate resistance group, now embraced by a huge swath of Lebanese society from all the religious groups—is that Hezbollah should be in civilian neighborhoods to defend civilian targets. As far as reporting on the reporting goes, the resistance has been deemed guilty whether Israel is seen as an aggressor or as somehow acting in self defence.
    There is an interesting article here, in which independent journalist Jonathan Cook writes from Nazareth

    “any Lebanese fighter…resisting Israel and its powerful military should stand in an open field, his rifle raised to the sky, waiting to see who fares worse in a shoot-out with an Apache helicopter or F-16 fighter jet. Hezbollah’s reluctance to conduct the war in this manner, we are supposed to infer, is proof that they are terrorists.”

    It seems that is the attitude maintained, without a hint of irony, by a majority of Western news outlets.

  • http://www.searchformajorplagge.com MichaelDG

    Now the Bag is starting to look into the heart of this war and the endless cycle violence in the Middle East in general. Both sides in this conflict, along with their allies, have a sympathetic narrative which they disseminate to their followers. Each narrative has its own seemingly flawless, heart rending logic which fits tightly into each camps perception of reality. From the Israeli camp it seems very clear that Hizbollah, at the instigation of it’s sponsor Iran, started this war and cynically sheds tears over the civilian deaths when it knowingly brings them on by placing their weapons in or very near to residential buildings filled with innocents. The proof for their case is seen in photos such as you show on top of your blog. For those opposing Israel, it seems clear that the Israelis are grossly over reacting to a minor incident which they use as a cynical excuse to bring down the might of their armed forces upon bystanders in Lebanon to kill hundreds of innocents. The photos of bombed out apartments, dead babies and wrecked ambulances seem to be unassailable proof of the validity of this viewpoint. Each camp talks and circulates evidence with their own, and rarely sees the other side’s point of view, let alone digests them. Both camps are sure of the righteousness of their cause and fervently believe the narrative they have been following for so long. Neither side seems willing to put themselves in the other camps shoes and ask how the world looks like from their perspective. Now you post the propaganda photos of both sides. They are indeed hard to reconcile if one is devoted to defending one side or the other.

  • Mad_nVT

    Excellent opportunity for discussion, and thank you BagMan for forging on with this coverage of the coverage.
    When was the last war fought when armed forces weren’t dressed as civilians, and operating among the civilian population?
    Hezbollah knew what the reaction to their assault would be, and they figured that it was worth the risk to them, and unfortunately, worth the damage to the innocents of Lebanon.
    Looking at various parts of the world and at the prospects for peace, these photos may well represent Life in the Twenty-first Century.

  • http://www.sherrychandler.com Bluegrass Poet

    MadnVT — Once, years ago, I got a chill when GWB called his incursion into Iraq or Afghanistan or somewhere “the first war of the 21st Century.” Here at the beginning of what I had been naively picturing as a brand new peaceful century/millennium was a most unwelcome reality check. The man seemed to be anticipating endless war, but nobody else seemed to have noticed the remark at the time.

  • The BAG

    Just a quick note to be fair to Keir, and to my aim here. This post was initially titled “Chickens and Eggs.” It stuck me only subsequently that this phrase interjects (perhaps a baiting form of) bias. It certainly seems to have colored the read for Keir, and might been what really set him off. (Again, more evidence of the difficulty finding more of a middle ground, or “two way” view.)

  • jt from BC

    I don’t know if Juan Cole has flipped out, lost it, or is on to something, discerning readers on this blog might check his latest thought !?!? http://www.juancole.com/
    (Isn’t his the site where I first saw the BAG ?)

  • http://www.keirneuringer.blogspot.com Keir

    Wait. I liked the post title “Chickens and Eggs.” Reflects well the biases people naturally bring with them to this conflict. I hope I didn’t seem combative up there. Not my intention. But okay, to really attempt a balanced view of this issue: I think our concern should not be with where rockets and missiles are fired from so much as where they are aimed and where they are landing. Of course there is much that can be discussed and debated, but I find it wrong to respond to what happened in Qana (for example) by pointing out that there may possibly have been Hezbollah fighters in the area, and that anyway they use such and such a tactic.
    61 years ago today the Americans dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. And why not? There were (probably? possibly?) military personnel there too.

  • Andy Vance

    It should be noted that the weapon is an anti-aircraft battery. As this blogger points out, it’s useless as an offensive weapon, and it’s not even effective against the high-flying, fast-moving jets the Israelis are using.
    Ironically, it’s presense is a PR move on Hezbollah’s part, intended to send a message to residents (the pictures are from a Christian neighborhood, not a Hezbollah stronghold): “We’re protecting you.”

  • margaret

    The equivalency factor: the truck with the artillary, of whatever kind and purpose of use, is not equivalent to F-16’s.

  • ummabdulla

    The caption in the Herald Sun calls it an anti-aircraft gun.
    I don’t claim to be an expert on Hezbollah or on weaponry, but from everything I’ve read about Hezbollah, I have a hard time believing that these are Hezbollah guys sitting out in the middle of a Christian neighborhood in broad daylight.
    Conveniently, there’s no information about who took the photo, except that he had a friend smuggle them out. Why did he need to smuggle them out anyway? Camera crews are perfectly able to send photos and film out of Beirut; it seems like it would be easier to send it out or get it to journalists in Beirut than it would be to try to get out of the country with it, given the bombing of roads out.
    There have been all kinds of armed factions in Lebanon, including other Shia groups, as well as factions of Druze, Christians, Sunnis, Palestinians, the Lebanese Army, etc. How are we supposed to know that these guys are Hezbollah (considering that only one even has a beard, for one thing)?
    Keir mentioned Jonathan Cook, and I’d also recommend an article of his about “human shields”, where he points out that the Israelis have located major military sites close to Arab villages in Northern Israel, effectively using the Arab population as “human shields”.

  • Satyagraha

    related aside: (Can anyone verify the current Reuters Photo doctoring story ? Only blog links seem to exist, nothing directly from Reuters itself. I trust The BAG will cover this thoroughly as it develops.)

  • jtfromBC

    Robert Fisk is interviewed via phone on CBC for 10 minutes daily, he goes directly to the latest strike zones, here are extracts from and article which may bear on the relevance to photos:
    “The room shook. Not since the 1983 earthquake has my apartment rocked from side to side…”
    “In Israel two civilians were killed by Hizbollah missiles but, as usual, Lebanon bore the brunt of the day’s attacks which centred – incredibly – on the Christian heartland that has traditionally shown great sympathy towards Israel. It was the Christian Maronite community whose Phalangist militiamen were Israel’s closest allies in its 1982 invasion of Lebanon yet Israel’s air force yesterday attacked three highway bridges north of Beirut and – again as usual – it was the little people who died.
    One of them was Joseph Bassil, 65, a Christian man who had gone out on his daily jogging exercise with four friends north of Jounieh. “His friends packed up after four rounds of the bridge because it was hot,” a member of his family told us later. “Joseph decided to do one more jog on the bridge. That was what killed him.” The Israelis gave no reason for the attacks – no Hizbollah fighters would ever enter this Christian Maronite stronghold”
    After living in Beruit for close to 30 years I’d say Robert knows his way around this city.
    http://news.independent.co.uk/world/fisk/article1214522.ece

  • http://ruinsofempire.blogspot.com/ Rafael

    That a Russian made ZSU-23 (the 23 stands for the weapons caliber, 23mm). Worthless against F-16 dropping bombs from 10,000ft, but a serious threat for an unwary Apache or Cobra attack helicopter. Then again due to the condition of the photo(s) I can not tell if the where shot yesterday or 20 years ago. Can anyone tell?

