31 July, 2006

Mideast Crisis Tracker :: WSJ.com

Updated regularly with news on the Israel-Hezbollah-Lebanon crisis. All times ET. .

A useful free link for keeping up with these events hour by hour. (Earlier weeks are premium content for WSJ subscribers only.)

Here's something I had missed from July 25th:

11:25 a.m.: U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland accused Hezbollah of "cowardly blending" among Lebanese civilians and causing the deaths of hundreds during two weeks of cross-border violence with Israel.
That tactic, though, seems to be working to Hezbollah's advantage.

Here's a question: Are these citizens open to the blending or not? If they are, then the blending is not cowardly and the citizens are not citizens. If the citizens are not open to the blending, then the blending is cowardly. Or am I missing something?

Even if it is cowardly, it still could be just if the cause is just and adopting aymmetric tactics is the best way to win.

Big Pharoah points out that there are plenty of open spaces for Hezbollah to locate its forces and weapons if it chooses. It hasn't. Following the link to BP and his commenters will also lead you to the case that conservative bloggers are making that it is a Hezbollah tactic to blend with civilians.


nzm said...

I agree with what you debate here, John re the blending in of Hezbollah, be it with or without the blessing of the civilians.

But take a look at this map on Grapeshisha's blog. Based upon the info on this map being accurate, I ask, if Hezbollah are in South Lebanon as we've been told they are, then why is the IDF firing into and attacking central Lebanon?

Has Hezbollah moved and this isn't being reported? What has Hezbollah got to do with the airport, power plants, the UN, and major roads that are being targeted?

Brn said...


Here is a report of Hezbollah using a residential area in the "Christian area of Wadi Chahrour in the east of Beirut", so if this is accurate (and I'm not vouching for it, but it seems reputible on first glance), then they do seem to have moved into other areas.

I heard a report on one of the Western media (I don't remember which one, but it would have to have been either the BBC or one of the American networks) that the IDF is bombing roads to prevent Syria and Iran from sending more missles. Again, take that for what it is worth.

Brn said...

oh, about the UN attack: I also have seen reported in several places (see here for one example) that "A retired Canadian general who said he knew the dead U.N. observer from Canada told CBC Toronto he believes Hezbollah used the observers "as shields." Major General Lewis MacKenzie said he received an email from the Canadian observer [that was killed in the attack] days earlier indicating that "Hezbollah fighters were all over his position."

nzm said...

Thanks Brn.

Sobering reading.

I wonder why it is that they seem to use the words of dead soldiers/people in these reports!

Here are a couple of articles that I found tonight which link it all to - oil! But they make for interesting reading especially the article by Greg Palast and his questions around why the supporters of Hamas (Saudi Arabia), Hezbollah (Iran) and Israel (USA) aren't being made more accountable here. It echos some conversations that I've been having with other bloggers around the fact that there's no money to be made from peace.

Blood in Beirut

The War on Lebanon

Brn said...


Those are very interesting articles. I had not thought of things in those terms. I am a little skeptical of those kinds of "this one theory explains everything" explanations. Life is more complicated than that, but there may be something to what the authors say.

I also am a little confused as to the first author's assertion that the US government wants high oil prices, especially since there is an election coming up his year. High oil prices put a drag on the US economy and aggravate the public.

I don't know if you saw this article in the Guardian, but in it a Hezbollah fighter says that "[they] expect the site of a rocket launch to be hit by an Israeli airstrike or shell within 10 to 15 minutes". This would seem to back up Egeland's and BP's assertions that Hezbollah knows that they are endangering civilians.

He also says "The real battle is after the end of this war. We will have to settle score with the Lebanese politicians. We also have the best security and intelligence apparatus in this country, and we can reach any of those people who are speaking against us now. Let's finish with the Israelis and then we will settle scores later."

Seabee said...

I'm not excusing it but it's the nature of guerrilla war/resistance groups/freedom fighters/insurgents/terrorists - what they're called depends whether they're on your side or against you. The whole point is that they're 'farmers by day, fighters by night' as the Americans complained of the Viet Kong.

What has always amazed me is that the US still doesn't get it - yet they gained their independence from the UK by exactly those methods - a guerrilla army of citizens beating the then greatest power in the world. When their opponents use the same methods they cry foul.

By the way, the Americans were terrorists weren't they - an armed uprising against the government. Or were they freedom fighters?

Brn said...

Actually, it is a myth that the Americans beat the British by fighting a guerrilla war. The Continental Army (the American rebels) didn't begin to beat the British until after a Prussian (Von Stueben, if I remember correctly) joined Washington's staff and trained them to fight like the Europeans.

Also, I don't think that what people are criticizing Hezbollah for is not for being 'farmers by day, fighters by night', but for using civilian areas to attack from in the hopes that when the Israelis react, then the Israelis will kill civilians.

bandicoot said...

This fighter-civilian “blending” is mostly used as a red herring to demonize groups and people and justify unacceptable violent behavior of states. It’s naïve to assume that guerrilla groups and militias would just camp in the open or separate themselves completely fro their natural social extensions. So a degree of blending is inevitable. Yet it’s also remarkable that in all the press coverage of the conflict for three weeks now hardly any fighters from HA were seen. I’m not how authentic the picture of the anti-aircraft gunners is; something about it doesn’t look right. But in any case, the most extreme blending of army and civilians actually happens in Israel. Every Israel able male and female is by reasons of mandatory service a member of the armed forces, either in active duty or in the reserve. Now isn’t this a constant and clear case of blending? Does this mean that every Israeli home is a legitimate target? And doesn’t the IDF use Israeli roads, bridges, trains, ports, airports, fuel stations, etc. to move and supply its soldiers? So, are these also legitimate targets? Or does the blending theory apply only to the act of firing? In that case one can ask, are all the targets Israel hit were attacked only because of this? Clearly that is not the case. The “blending” theory cuts both ways and apparently it cuts much deeper and more damningly in the case of Israel. And I’m sure it won’t be that difficult to find people on both sides who are sick and tired of their leaders and armies. This whole perspective presenting Israel as somewhat more ethical and the other side as “hiding behind civilians” is indeed very dumb and unconvincing.

Post a Comment

NOTE: By making a post/comment on this blog you agree that you are solely responsible for its content and that you are up to date on the laws of the country you are posting from and that your post/comment abides by them.

To read the rules click here

If you would like to post content on this blog click here