Countdown to Conflict

Countdown to Conflict
By Olivier Guitta
FrontPageMagazine.com | November 22, 2006

In the wake of this summer’s bloody, 33-day war between Hezbollah and Israel, most analysts predicted that the region would never be the same. In fact, they asserted that with UN Resolution 1701, Hezbollah would be disarmed and expelled from its redoubt in southern Lebanon. This in turn would give effective control of the region to the Lebanese Army, while a UNIFIL force 15,000-men strong would secure the cease-fire and put an end to the armed conflict.But the present reality is far from this rosy picture. Indeed, one can make the case that this summer’s hostilities have achieved little and that another war will resume in the near future.

A few prescient facts confirm this grim assessment. First, there is the anti-Israel composition of the Lebanese army. Forty percent of the 60,000-strong Lebanese army is composed of Shiite soldiers, many whom are extremely favorable to Hezbollah. There are also thousands of ex-Syrian troops, who joined the Lebanese Army when Syria “officially” left Lebanon last year, just before the Syrian withdrawal, when thousands of Syrian soldiers were naturalized and incorporated into the ranks of the army.

UNIFIL is scarcely an improvement. On the contrary, it is a disaster in waiting. Initially intended to number 15,000 soldiers, it is barely reaching 5,700. At the same time, countries like France are balking at sending additional troops to bolster the promised numbers. Understaffed and guided by an unclear mandate, UNIFIL troops are unwilling to tame Hezbollah. Proof for this proposition comes from a recent episode, wherein Spanish troops stood down at the mere sight of Hezbollah fighters. One of the Spanish patrol leaders explained that UNIFIL’s role was only to “observe changes in behavior of the local population.”

On top of that, no UNIFIL patrols are carried out at night, for safety reasons. UN soldiers, feeling that they are increasingly viewed by the local population as an occupation force, are more interested in leaving than confronting Hezbollah: they are clearly worried about potential Hezbollah terror attacks. Such an attack would mirror the terrorist group’s October 1983 bombing, which killed 241 U.S. troops and 58 French troops. A few months later, multinational forces were gone. This time, the strategy appears to be preemptive retreat: A European diplomat was recently quoted as saying that, after an attack on UNIFIL, international forces would be gone within three days.

To sum up the situation: the Lebanese Army is watching UNIFIL watching Hezbollah. Thus it is far from surprising that Hezbollah is fast rearming through Syria, right under the nose of UNIFIL troops and the Lebanese Army, a fact confirmed by U.N. Special envoy Terje Roed-Larsen. But while UNIFIL does not seem particularly concerned with Hezbollah’s buildup, it is focusing on Israel’s violations of Lebanese airspace. Significantly, however, these incursions occur because Israel is compelled to fulfill UNIFIL’s mandate, which is to arrest — and not simply to observe — Hezbollah’s rearmament. France in particular has threatened to punish Israel while permitting Hezbollah to operate with impunity.

No one should be surprised that even French President Chirac is now counting on a maximum of four to five months of calm for the region. A likely scenario includes Hezbollah again controlling South Lebanon and launching attacks against Israel. This could be accelerated if Syria succeeds in igniting a civil war by pushing Hezbollah and its Shiite allies, including Christian General Aoun, towards a major confrontation with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and the March 14 Forces, a coalition of political parties headed by Saad Hariri, the son of Lebanon’s assassinated prime minister Rafik Hariri. The recent resignation of Shiite ministers from the Siniora government is the first sign of this process. In the worst-case scenario, the chaos could reach Western shores if Hezbollah decides, on the orders of Iran, to start a terror campaign in the West or against Western targets, as it did in France in 1986.

In the meantime, one thing seems clear. This summer’s Israel-Hezbollah standoff marked not the end of a conflict but the beginning of a broader war that seems likely to reignite before long.

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Let Me Get This Straight….

Let Me Get This Straight….
By Irwin N. Graulich

Let me get this straight. You allow one of the largest terrorist organizations in the world to set up shop throughout your country.  You permit them to completely take over the entire southern third of your country and you claim to have seen nothing.

You allow the terrorists to build sophisticated, fortified bunkers and you did not see any heavy equipment building them. You allow the Hezbollah terrorists to move into many of your towns and villages, including the complete takeover of one of the largest neighborhoods in Beirut, where they proceed to build numerous, complex command and control centers … and you claim ignorance.

You allow the terrorists to store weapons, bombs and rockets in your basements. You turn a blind’s eye when they carry arms into your restaurants, stores and buildings. Yet you call yourself an “innocent civilian.”

You sleep with dogs, you wake up with fleas. You sleep with missiles, you wake up dead.

You watch the parades with hundreds of thousands of participants including children screaming, “Jihad. Death to Israel, Jews and Americans,” burning American and Israeli flags. Goose-stepping soldiers with Nazi-like salutes receive your cheers–and all of you “innocent civilians” did not see a thing (even though you were captured on videotape).