  • SEAS

    I’m having a heck of a time seeing how these images “damn” Hezbollah. While I understand the story line at play here (those cheeky Hezbollah fighters are refusing to play by the rules [not of course the "quaint" Geneva conventions, but the ones being announced in news articles that simply declare that these pictures damn Hezbollah because, apparently Bush has had to go to all the trouble of calling for an international force - and we know how busy he is and all - and Israel has had to call up 30,000 reserves]. So let’s see if I understand what I’m being told to believe: It’s simply awful that Hezbollah is not fighting fair for not using their AK47s and anti-aircraft only in open fields against US supplied jets and weaponry. It’s just ridiculous to think that people whose civilian neighborhoods are being targeted by the Israeli jets might appreciate someone in their neighborhoods with anti-aircraft guns (not exactly state of the art offensive weapons). It’s not OK for Hezbollah operate from civilian neighborhoods, but when the Israelis do it, well, I guess that’s smart tactics. It’s outrageous for Hezbollah to get all offended at Israel for responding to the kidnapping of of 2 Israeli soldiers, when how many thousands of Arabs have been held in Israeli jails for how many years without charge. It apparently is appropriate to indiscriminately bomb Lebanese civilians because they chose an elected government rather than just telling Hezbollah to “knock that shit off.” It’s shameful of Hezbollah to keep on fighting when the US has clearly said that a cease fire is “urgent” [not in any way intending to imply that one should be "immediate", merely within the next few weeks or months, if it wouldn't trouble Israel too much, and Hezbollah would be destroyed first]. I’m sure I’m missing some of the other important reasons that I should be simply SHOCKED by Hezbollah’s dogged resistance when Bush, Rice and western media have told me I should be. But aren’t these the same folks who told me about how much fun and how morally inspiring the little frolic in Iraq would be? As GW himself so sagely noted: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice . . uh . . . can’t fool me again.”

  • http://areyoudressed.blogspot.com momly

    after this first war of the 21st century [nice catch, bluegrass poet], the next war will be fought with knives and spears since we will have bombed the entire world back into the stone age.
    Seriously, where else is there to go? Peace doesn’t come out of any of this crap….

  • wiesseharre

    hOMELaNDSECURITYm’as

  • Andy Vance

    Such AA-gun in a Christian neighborhood does not mean: we are protecting you against Israeli air-raids, it means: we are here and we are the irresitable dominating faction
    Yeah, yeah, sure, sure.

    The stakes are high for Hizbullah, but it seems it can count on an unprecedented swell of public support that cuts across sectarian lines.According to a poll released by the Beirut Center for Research and Information, 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.

    They’re just saying that ’cause they have Ak-Ak guns pointed at their heads, see? Deep down they understand that they’re being bombed benevelolently.

  • ummabdulla

    Rafael, you can see more of the photos at the links provided in the BAG’s post. They can’t agree on where they were taken though; the captions at the news.com.au site say residential areas of southern Lebanon, while its text says “Wadi Chahrour in the east of Beirut”.

  • GeorgeF

    Yes, it is a rather “outdated” anti-aircraft gun, useless against F-16s, not really effective against Apaches – but extremely effective in civil wars! Remember Mogadishu, or even more the victory of the Taliban, based on pick-ups with heavy machine guns mounted on the back. And then take into account the situation in Lebanon: all militias had put down their weapons following the peace treaty ending the civil war, exept one – Hisbollah. Remember the civil demonstrations, when the Syrians had been forced to leave Syria, especially the follow-up demonstrations of masses of armed Hisbollah-men (in favour of Syria). Such AA-gun in a Christian neighborhood does not mean: we are protecting you against Israeli air-raids, it means: we are here and we are the irresitable dominating faction. Next to remember is that Hisbollah clearly is the hardest enemy to any democracy in Lebanon. They propagate the shia as the one and only rule. They are the prolonged arm of the Mullah-regime in Teheran, financed from there by a hundred million dollars per year. Nasrallah himself is a Mullah, waving a Kalashnikov and what is worse than “priests” in arms? Hisbollah shouts without any hesitance “Death to the Jews”, “eradicate Israel from the map”. There had been a Nuremberg trial, where the preparation and execution of a war of aggression was named a crime against humanity- the Nazi-initiators had been hanged. Hundreds of thousand of US-GIs died, to put down the aggressors . And now the Israelis have the dirty job at their hands to put down a group of cleric-fascists, who propagate a war, aimed at genocide and last but not least,against anything, what we may call humanity.
    To say a word about tactics. Having been a professional soldier in NATO I can say that all plans and training for the defense of Western Europe included the use of built-up areas as favourable defense positions. Built-up means without any doubt houses, living quarters, “civilian” areas. But there is some difference to that, what Hisbollah is doing. All NATO defense plannings begun with the evacuation of the expected battle areas. Hisbollah deliberately has done nothing like that, they even hindred civilians to leave those areas, which by Israeli information was announced of becoming targets. Hisbollah’s ideology calls every dead in the war against Israel a martyr, a “shahid”, a witness to the glory of faith. Therefore civilians killed in their war are martyrs as well, adding to the glory of the resistance.
    That Hisbollah neglects any laws of warfare, Geneva/Hague conventions has been shown by the Israeli raid on Baalbek: there a building had been marked as a hospital, which served for anything else but a hospital…

  • GeorgeF

    @ AndyVance
    If you search in the net – and there is a lot to find – you will see that Israel is not “bombing benevolently”. Aerial Pictures show clearly that just very few blocks in the Hisbollah main residential area have been destroyed (just 1% of Beirut). Attacks on Christian areas had been oly once: those trucks, which had been mistaken as rocket launchers – with no casualties.
    The destruction of the bridges north of Beirut had the aim to prevent Hisbollah reserves – in particular Rocket launching trucks – to move into Beirut from the North. It is part of the Hisbollah propaganda to talk of “area bombing”. If you compare the areal pctures of German cities in ‘44 or ‘45 as shown in “www.evidenceincamera.uk.org” with the airial pictures of Lebanon of today you might get an impression, what is the difference.
    Here there had been an interview with a Lebanese about the “polls” in Lebanon and the so called support to Hisbollah. There have been no regular polls at all! Do not forget, this is a war within the media.

