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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Report: Hizballah War Losses - 1,500 Men (Libanoscopie-French)
- August 17, 2006
Issue of the Week:
The Ceasefire - Will It Hold? Or Is It Only Halftime?
Turkey Grounds Iranian Planes for Weapons Search (AFP/ABS-CBN-Philippines)
Islamist Preacher Qaradawi Calls for Jihad Against Israel (Middle East Online-UK)
Italian Foreign Minister Criticizes for Stroll with Hizballah Minister (AKI-Italy)
Dollars and Diplomacy: Foreign Aid and the Palestinian Question - Scott Lasensky and Robert Grace (U.S. Institute of Peace)
Norway: Imports from Israel Double Despite Boycott Calls (Aftenposten-Norway)
West Bank Jewish Population Tops 260,000 - Etgar Lefkovits (Jerusalem Post)
Israeli, Lebanese, Palestinian, Iranian Scientists Unite to Fight AIDS (AFP/Khaleej Times-Dubai, 15Aug06)
Anti-Israel Bias in the European Parliament and Other EU Institutions - Interview with Rijk van Dam by Manfred Gerstenfeld (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Israel's Losses in the War with Hizballah (Israel Project)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Lebanese government soldiers began crossing the Litani River at dawn Thursday in a deployment that was more about symbolism than security. The reality on the ground is a kind of murky backroom deal in which Hizballah takes its weapons off the street and the army will not look too hard for them, if at all. "There will be no confrontation between the army and the brothers in Hizballah," said Ghazi Aridi, the Lebanese information minister.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said "the [UN] resolution clearly calls for the creation of a Hizballah-free zone south of the Litani River and anything less would mean the resolution is not being implemented." (New York Times)
France is considering providing only a symbolic force for the UN contingent in Lebanon, and not the thousands of troops UN officials had expected, Le Monde reported Thursday. Such a move could seriously delay the UN mission or even scupper the operation. Le Monde reported that France wanted to send just a dozen officers and 200 personnel from an engineering division for the beefed-up UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Many diplomats had expected France to provide at least 2,000 men. (Reuters/Washington Post)
See also UN Gets Tentative Pledges of 3,500 Troops, Sets Rules of Engagement
The UN got pledges of 3,500 troops for an expanded UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, but it was unclear whether the soldiers represented the right mix of countries and units and could deploy very quickly. Bangladesh offered 2,000 troops. "Very much the issue is under what circumstances our troops have to engage in hostile offensive activities," said UN Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown. "If (small groups) do not voluntarily disarm when confronted by our troops and if they try to forcefully resist disarmament we will indeed employ force ourselves to disarm them," he said. "The role of this force is not large-scale disarmament of Hizballah, but rather policing a political agreement where the Lebanese government and Hizballah have agreed to disarm," Malloch Brown said. (AP/AFP/Naharnet-Lebanon)
Detained terror suspects told interrogators that al-Qaeda no. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri probably authorized the plot to blow up planes from Britain to the U.S., a senior Pakistani intelligence agent said Thursday. Pakistani intelligence officials said the would-be plane bombers wanted to carry out a large, al-Qaeda-style coordinated attack to mark the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S. At least seven suspects were arrested in Pakistan, including British national Rashid Rauf, who Pakistani authorities say had been in contact with al-Qaeda figures in Pakistan and Afghanistan to prepare for the attacks. (AP/Guardian-UK)
See also UK Police Find Bomb Kit
Police probing a plot to bring down flights have found a suitcase containing items which could be used to construct a bomb. A police source said the case contained "everything you would need to make an improvised device." (BBC News)
See also Islamic Missionary Group Links Plotters - Sean O'Neill and Roger Boyes