There are giant posters of the rubenesque terrorist leader, Hasan Nasrallah, all over Lebanon with headlines declaring the imminent destruction of Israel. Yet you choose to elect this terrorist party to your government–and all of the so called “innocent Lebanese” do not know anything about anything.

Twenty thousand rockets and launchers are shipped into your country along with other military equipment by plane, truck and ship, and the government industrial complex knew absolutely nothing; and neither did all those “poor, innocent civilians” who are now crying.

The Lebanese “knowingly allowed (aka aided and abetted)” murderous terrorists to proliferate in their sovereign nation. Like spoiled teenagers, they now refuse to take any responsibility. Of course there are some truly innocent civilians, but there were hundreds of thousands of beautiful German babies and mothers in Dresden and Berlin who were blown to bits. If an attack emanates from your country, the entire country is responsible. That is how life works.  Sometimes it is unfair.

I hate when people lie to my face and expect me to believe their vile fabrications. Does the Muslim world really think that the vast majority of Americans are that foolish? Only the quislings at CNN like Larry King, Nic Robertson, Wolf Blitzer, et al will fall for this Joseph Goebbels-style propaganda.

The confused, immoral left and their paper of record, The New York Times only see “innocent civilians throughout Lebanon.” Europe, that moral bastion which gave birth to Nazism, will look at photos of men, women and children in despair, without putting the image into its proper context. Yet countries like Sweden, Switzerland and Ireland, who could not decide whether to support Hitler or Churchill during WWII, can drum up the moral authority to criticize Israel today. And leave it to Vichy, France 2006 headed by Jaques “Petain” Chirac to condemn Israel’s response.

Seeing television snippets of wounded or dead Lebanese with people sitting on the ground crying and calling them all “innocent civilians” is the same as looking at a photograph of the armpit of Christie Brinkley and saying, “Here is the photo of a supermodel.  Isn’t she beautiful?” The armpit picture is only a part of the story. When human beings see babies or mothers hurting, no matter what, we feel the pain. If we saw baby pictures of Charles Manson, we would want to cuddle him.

We cannot look at photos of so-called “innocent civilians” in a vacuum. It is important for all “moral, decent” human beings to realize that the compassion emotion is similar to the sex emotion.  Often times, it interferes with truth, logic and morality.

Listen up, all you “Innocent Lebanese along with your innocent, Hezbollah supporting government.” Do you want to know why your towns, villages and cities are smoldering? Do you want to know why 800,000 people are homeless and 600 are dead? Do you want to know why your infrastructure is devastated?

The answer is: “The Jews are simply not going to pack up their little valises and walk into gas chambers again. The Jews will not be taken from their homes and marched into the Mediterranean Sea by Nazis or Hezbollah-Hamas-Syrian-Iranian, Nazi-like sympathizers.

The Jews in Israel or anywhere else are just not going to allow themselves to be shipped away like you dream about every day.  Attention all radical Muslims throughout the entire world and Jacques Chirac. The Jews will not be walking into death camps or graves ever again, and if you dare try it, Qana, Tyre, Nabatiyeh, Bint Jbeil, Kounine, Beit Yahoun, Rashaya, Baalbek, Majdel Zoun, Ayt-a-Shab, etc. will all look a whole lot worse than Dresden and Berlin. And Beirut may in the end become hotter than Hiroshima.

Attention Lebanon–your country is smoldering because Jews are sick and tired of being murdered. You keep pushing those pathetic, weak, Torah studying Jews by using terrorism and kidnapping soldiers and all, yes all, of Lebanon will be smoldering.

I urge any person that will be having dinner with Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, the big fat brave man hiding in his little rat-hole while his fighters are being picked off like little olives on a tree, to make sure his life insurance is fully paid.

Nasrallah is just a pimp for Iran, sending out his Hezbollah terrorist hookers to “screw the Jews.” The amazing thing is that Iran is not an Arab country. They should not be involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict. They do not border Israel, so there is no Iranian territorial dispute where they claim, like everyone else, that Israel occupies their land. Yet, Ahmadinejad’s (pronounced–“a mad dog on Jihad”) hatred for Jews and Israel rivals that of Adolf  Hitler.

It is no wonder that the Iranian president feels this way. Israel is supreme in virtually every area–technically, militarily, scientifically, culturally, morally and religiously. Each attempt by macho Muslim/Arab countries to destroy Israel has been met with a totally devastating, humiliating defeat. Like Saddam, the skinny little Ahmadinejad aspires to be the big hero of the Muslim world.

Ahmadinejad should not be deluded into thinking that he will get off as lightly as the Lebanese. He does not comprehend is that Israel will not use a tongue depressor when they capture him and his associates. Should Iran dare make one wrong move on Israel, Israel will simply “Beat the Shiite out of them!”

Irwin N. Graulich is a well known motivational speaker on morality, ethics, religion and politics. He is also President and CEO of a leading  marketing, branding and communications company in New York  City. He can be reached at irwin.graulich@verizon.net.