  • Lisa

    Ummabdulla,
    Please stop the virulant anti-Israel lies. Israel is not using Arabs in the North as human shields anymore than they use Jews as human shields in the middle of the country or in South.
    Israel is a small country surrounded by countries who would like to see her destroyed. The density of her military installations is fairly high compared to the U.S. because of her tiny size. Take for instance, the base near Netanya. Israel is less than 10 miles wide at Netanya with a military base between Netanya and the West Bank. Next to this base, there is a moshave (a village)… in fact, my pets stayed there for several days when we first arrived in the country. This is a predominately Jewish area. Are these Jews human shields? No.
    Unlike Hezbollah who hides weapons in civilian homes, apartment buildings and schools, Israeli military bases have clear boundaries and all military equipment are stored/contained within except in an emergency. Unlike Hezbollah who wear street clothes so they can blend in with a civilian population, Israeli soldiers wear uniforms. Unlike Hezbollah who deliberately fires from within civilian populations and next to UN positions, the Israeli military keeps itself apart from her civilians as much as possible. Unlike Hezbollah, Israel has done her best to evacuate and provide protection for her citizens. Unlike Hezbollah, Israel has not randomly fired missiles hoping to take out as many as people (civilians/soldiers who cares); hell, it has only been a matter of luck and Israel’s strong civil defense (bomb shelters, et al) which have kept the number of Israeli deaths low. Unlike Hezbollah who glorifies in the death of Lebanese (martyrs) or Israeli (pigs) alike, Israel takes no joy in the death of anyone in this conflict.
    Why did Hezbollah have 12,000+ rockets, who is giving them these rockets and why?
    It’s not the occupation; Israel was long since completely withdrawn from Lebanon and Lebanon has a not insignificant army (not that they are allowed in the South by Hezbollah). I can’t imagine it is prisoners; Israel has only four Hezbollah prisoners (and if you are stupid enough to think Israel’s reaction is over just the caputre of her two soldiers, you have not been reading enough). Heck, a Lebanese tv show spoofed Hezbollah asking what it would take to disarm and the snarky response was about a Jew in Austria encroaching on her neighbor.. in other words, NOTHING Israel can do will cause Hezbollah to disarm except to roll over and die. Of course, this spoof resulted in a massive Hezbollah orchastrated riot and short term take over of the Beirut airport but who cares about that.
    Yes, it is a damn shame that civilians are dying in Lebanon but fingers should be pointed squarely at Hezbollah. They started this conflict by firing rockets at Israeli civilian targets just before they crossed the border. They have fought and hid among civilians. They have used civilian infrastructure to cache weapons. They are part of the Lebanese government, control a large portion of the country and declared war against a sovereign nation but Israel is the agressor?

  • Andy Vance

    There have been no regular polls at all!
    Oh, I forgot. Lebanese are too unsophisticated to participate in, much less design, a valid public opinion survey – especially one that comports to your worldview. My mistake.

  • http://www.searchformajorplagge.com MichaelDG

    Looking at the current situation I try to imagine the other’s point of view. For most Jews, the shadow of the Holocaust still frames their world outlook. Most Ashkenazi Jews find almost all the branches of their family trees coming to a sudden halt between 1941 and 1945. The Jewish survivors of the Holocaust promised themselves that “Never Again” would they allow themselves to be lulled into the kind of inaction which led to genocide. When the leader of Iran, or Hezbollah or Hamas or Al Quaida calls for Israel to be destroyed, the Israelis believe they mean it. Thus they react in a manner appropriate to an existential threat- with all the force at their disposal! From the Arab side of the conflict, their narrative starts after the Holocaust, with a violent war in 1948 that left thousands as refugees in squalid camps across the Middle East. Every Palestinian remembers the life that their family had before the birth of Israel, it surely was better than the squalor of refugee camps and the stateless status they have lived under for over fifty years. From their point of view, the Israelis have always been the oppressors and occupiers. The current generation of Arabs has no memory of the Holocaust, many (most?) doubt that it ever even occurred. They see only their corrupt governments, their poverty, their seeming powerlessness and the overwhelming fury with which Israel strikes at them in response to attacks by guerilla fighters that they may or may not support. Frankly I think that both the Jews and the Palestinians have had more than their share of suffering during the last century, I don’t think that looking back and counting bodies will give us any answers, although it does help us understand the origins of the current bloodletting.
    How about looking forward? Perhaps we can find a path by listening to the visions that the warring parties put forward regarding their dreams and aspirations. From the Israeli side several generations of politicians have signed on to the concept of a two state solution. It seems that the Israelis have shown they are willing to give up land for peace and indeed they loudly proclaim their dream of a time when they can live along side a Palestinian state, at peace with their neighbors.
    What about the opposing camp? We have seen Egypt and Jordan make peace and recognize Israel’s right to exist. Palestinian President Abbas has also expressed his willingness to negotiate and make peace with the Israelis. What about Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas? What is their vision of the future? So far I have only heard promises to eradicate Israel and remove the Jewish cancer from the Muslim body in the Middle East. What exactly do Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran have in mind for the 3.5 million Jews living these past sixty years in Israel? Perhaps some of the posters can show us some sign that the Jews are not facing existential enemies that promise the utter destruction of the Jews and their state.

  • SEAS

    Lisa,
    Ummabdulla cited (and provided a link to)a Johnathan Cook article regarding the Israeli use of human shields for their armaments. Perhaps that is who you should direct your complaint against virulent lies toward.

  • Mad_nVT

    Back in the Good Old Days, there were the Laws of War, the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Conventions and all sorts of laws about how to kill people and engage in mass murder.
    One of the intents was to establish a prohibition on deliberately attacking civilians. Other rules were in regard to making a declaration of war, the requirements to wear a distinctive uniform or badge, the treatment of prisoners of war, and the prohibition of taking hostages. Etc.
    Unfortunately President Bush the Decider has arbitrarily determined that the US doesn’t need to obey those rules. Further, both the US and Israel have refused to sign the treaty authorizing the International Criminal Court, which deals with the same issues.
    Now, Pandora’s Box has been opened. There was a reason that past leaders made the Laws of War, and we are now finding out why.
    To my way of thinking, the leaders of both Hezbollah and Israel are guilty of war crimes. Both sides have deliberately sought to indiscriminately slaughter civilians. May these leaders roast in Hell.
    Are Bush/Cheney guilty of war crimes? To be determined.
    So, yes, Pandora’s Box has been opened. And it is Ugly.
    Question: How many civil wars are being waged around the world right now?