Central figures in the terrorism cell that police say was planning to blow up transatlantic airliners are followers of Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic missionary group that rejects secular society and advocates strict adherence to an Islamic dress code and lifestyle. The European headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat, which was formed in India in 1927, are in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, where it has a 4,000-capacity mosque. Mohammed Sidique Khan, the ringleader of the 7/7 suicide bombers, lived in Dewsbury and attended the Tabligh mosque. (Times-UK)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed to stand by the country's nuclear work, insisting the UN Security Council cannot deprive Iran of its "rights," the Iranian state news agency IRNA reported. (AFP/Yahoo)
The Israeli government, Jewish groups, and Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe on Thursday condemned Iran's International Holocaust Cartoon Contest, accusing Tehran of spreading hatred and trivializing the murder of six million Jews. Israeli government spokesman Gideon Meir called on the international community "to express disgust from such an anti-Semitic and inhuman event." Yosef Lapid, chairman of the council of the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, said: "The exhibit not only is horrific propaganda that supports Holocaust denial, it also paves the road to justifying genocide of the Jews in Israel." (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
While for the first time in 30 years the Lebanese Army deployed south of the Litani River on Thursday, the army has no plans to drive Hizballah out of the south or to confront it. Lebanon's president and commander in chief of the army, Emile Lahoud, made it clear on Wednesday that Hizballah would not be disarmed, not even in the area south of the Litani River. Hizballah men may not carry their arms openly, but they could rebuild their bunkers and fill them up with rockets in preparation for the next confrontation with Israel.
UN Security Council Resolution 1701, passed a week ago, is already on the path to becoming meaningless. While the Americans are declaring that the new forces in southern Lebanon will not allow Hizballah to resume their positions along the border, Nasrallah's forces are patrolling without hindrance in the villages of southern Lebanon, recording Israel Defense Forces activities, and giving interviews, while armed, to Arab television stations. (Ha'aretz)
Palestinian terror cells operating in the West Bank and Gaza in conjunction with Hizballah are under orders to escalate their attacks against Israel, a high-ranking IDF officer has said. On Sunday, Palestinians in Gaza fired two Grad-type Katyusha rockets at Israel. Since the cease-fire went into effect in the north, there has been an increase in the number of Kassam rockets fired by Palestinians at Israel. On Thursday, several IDF jeeps were attacked by Palestinian terrorists as they patrolled the Gaza security fence.
"There is an effort to step up attacks within the Palestinian territories now that there is a cease-fire in the north," the high-ranking officer said. "Hizballah is trying to activate their cells in Gaza and the West Bank and to ensure that Israel is still under attack." (Jerusalem Post)
Two Hamas members were killed and a third mortally wounded by an explosion Friday in Dir Abu Daif in the Jenin area of the northern West Bank. Palestinian sources say the blast apparently resulted from a "work accident," as one Hamas member accidentally set off an explosives belt he was wearing. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Disarming Hizballah in Lebanon
Whatever wriggle room the precise wording of UN Resolution 1701 may contain, its thrust is clear: to prevent the resumption of hostilities by neutralizing the Hizballah threat. UNIFIL is specifically charged to take all necessary action to ensure that the area south of the Litani "is not utilized for hostile activities of any kind." The demilitarization of Lebanese society is central to a return to normality. It is vital to regional stability. The job cannot be done without UN help, or overnight, but the pressure must be relentless. By committing 400 troops instead of an expected 3,500, France has relaxed the pressure at a vital moment. (Times-UK)
See also Where Did the French Go? - Editorial (Washington Post)
if Hizballah is ever to give up its weapons and become just another political party, it will be through the pressure of the other Lebanese, not as a direct result of Israel's war. The trouble for Israel is that in peacemaking, as well as in war, the enemy gets a vote. What the well-meaning protesters who have been marching in Europe in praise of Hizballah refuse to acknowledge is that today, as in the 1940s, Israel still has some neighbors who continue to deny its very right to exist as a Jewish state.