Dark Ages, Live from the Middle East

Dark Ages, Live from the Middle East
By Victor Davis Hanson
The Washington Times | October 30, 2006

The most frightening aspect of the present war is how easily our premodern enemies from the Middle East have brought a stunned postmodern world back into the Dark Ages.Students of history are sickened when they read of the long-ago, gruesome practice of beheading. How brutal were those societies that chopped off the heads of Cicero, Sir Thomas More and Marie Antoinette. And how lucky we thought we were to have evolved from such elemental barbarity.

Twenty-four hundred years ago, Socrates was executed for unpopular speech. The 18th-century European Enlightenment gave people freedom to express views formerly censored by clerics and the state. Just imagine what life was like once upon a time when no one could write music, compose fiction or paint without court or church approval?

Over 400 years before the birth of Christ, ancient Greek literary characters, from Lysistrata to Antigone, reflected the struggle for sexual equality. The subsequent notion that women could vote, divorce, dress or marry as they pleased was a millennia-long struggle.

It is almost surreal now to read about the elemental hatred of Jews in the Spanish Inquisition, 19th-century Russian pogroms or the Holocaust. Yet here we are revisiting the old horrors of the savage past.

Beheading? As we saw with Nick Berg and Daniel Pearl, our Neanderthal enemies in the Middle East have resurrected that ancient barbarity — and married it with 21st-century technology to beam the resulting gore instantaneously onto our computer screens. Xerxes and Attila, who stuck their victims’ heads on poles for public display, would’ve been thrilled by such a gruesome show.

Who would have thought centuries after the Enlightenment that sophisticated Europeans — in fear of radical Islamists — would be afraid to write a novel, put on an opera, draw a cartoon, film a documentary or have their pope discuss comparative theology?

The astonishing fact is not just that millions of women worldwide in 2006 are still veiled from head-to-toe, trapped in arranged marriages, subject to polygamy, honor killings and forced circumcision, or lack the right to vote or appear alone in public. What is more baffling is that in the West, liberal Europeans are often wary of protecting female citizens from the excesses of Shariah law — sometimes even fearful of asking women to unveil their faces for purposes of simple identification and official conversation.

Who these days is shocked that Israel is hated by Arab nations and threatened with annihilation by radical Iran? Instead, the surprise is that even in places like Paris or Seattle, Jews are singled out and killed for the apparent crime of being Jewish.

Since September 11, 2001, the West has fought enemies who are determined to bring back the nightmarish world we thought was long past. And there are lessons Westerners can learn from radical Islamists’ ghastly efforts.

• First, the Western liberal tradition is fragile and can still disappear. Just because we have sophisticated cell phones, CAT scanners and jets does not ensure we are permanently civilized or safe. Technology used by the civilized for positive purposes can easily be manipulated by barbarians for destruction.

• Second, the Enlightenment is not always lost on the battlefield. It can be surrendered through either fear or indifference as well. Westerners fearful of terrorist reprisals themselves shut down a production of a Mozart opera in Berlin deemed offensive to Muslims. Few came to the aid of a Salman Rushdie or Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh when their unpopular expression earned death threats from Islamists. Van Gogh, of course, was ultimately killed.

The Goths and Vandals did not sack Rome solely through the power of their hordes; they also relied on the paralysis of Roman elites who no longer knew what it was to be Roman — much less whether it was any better than the alternative.

• Third, civilization is forfeited with a whimper, not a bang. Insidiously, we have allowed radical Islamists to redefine the primordial into the not-so-bad. Perhaps women in head-to-toe burkas in Europe prefer them? Maybe that crass German opera was just too over the top after all? Aren’t both parties equally to blame in the Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghan wars?

To grasp the flavor of our own Civil War, impersonators now don period dress and reconstruct the battles of Shiloh or Gettysburg. But we need no so such historical re-enactment of the Dark Ages. You see, they are back with us — live almost daily from the Middle East.

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Hizballah Leader Calls for Massive Street Protests

Hizballah Leader Calls for Massive Street Protests

(CNSNews.com) – Hiballah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday called for street protests aimed at toppling Lebanon’s “illegitimate and unconstitutional” government, which is controlled by Washington, the New York Times reported. The report also quoted Nasrallah as saying that he is not doing the bidding of Iran or Syria, but he did accuse the Lebanese government of being a U.S. puppet. In a pre-recorded speech broadcast on Hizballah’s Al-Manar television station on Sunday, Nasrallah told his followers to prepare for massive anti-government protests, but he said those protests should be peaceful. “We do not want riots… We respect private and public properties. We will not allow any clash,” he said. Nasrallah’s speech comes at a time when Washington, which backs the government of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, has warned that Hizballah, backed by Iran and Syria, wants to bring down the Lebanese government. Nasrallah said no one was “making a coup or popular revolution.” He said Hizballah wants to “liberate” Lebanon from the “hegemony” of the U.S. government, and he called Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice a “bloodsucker.” Middle East expert Dr. Walid Phares told CNSNews.com last week that Hizballah was making preparations to topple the Lebanese government. Iran, Hizballah’s backer, wants to be in control of the country before Iran announces that it has completed its nuclear fuel cycle, Phares said.