  • jt from BC

    A smuggled scoop photo ? to you for Rupert’s The Herald Sun.
    Murdoch’s British media outlets generally support eurosceptic positions and generally show contempt for the European Union. Murdoch publications worldwide tend to adopt anti-French, pro-Israeli and pro-American views. During the buildup to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, all 175 Murdoch-owned newspapers worldwide editorialized in favour of the war.
    “My ventures in media are not as important to me as spreading my personal political beliefs” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Murdoch

  • Mad_nVT

    Somwhere up above, jtfromBC recommends having a look at Juan Cole’s site at http://www.juancole.com
    Excellent suggestion. Cole is offering a “theory” for our “consideration”, dated August 6.
    As with jtfromBC, Cole’s site was also the first place that I saw the BAG.

  • cfinstr

    Some balance from the Bag that at least points out what to many who do not seek the reflexive condemnation of Israel beleive. The islamic imperialist forces have always used human shields, generally civillians, and have also disguised their fighters as civillians so that others will believe that the dead men and youth in “street clothes” were innocent civillians caught in the cross-fire. No the fighters simply camoflauge themselves like the political movement disguised as a religion (islam) hides in many locations as something that it is not… a religion of peace.
    Thanks for offerring at least a potential opposite view.

  • http://ruinsofempire.blogspot.com/ Rafael

    A. The who started is a pointless exercise, as a friend of mine pointed out to me the other day, as far as the Israel and her neighbors are concerned. Its as some have sugested above, its a Chicken & Egg problem. I can match you (or anyone for that matter) cause belli for cause belli, going all the way back to when Moses parted the Red Sea. We could shout at each other until our faces turned red (or at least mine would turn a disagreable socialist pink, but no ones perfect!). That is one blind alley I am not going down to.
    B. The myth of an Israel surrounded by enemies is just that, a myth. Egypt made peace with Israel, the Kings of Jorand and Saudi Arabia may not have sign any treaties but they are not about to mess with Israel any time soon. Syria last chance came in 1973, and they came close, but failed. The IDF wiped the floor with the Syrian air defence network in 1982 and without a strong air force, you simply can not invade Israel and “wipe her of the map.” Iran is simply to far away, and if they ever develop nuclear weapons and are stupid (yes stupid) enough to use them against Israel, she is more than capable of returning the favor. Today’s Israel is not the plucky little country taking on all commers as in 45, 63 or 72, it is THE regional power in the Mid East, so much so that when Pentagon planners went looking for a simulated enemy to try to test “Transformation Warfare” the only country that could credibly challenge the U.S. was….Israel.
    C. I do not condone attacks on civilian targets by anyone, either Hezbollah or the IDF. However, in this exchange, it is the IDF who is coming out as the inept giant, trying to trample the enemies grapes of wrath (many of its own creation, but that is a post for another time) and instead it Hezbollah that comes off as the plucky resistance, one that plays dirty, yes, but considering the odds, one that has (apparently) no other options. Where are the vaunted Israeli security services and special forces? If it was about the captured soldiers, why launch an full aerial assault on the whole of Lebanon (specially Beirut) and wreck the fledging democracy to the North? It seems that days of Entebbe and Operation Yonatan are long gone.
    D. As for fighting in build up areas, yes, idealy you would want to evacuate civilians, but gosh darn it if the IDF just droped a span on that bridge connecting Tyre with Beirut. So no evacuation for grandma and the kids, their volvos and toyotas might be tough, but they don’t go cross country. And what happens if people can not or will not evacuate. Would NATO soldiers forced (West) Germans out of their homes at gun point? How would a Bundeswehr private feel when confronted by an elderly couple who refuses to leave their gathaus because the Russians where coming?
    Coventional armies need extensive road networks because of the huge amounts of supplies the consume everyday, but guerrillas don’t use them because they are predictable targets (they live and die by the horse, camel and mule and many an offroad vehicle). In many ways, a light infantry force like Hezbollah (or the Chicoms, NVA, Iraqi resistance and all) pushes/disperses it supplies foward, in small catches inside its operational areas. Fighters don’t drag long supply trains behind them, they move toward their supplies dumps which they have been building up for weeks, months, even years. And if one falls to the enemy, its ok, they will never manage to capture/destroy more than a fraction of Hezbollahs supplies at any one time, certainly not enough to cripple them let along starve them. So bombing roads, airports and bridges is not only useless, but counter productive. So is bombing fuel depots (Hezbollah probably uses a tenth of the fuel its IDF counterparts use and if hybrid trucks gain traction around the world, the great powers better watch out) and other parts of the Lebanese economic infrastructure. If the current goverment can not provide for its citizens, who do you think will fill the void? I think you all know the answer to that one.
    Simply put, the IDF and the Israeli cabinet screwed the pooch on this one. They thought that going into Southern Lebanon would be like raiding Gaza. They banked on been able to control the press coverage and any resistance would be swept away, quietly under the rug. But the IDF has been playing in the minors for too long. Hezbollah proved that they where ready for the big leagues.

  • GeorgeF

    @ Rafael
    Many good points. You are right, there is no sense in questioning for the hen & egg. And yes, the situation today is not comparable to 1956/ ‘67, ‘73. Egypt and Jordan have signed peace-treaties with Israel, Syria thoroughly avoids direct confrontation with Israel, Saudi Arabia (at least the ruling sheikhs) would hardly go into any war with Israel. But there is an aggressive force, threatening not only Israel (“Death to the Jews” etc. on their charta), but all the other (sunni) muslim states: It is the fundamentalism, which calls for cleric rule ad extinction of the Jews state.
    Yes, a conventional army is the wrong force to put down such fundamentalist movement, they can only been dried out by political means. But first of all, they must be disarmed. Who should and can do this job? Unarmed politicians? It is a bitter consequence that Israel has to take up a fight against an enemy, who is feared by most of her (arab) neighbors – even by the Syrian rulers, who give support to Hisbollah only to keep them away from Syria. I don’t believe that Hisbollah would be allowed to act in Syria as unhibited as they do in Lebanon.
    A word to the evacuation of civilians. You are questioning, whether the German army would have evacuated civilians at gun-point. Exactly this was our main concern: the question whether you can go into a war with a draftees army, if the soldier’s first job would be a “fight” or violence against the own population. The answer is a clear No! The situation in South-Lebanon seems to be different: Hisbollah has built up their ammunitionn depots and fired Katjushas from the villages since months and it was accepted by the civil population, be it volunterely or by fear against Hisbollah (who had shown no mercy to “traitors” at many occasions).
    Yes, the size of the attacks on Lebanon by the IDF may be questioned. What we can see, points out that most of the attacks are guided by permanent surveillance and once any rocket position is detected, IAF fighters in permanent air cover positions will attack. The problem is that these trucks with Katjushas need only minutes to take up their firing positions, deliver the rockets and disappear into the next bulidings (the IDF has published some material about in the net). It says that Hisbollah of course is using civilian houses for cover and reloading their rocket launchers. To the bombing of Beirut I already said that the attacks were aimed at the centres of Hisbollah’s activities (and we can be sure that Israel knew the “adresses”). There has been no “area bombing” at all.
    If we recapulate that this an extensive psycological war fought in the media, first we should accept that much of the reports we get from Lebanon are severely biased and exaggerated (yes also with the help from Western organizations and media). On the other hand I do understand the massive attacks by the IDF also as a strong warning to all arab states, what they have to expect, if they would accept something like Hisbollah acting within their boundaries. May be, it is an “over-reaction” from our point of view, but are we living in Israel?
    Last but not least: Israel is not the US and Hisbollah is not Saddam Hussein. I have argued strongly against the war in Iraq, but here we are facing an entirely different situation.