Peace does not depend only on Israel. Six years ago Israel withdrew from Lebanon to a border painstakingly demarcated by the UN. Hizballah fought on anyway. Like Iran, it says its aim is Israel's destruction. Whether Hizballah and Iran seriously propose to destroy Israel is hard to tell, but it is what they keep saying - and they have imitators. The Palestinians' ruling Hamas movement has not yet dared to say out loud that it accepts even the principle of sharing Palestine with a Jewish state. Hamas, after the Lebanon war, is in danger of subscribing anew to the old illusion that Palestine can be liberated by force.
Hizballah has now killed stone dead the idea of Israel giving up territory again without cast-iron security assurances. So there will be no leaving any of the West Bank until there is a deal. (Economist-UK, 17Aug06)
Israel can't be defeated by Hizballah, but an existential threat to the Jewish state is not the proper measure of a terrorist group's capacities. So long as Hizballah remains in southern Lebanon, Israeli civilians face a continuous threat of rocket attacks or periodic incursions. The aim and effect are comparable to those of the suicide bomber in Israeli towns. Death may strike at any time. No democratic government can long survive, or ought to tolerate, a position in which civilians need reserves of courage merely to live within its boundaries. Western powers have a particular responsibility. UNIFIL must now disarm Hizballah, and be seen to do so. If it does not, then Iran's ambitions in the region, and its transfer of arms, will only burgeon. (Guardian-UK)
Hizballah says it will not disarm voluntarily and Lebanon says it will not disarm Hizballah unless it wants to be disarmed. Israel says that if Hizballah does return to its positions with weapons, the IDF will resume its offensive. In short, the whole basis of the cease-fire is on the verge of collapse.
On a military level, Hizballah lost the war, despite their public relations successes. What we saw is actually fairly typical of wars historically. One side attacks using new techniques and weapons, at first scoring some successes. After a while, however, the other side adapts to these challenges and goes on to inflict heavy losses and take control of the battlefield.
If the war restarts, Hizballah may face a two-front war. Lebanese Christians, Druze, and Sunnis, the majority of the population, are largely angry at how Hizballah dragged their country into a war and is increasingly subjugating it to Iran and Syria. (Jerusalem Post)
Unless the Hizballah militia is effectively disarmed, Lebanon will likely never become fully sovereign. Any areas vacated by Israel in the West Bank will become another Hizballah-stan-like entity, only this time with rockets easily able to reach Israel's civilian heartland around Tel Aviv. The key to changing this grim scenario is strong pressure on Iran and Syria to stop resupplying Hizballah with arms, which will now be illegal under Resolution 1701. If Hizballah does not agree to disarm and become a normal political party in Lebanon, no one can expect Israel to stand by and allow Hizballah to rebuild. The writer is executive director of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council. (The Age-Australia)
On paper, the Security Council decision promises both the disarming of Hizballah and its removal from the north, in addition to the release of the two kidnapped soldiers, a strong, multi-national force to deploy in Lebanon, authorized to enforce its will, and it suggests international authority over entry to Lebanon. Yet one would have to be an eternal optimist to believe the agreement will be enforced as written. (Ynet News)
In the Wake of the Lebanon War
In its second Lebanon war, Israel was surprised by Hizballah's anti-tank weapons and the way they used them. We knew Hizballah had advanced anti-tank rockets; however, we failed to understand the significance of the mass deployment of these weapons. The result: nearly all the armored corps' casualties and many from the infantry were caused by anti-tank weapons. More infantry soldiers were killed by anti-tank weapons than in hand-to-hand combat. Many of the infantry soldiers had entered houses in the villages, and the rockets penetrated the walls, killing them.