  • ummabdulla

    GeorgeF: “…here we are facing an entirely different situation.”
    Who’s “we”?

  • GeorgeF

    @ ummabdullah
    Aren’t the same fanatics operating already in many non-muslim coutries? 9/11 was planned in my hometown Hamburg. There is without any doubt an active islamist circle here. Remember the bombings in Madrid and London. Remember that Islamists planned in Frankfurt to plant a bomb at the Strassbourg christmas market. I am not weary about the 1.5 Million Muslim community in Germany, I am afraight about Islamists, who are influencing parts of the muslim society, to be seen at the “Honor-killings”, which happened repeatedly here, the growing wear of the Burqua – all this indications that Islamists are active in our neighborhood.

  • PTate in MN

    Propaganda is an attempt to change or influence attitudes. If we are going to discuss propaganda in these threads, we need to be clear as to who is telling the story, what the story is and how a given image is intended to influence the viewer to buy the story. Since this is war, we can be confident that both sides will use propaganda to communicate that 1) their enemy is terrible, bad, awful, evil, and 2) that their side is justified and will win.
    So in this context…
    1. Israel wants us to believe that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization powerful enough to threaten Israel’s very existence. Hezbollah needs to be stopped, and Israel is justified in using force. Israel’s propaganda, therefore, should 1) emphasize the threat and 2)their progress towards eliminating the threat.
    2. Hezbollah wants us to believe that they are the heroic underdogs defending Islam and the homeland against the Jewish perpetrators. Hezbollah’s propaganda, therefore, should 1) emphasize Israel as perpetrator/threat and 2) their strong resistence.
    In light of these two goals of propaganda, I view the first picture as confusing. It could be Hezbollah demonstrating that 2) they are able to resist evil Israel, or it could be Israeli propaganda suggesting 1) the Hezbollah threat.
    The second picture is less ambiguous–a single human standing in the midst of domestic wreckage. His posture is not defeated, just rather matter-of-fact. The image suggests to me that this is a Hezbollah-sympathetic picture suggesting 1) the Israeli evilness and 2) the resistence to that evilness.

  • ummabdulla

    But GeorgeF, Hezbollah has always concentrated on their own local issue; they’re not Al-Qaeda, they had nothing to do with 9/11 (in fact, they condemned it, didn’t they?), so I don’t see why someone in Germany would consider them a threat.
    (Although this latest war might help forge some connection between Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda, just like the war in Iraq created a connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda which never existed before.)
    I’m never sure exactly what “Islamist” means, since it’s used to mean many different things, but I don’t understand why a woman wearing a face veil (if that’s what you mean by “burqa”) is a threat to you, either. But even if you do consider her a threat, what does that have to do with Hezbollah and supporting Israel’s latest war? For one thing, those women who have their faces covered are most likely not Hezbollah, since Shia women almost never cover their faces…

  • Shaun

    Does it make any difference whether the photo is authentic or Israeli prop? Has anybody ever seen a picture of Hezbollah millitants operating in uniform? Don’t be rediculous. Of course Hezbollah is hiding behind civilians–it’s called ‘guerilla warfare’ which espouses “swimming among the fish” (i.e. ‘civilians’) as its entire M.O. BTW, isn’t Iran hiding behind the entire country of Lebanon?

  • jt from BC

    Fish, Fair or Foul, to whom it may concern, some extracts;
    “The new “security zone” will be exposed to guerilla attacks and the international force will not enter the area without the agreement of Hizbullah. And this guerilla force, Hizbullah, the Israeli army cannot vanquish…”
    “That is nothing to be ashamed of. Our army is in good – or, rather, bad – company. The term “guerilla” (“small war”) was coined in Spain, during the occupation of the country by Napoleon. Irregular bands of Spanish fighters attacked the occupiers and beat them. The same happened to the Russians in Afghanistan, to the French in Algeria, to the British in Palestine and a dozen other colonies, to the Americans in Vietnam, and is happening to them now in Iraq. Even assuming that Dan Halutz and Udi Adam are greater commanders than Napoleon and his marshals, they will not succeed where those failed.”
    http://zope.gush-
    shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1154197701

  • readytoblowagasket

    Lisa, I have to point my finger squarely at you for saying, “Yes, it is a damn shame that civilians are dying in Lebanon.”
    When you reveal your learned heartlessness by a dismissive remark about the Israeli-caused deaths of non-Jewish civilian bystanders, you’ve lost your argument utterly. When you make such statements on behalf of Jews, Jews have lost their argument utterly. End of story. I can’t express how appalling and reprehensible I have always found just such comments of yours. You make it sound like the Lebanese civilians deserved to die or died by supernatural forces, when in fact they died at the hands of Israelis. That fact must ultimately appall you as well, since you can never admit it is a fact.
    The genius of Jewish and Arab propaganda lies its ability to teach people how to be fucked up and heartless so that brutalities can be committed on behalf of the agendas of political operatives.
    The evil beauty of all propaganda is that people can’t see the propaganda they believe.
    Despite the brain-hijacking power of propaganda, it nonetheless amazes me that Hitler’s own methods and arguments are used today by the very peoples he sought to destroy. I can see parallels in intent in the images from the war in the Middle East and Nazi propaganda from the war years 1939-1945. Pick anything from this collection:
    http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/ww2era.htm#ww2
    This excerpt from a Nazi pamphlet describing for German citizens how to think about enemy propaganda makes my hair stand up because I hear Jews make some of the same points today, even in the comment threads on BnN promoting Israel’s “right to defend itself”:
    “In modern warfare, weapons, the economy, physical resources and organization play a role. So too do spirit and soul.
    A new and sinister weapon is used against a nation’s spiritual strength: Propaganda!
    Germany lost the World War of 1914-1918 because it did not recognize the danger of enemy propaganda. It collapsed spiritually.
    That may not and will not happen again!
    Enemy propaganda wants to break the German people’s will to resist by slanders, rumors, suspicions, and with political, military, or simply general lies.
    The methods of enemy propaganda include: leaflets, appeals, false pictures, atrocity stories, rumors, radio incitement and systematic complaining.”
    http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/feindpro.htm
    As for Israel’s national security fears, I think there is more wisdom contained in a former slave’s observations about “national security” than in all the academic degrees contained in this comment thread:
    “The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.”
    Frederick Douglass

  • GeorgeF

    @ ummabdullah
    No, Hisbollah was and is not concerned about “local” issues, they act and feel as the spearhed of Islamism, their aim is “Killing the Jews” not more – not less. Sheikh Nasrallah is already called the hero of the Arab world – because he and his Hisbollah withstands since 4 weeks the mighty IDF – abolishing all the shame of the lost wars against Israel. No, Hisbollah is aiming at the great end: Erase the State of Israel and become the dominating factor in all muslim countries, the only victorious faction.
    Your second question “what “islamist” means”: To put it simply, Islamism is the opposite to the basic idea of the US-constitution, the separation of religion and government (similarely to certain fundamentalist “Christians”). Islamism calls for the rule of the shia, the law as given by the quran, a law, which is not compatible with the most simple human rights: women are not equal to men, non-muslims are people of inferior rights (so called “dhimmies”), the quran has to be followed in alll aspects of life literally, to be explained by the religious leaders. Any idea of democracy – as far as we understand it since the American constitution and the French Revolution – is strange to “Islamism” – even more, the sign of Western decay. Therefore women wearing the veil or burqua are the expression of acceptance of the rules of the shia, uncompatible with any idea of the individual’s freedom. Here we recognize in certain islamic communities that the guaranteed individual rights are ignored within secluded circles. They claim the right to kill women for the sake of the families “honour” – f.e. if a woman of that family does not follow the will of her father or brothers to marry someone in far Turkey, if she wants to live like all other women in self-determination. This what is common to all fundamentalist Muslims.
    Of course there are differences between sunni and shiite muslims (and there are other factions as well). Of course Hisbollah is not alQuaida – we can see daily the war between the muslim factions producing dozens of dead daily in Iraq, but still they are all the same thread to our society.

  • jt from BC

    GeorgeF
    I noted your “the only victorious faction.” so I was wondering what opinion you might have about this article by Ira Chernus, a Jew who begins with “I am pro-Israel…I have close family living there, just a few miles from Lebanon, within easy rocket range”. http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0807-29.htm

  • GeorgeF

    @jtfromBC
    “victotious” is Hisbollah as long, as they somehow withstand the IDF’s attacks, survives a cease-fire. Just this makes them already by now the heroes of the islamists. Hamas has to accept the IDF moving straight into Gaza at will. In the Lebanon the IDF is “confined” to air-strikes and has penetrated only a few kms into the country – and the Katjushas are still raining on Israel. That is seen from the other side as the waekness of Israel: Other than in the campaigns of the IDF in Lebanon, when they easily moved up to Beirut, facing hardly any seriuos resistance, things now have changed.
    Hisbollah claims the withdrawal of the IDF from Lebanon in 2000 as the result of the successful attacks on the IDF – their “victory”, similarely as Hamas claims the withdrawal from Gaza and the dissolution of the settlements there as their “victory”.

  • jt from BC

    GeorgeF,
    So I can conclude that you read the article and maintain that the present strategy is the *only one* which will bring security to Israel. Further explanations are unnecessary a yes or no will fully answer my query.
    Shalom

  • ummabdulla

    George, you’ve got a lot of things confused… anyway, to the extent that Hezbollah are becoming heroes, they’ve become heroes to many Muslims and also to Arabs of various persuasions – Shia, Sunni, Christian, secular, communist, etc., and that’s why it’s seen as quite a significant change in attitudes. They’re part of Lebanese society and their only issue is Israeli occupation of Arab lands.
    As for your definition “Islamism calls for the rule of the shia”, does that mean that only Shias are “Islamists”?

  • Shaun

    Ummabdulla, you are such a third rate propagandist: “They’re part of Lebanese society and their only issue is Israeli occupation of Arab lands.” God that’s laughable. Hezbollah is a puppet proxy army of Syria and Iran, as you well know but would like to disguise for your own Muslim nationalist motives.
    Syria is the country occupying Lebanon, not Israel, as it has since the Lebanese Civil War. Syria uses thugs to run Iran’s missiles and guns in and drugs out of the Bekaa Valley and they bomb anybody who resists their ‘occupation’, just like they did to Hariri. None of the “moderate” Arab leaders ever complained about that until Syria and Iran baited Israel back; they only care about their oil coffers and protecting their little fascist monarchies. Its rather obvious that Iran is encouraging the Shiites and Sunnis to rip each other apart in Iraq and Assad is intentionally using Hezbollah to punish Lebanon for its legitimate resistance to Syrian occupation…so you can cut the pan-Arab bull-shit right now.
    GeorgeF, don’t concern yourself one iota with ummabdulla’s pretentious, unsupported claims: “you’ve got a lot of things confused…” She’s been unmasked: she’s not an Arab intellectual just trying to set the record straight, she’s a Muslim American with an agenda. Just because she lives in Kuwait doing God knows what she thinks she can dictate to everybody what is and isn’t true about Islam and the Middle East…She’s anything but impartial; what you have to realize about ummabdulla is that she herself is merely an ‘Islamist’ camouflaged with pseudo-intellectual rhetoric. Her intention in deconstructing such terms is solely that you can’t use them to describe Ahmadinejad/Iran/Hezbollah’s desire to kill all the Jews so that the “Hidden Imam” can come and start the Apocalypse…
    prohttp://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/4CC21D25-66EA-45BC-B627-168C47D936CF.htm

  • ummabdulla

    Oh, no… Shaun the Private Eye has unmasked me!
    Oh, wait – it was me who told you whatever you know about me anyway, and your reaction to me is based on whatever classification you’ve given me, instead of to what I actually say. But since I’ve also made it clear that I’m Sunni, why are you trying trying to associate me with Shia beliefs like the “Hidden Imam”?
    (It is amusing that you’re using Al Jazeera as a source, though. I’m not sure why, since it doesn’t mention anything about the “Hidden Imam” or the Apocalypse. But you should read Al Jazeera more often, instead of whatever it is that you have been reading.)
    In any case, you’re also confused, since you label me “pan-Arab” and “Islamist” at the same time. I won’t even bother with the rest of your diatribe.

  • jt from BC

    Shaun, you’ve yet to respond to previous challenges, perhaps you might wish to answer my query for GeorgeF, although I have no reason to believe hes incapable of thinking or speaking for himself maybe hes just busy with something else at the moment.
    GeorgeF, So I can conclude that you read the article and maintain that the present strategy (which GeorgeF espoused above)is the *only one* which will bring security to Israel” ?
    His rational seems to mesh with yours as I understand them.
    This should be easy its a yes or no response I’m primary looking for. http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0807-29.htm
    But if you would like to do a direct dialectical dissection of the practical observations and strategy offered by this scholar I would be delighted.

  • http://www.searchformajorplagge.com MichaelDG

    Hello JtfromBC
    I was reading your referenced article, but then came to the following line:
    “This summer’s conflict was set in motion when the elected political leaders of Hamas clearly signaled their willingness to accept Israel’s existence, start an immediate cease-fire, and then negotiate a lasting peace. Israel responded with a massive bombing campaign. The rest is tragic history”
    This is pretty recent history, so if my memory serves correctly, Palistinian President Abbas forced Hamas to indirectly acknowledge Israel’s right to exist by the threat of a referendum. When they agreed to his proposal, Abbas and Omert agreed to meet within two weeks to begin negotiations. Before that could happen, Hamas kidnapped an Israeli soldier, stepped up it’s rocket launches and provoked an Israeli military response. I’m not sure if this schizophrenic sequence was due to Hamas’ own internal divisions or due to Iran’s determination that there was too much progress being made in the direction of dialogue and peace. Certainly you can’t agree with this author’s assertion that Israel responded to this progress with massive bombing??

  • jtfromBC

    MichaelDG > Chernus dealt with the grand strategy but I’m pleased you picked up on this detail, here is some perspective;
    Israel Kidnaps Two Brothers
    Indymedia Eire – June 26, 2006
    In an overnight raid into the Gaza Strip the IDF have abducted two brothers. The Israelis claim that the brothers are members of Hamas. Hamas denies this and states that the two brothers are merely the sons of a Hamas member.
    The two captured men were brothers Osama and Mustafa Abu Muamar, sons of Hamas activist Ali Muamar.
    The raid started at 0330 in the village of Umm al-Nasser, near the Rafah refugee camp and only one kilometre from the Israeli border, Palestinian sources say. An eyewitness, Ali Muamar told Reuters news agency he awoke to see Israeli troops scaling down his wall.
    “They blindfolded and handcuffed me and started beating me up with the butts of their rifles and kicking me,” said Mr Muamar, who was treated in hospital for wounds.
    Mr Muamar said the soldiers seized his computer and left after about an hour.
    Palestinian Commandos in a daring raid on Israelis positions on Sunday, killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded five others. THey also captured an Israeli soldier, Cpl Gilad Shalit. Shalit is now being held as a POW.
    Three Palestinian Commandoes died in this action against the Israelis. The action was in response to the mass murder of Palestinian children by Israeli Forces. The Palestinian Commandoes showed they were true soldiers by attacking military targets.
    Meanwhile, families of some 9,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails demonstrated to demand that the militants holding Cpl Shalit trade him for the release of their relatives.
    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has threatened to murder the Palestinian President, Prime Minister and the PA Cabinet unless Shalit is released.
    I wonder if there will be any sanctions against Olmert for these remarks and threats? Don’t hold your breath.
    The hypocrisy of the Israelis is breath-taking. They kidnap two non-combatants, they hold thousands of Palestinian Soldiers in prisons, yet when one of their soldiers is captured, they threaten mass murder.
    Shalit is a POW and should be treated as such
    http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/article.asp?ID=4837
    Now would you like to respond to my query for GeorgeF and Shaun, ie the central theme of the Chernus article ?

  • http://www.searchformajorplagge.com MichaelDG

    jtfromBC
    It’s a late night staying up to watch the election returns, but I’ll try to say a few semi-coherant words. While I do support Israel for fighting Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah now before they are stronger and have more lethal weapons a few years from now, I disagree with their tactic of bombing throughout Lebanon and destroying infrastructure as well as the civilian casualties that this has resulted in. I think that the fledgeling democratic Lebanese goverment should be supported. Initially many Lebanese and many “moderate” Arab leaders blamed Hezbollah for this war, but Israel’s tactics seem to have compromised these forces and only caused more widespread support of Hezbollah. I believe that the Hezbollah are blood thirsty terrorists who along with their sponsors in Iran are looking forward to the day when they can carry out genocide in Israel. Israel, in it’s attempt to defend itself, has unfortunately succeeded only in recruiting more to the cause of the Islamists and strengthened the enemies hand. That being said, I still think that both Al Quaida and Hezbollah are mortal enemies of all liberal free loving people. The way to defeat them is by winning the hearts and minds of the majority of muslims in the countries that harbor them, and convince them to turn away from their fundamentalist, death loving, intolerant perversion of a major religion. How to do that, when there is such an deep divide in perception and outlook between the Western and Arab worlds remains a mystery to me.

  • jt from BC

    MichaelDG, thanks for your comments, we must not forget to credit Israels occupation of Lebanon in 1982 however for the creation of Hezbollah. Imagine what may have happened if we (USA and UK) hadn’t overthrown the first and only democratic government in Iran that of Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh in 1952, then installed the Shah as our “strongman”. Eventually unable to prop him up the Ayatollah Khomeini returned from France as a hero, the real power now rests with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei his successor.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Shaun, once again you spent nearly your entire comment venting your spleen at someone, this time ummabdulla, rather than contributing anything valuable to the discussion. If you think I’m exaggerating, take a look:
    1) “Ummabdulla, you are such a third rate propagandist”
    2) “as you well know but would like to disguise for your own Muslim nationalist motives”
    3) “you can cut the pan-Arab bull-shit right now”
    4) “ummabdulla’s pretentious, unsupported claims”
    5) “She’s been unmasked”
    6) “she’s a Muslim American with an agenda”
    7) “she lives in Kuwait doing God knows what” 8) “she thinks she can dictate to everybody”
    9) “She’s anything but impartial”
    10) “she herself is merely an ‘Islamist’ ”
    11) “Her intention in deconstructing such terms is solely that you can’t use them to describe Ahmadinejad/Iran/Hezbollah’s desire to kill all the Jews”
    You’re the pretentious bullshitter with an agenda who makes unsupported claims, thinks he can dictate to everybody, and is anything but impartial. You almost never analyze the images on this site, so your incessant frothing rants, baseless personal attacks, and slanderous misreads qualify you as a *troll.*
    Are you even capable of channeling your energies into a cogent and persuasive argument? Or are you just a spoiled rich kid with too much education and time on your hands working at a cushy job for a Republican firm?
    By the way, you live in the United States where there is freedom of religion. Might want to brush up on that amendment (hint: it’s the First).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_religion#United_States_of_America
    Also, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
    http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/eng.htm
    And Freedom of Religion in Israel (shocking but true, technically):
    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Society_&_Culture/freedom.html

  • ummabdulla
  • Shaun

    RTB, let me first say I (honestly) love it when you’re responses to me start with a haughty condemnation for “venting my spleen” and then end with a string of insults. I guess that’s supposed to be some kind of lesson or something? Hmmm, doesn’t that just feed the cycle of anger, RTB? I thought sophomoric, idealistic babies like you were bigger than that? I guess not. Feel the power of the dark side of the force RTB, I am your father…
    By the way, “You almost never analyze the images on this site” is not fair; I begin every post by addressing the image and then digress into petty debate over political context just like everybody else (please notice that your equally long rant mentions nothing of the images either)…
    Finally, I have no problem with Islam whatsoever, but I find the stated belief’s of Iran’s leaders that destroying Israel will lead to a new Muslim caliphate both insane and fascist. Any discriminating reader can tell that’s what I was railing against, not “Islam” per se. As for my gripe with ummabdulla, her propagandistic posts suggesting Israelis intentionally kill pregnant women and children, etc. (see most recent thread) are so obscene and offensive she is obviously a racist, hypocrite and religious nationalist. I will continue to attack her whether you approve or not. Finally, I’m neither rich nor Republican; you can take that up with you’re parents…

  • ummabdulla

    Shaun, you’re probably too young, but some of the others here might know what I’m talking about. Remember that Far Side cartoon that showed the owner talking to a pet, and then what the pet (Ginger) heard? That’s what I get out of your posts: “blah, blah, blah, ummabdulla, blah, blah, blah”.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Shaun, go ahead and attack whomever you like. I’ll ask Michael Shaw to ban you from the site if you do continue to indulge in abusive behavior. And I invite anyone else to ask you to be banned as well. Got that?

  • Shaun

    Look how quickly the tough kid runs to mommy after a little bloody nose…RTB, it’s nice to watch you implode and admit you can dish it out but you can’t take it. I don’t think calling ummabdulla a “third rate propagandist” or a “Muslim nationalist” constitutes “abusive” but thanks for the lesson in slave morality. By the way, weren’t you just lecturing about the 1st amendment? Should I send you the link?
    And I appreciate the threat to round up a lynch mob and have me dragged before the BAG for a show trial but I doubt he’ll take you seriously after just calling me a “pretentious bullshitter” a “troll” and a “spoiled rich kid.” Oh, did I start it? At least you’re finally identifying with Israel’s position: I lob a few little missiles at ummabdulla and suddenly you’re bombing me with ‘disproportionate’ insults, threatening to destroy me and calling for the UN…
    Oh, one last thing, RTB: “Despite the brain-hijacking power of propaganda, it nonetheless amazes me that Hitler’s own methods and arguments are used today by the very peoples he sought to destroy.” As long as we’re making rules, I’d like to ask the BAG to please ban anybody who compares Israel to the Nazis; it’s equal parts offensive and cliche and I highly suggest that’s where you draw the line please. Very classy, RTB.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Kisses, Shaun.

  • GeorgeF

    Dear ummabdullah, ou wrote: “They’re part of Lebanese society and their only issue is Israeli occupation of Arab lands.
    As for your definition “Islamism calls for the rule of the shia”, does that mean that only Shias are “Islamists”?”
    Let me state that Hisbollah is existing in Lebanon, but they are definitely no “part of Lebanese society”. Actually Hisbollah neglects demostatively the former tolerance of different groups in Lebanon. It is not their only issue to “liberate Israeli occupation og Arabs lands”. Israel has occupied a tiny piece of Arab land from Lebanon, the Shebaa farms, hardly a few acres. The issue is the Jews “occupation” of Palestine, i.e. the state of Israel.
    Please don’t mix up the islamic law, called the “shia” and the muslim faction called “shiites”. There arre sunni rules (like Sudan) executing the shia as well as shiite governments like Iran, who execute the shia as well. Si “Islamists” ar fundamentalistic and fanatic believers in a ruthless and absolutely intolerant Islam, racist in so far, as they propagate the extinction of all Jews. I would suggest that less than 5% of all Muslims in the world are “Islamists”. (Similarely as only a very small faction of the Jews are radical Orthodox – Kahane & Co, or only a faction of Christians belong to the fundamentalist “reborne” evangelicals).

  • ummabdulla

    Wow… let me try to explain again.
    GeorgeF: ‘Let me state that Hisbollah is existing in Lebanon, but they are definitely no “part of Lebanese society”. Actually Hisbollah neglects demostatively the former tolerance of different groups in Lebanon.’
    They certainly are part of Lebanese society. Even before this, they were popular among Lebanese Shias, who make up at least 1/3 of Lebanese (and probably more; Lebanon is afraid to actually have a census and find out), and they have elected members of Parliament and members of the Cabinet. Recent polls show that 80-90% of Lebanese support them; that obviously includes a lot of Sunnis, Christians, Communists, etc.
    GeorgeF: ‘It is not their only issue to “liberate Israeli occupation og Arabs lands”. Israel has occupied a tiny piece of Arab land from Lebanon, the Shebaa farms, hardly a few acres. The issue is the Jews “occupation” of Palestine, i.e. the state of Israel.’
    And Palestinians, of course, are Arabs. Israel is also occupying Syrian land in the Golan Heights; Syria is also an Arab country. (Not to mention that Israel occupied a large section of southern Lebanon for 18 years.)
    ‘Please don’t mix up the islamic law, called the “shia” and the muslim faction called “shiites”. There arre sunni rules (like Sudan) executing the shia as well as shiite governments like Iran, who execute the shia as well.’
    “Shia” is the same as “Shiite”; Shiite is what they’re called by Westerners, but Shia is an approximate transliteration of the word in Arabic.
    I believe that you mean “shariah” when you use “Shia” – no wonder I was having such a hard time understanding your points. “Shariah” is Islamic law, which could be “Shia/Shiite” or “Sunni”, depending on which teachings are followed.

  • GeorgeF

    Sorry fore, if there had been some misunderstandings, I regret, not to be a native English-speaker…
    But let me come back to the points: The Lebanon existed, because there had been a general agreement of tolerance between the different groups – before and after the civil war. Hisbollah neglects this kind of tolerance- that is why I rate them not as an integral part of the Lebanese society, but if so a destructive element whithin the Lebanese society.
    Next: “The only issue..” What does Hisbollah mean by saying “liberation of Palestine land”? Israel has pulled back from Lebanon in 2000, 6 years ago (except the Shebaa farms). Has Syria authorized to start a war for the Syrian Golan? As far as we can see, Syria is diligently avoiding to get involved directly into this war. No, “liberation of Palestine” means nothing but cleansing all land between Jordan and the Mediterranian form the Jews. This is not “liberation”, this is the quest for a war of aggression and genozide, an aim which has been clearly marked as a crime against humanity and manhood already in Nuremberg 1947. And has become part of the general understanding of the UN.
    I do not see any reason to call Hisbollah anything else but a dangerous militant organization, comparable to the Nazi-party. The latter also started as part of the German society, convinced the Germans by extensive welfare programmes and extinction of unemployment. Just remember, how many dead id had cost, to put them down. Remember, which grand mistake it was to underestimate the threat they imopsed on manhood.

  • ummabdulla

    I do understand that English isn’t your first language, and I hope it didn’t seem like I was being rude about that; I wouldn’t want to make you feel unwelcome because of that. But I’ll still disagree with you…

  • GeorgeF

    @ ummabdullah
    The point about the language was st an excuse from my side.
    OK then – which are your arguments against mine?

  • GeorgeF

    @ ummabdullah
    The point about the language was just an excuse from my side.
    OK then – which are your arguments against mine?

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