Hizballah used seven different types of rockets in the war - four of them the most advanced available and all produced by Russia and sold to Syria. Four Israeli tanks hit large landmines. Three of the tanks, which lacked underbelly protective armor, lost all 12 crew members. The fourth had underbelly protective armor; of its six crew members, only one died. Anti-tank missiles hit 46 tanks and 14 other armored vehicles, with 20 soldiers killed, 15 of them tank crew members. In Wadi Salouki, Hizballah carried out a successful anti-tank ambush, hitting 11 tanks. Missiles penetrated the armor of three tanks, killing seven crewmen. (Ha'aretz)
Israel largely avoided major power plants, water treatment facilities, telephone systems, central government buildings, and most factories in Lebanon. The bombing focused on Shiite areas of southern Lebanon and the Beirut suburbs. Most of the damage in Beirut was limited to a single square mile of the southern suburbs: the neighborhoods of Bir Abed and Hrat Hreik. An almost daily barrage of missiles and bombs has systematically removed Hizballah's headquarters. (Los Angeles Times)
Iran will dip into its oil income and ship cash to Nasrallah, so that he will not have to face the wrath of Lebanese for starting a war that reaped nothing but destruction. Iran is OPEC's second-largest producer, selling the world about 2.4 million barrels of oil a day and earning the regime some $4 billion a month - the government's main source of income. To buy public support, Iran's regime subsidizes housing, gasoline, interest rates, flour, and rice. Repressive governments like Iran's and Syria's use oil money to buy off their people and insulate themselves from the pressure of political and economic reform. (New York Times, 18Aug06)
Iran has honed a strategy that, if seen to succeed, could replicate itself all across the Arab world. Today in the Mideast, there are three places where militias operate freely within states: Iraq, Gaza, and Lebanon. In all three cases, the militias receive political, economic, and military backing from Iran. Iran gives at least $100 million annually, plus an estimated 11,000 missiles, to Hizballah. It provides Iraq's Mahdi militia and others with Iranian explosives. It even aids Hamas, which is Sunni and does not share Iran's Shiism. If Hizballah emerges from this conflict emboldened, it is a safe bet that Iran will set out to make still more militia mayhem - strengthening homegrown radical Arab groups with the potential to destabilize governments from Egypt to Saudi Arabia. (New York Daily News/Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Around the Arab world, Hizballah and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, have emerged as popular heroes because of the tougher-than-expected resistance it put up in the 34-day war with Israel. "The last thing I expected is to fall in love with a turbaned cleric," wrote Howeida Taha, a secular Egyptian columnist, in Al-Quds al-Arabi this week. "Thanks be to God and to Hizballah," read the banner of the Egyptian weekly Al-Destour on Wednesday. "I want to marry one of Nasrallah's three boys and dedicate myself to resistance," Noha Hussein, a university student in Cairo, wrote on an Islamist website for youth.
Yet behind the outpouring of support for Hizballah in recent days, some observers are increasingly worried about the rising power of religious extremists. "The crux of the problem in Lebanon is that a political movement became bigger than the state," said Maamoun Fandy, director of the Middle East program at London's International Institute for Strategic Studies. "In many Arab and Muslim states...[the] message is that movements can do what states failed to do." Jordan's former information minister, Saleh Qallab, said Hizballah's new strength could now be turned against the anti-Syrian, pro-democracy movement that gained power in Lebanon last year - "which means that a civil war is imminent in Lebanon, unless a miracle occurs. Do we call this a victory?" (AP/Washington Post)
The recent conflict in Lebanon has showcased what many foreign policy analysts see as a new era in U.S.-Israeli relations: For the first time in Israel's history, key figures in the U.S. government believe that the same forces that threaten Israel - Islamic terrorists and a nuclear-armed Iran - also present the greatest strategic threat to the U.S. In the past, U.S. officials say, much of the U.S.' involvement in Israel's conflicts stemmed from a feeling of moral obligation to ensure that the nation of Jewish refugees survived, as well as a desire to balance the concerns of Arab allies who opposed Israel.
Now, Israel has evolved into a strategic ally in a war on terror that directly threatens the U.S. "The Bush administration and the president himself tends to look at so much that happens in the Middle East through the prism of terrorism, and in that context, he is very sympathetic to very aggressive actions by Israel to respond," said Arthur Hughes, who served as deputy chief of mission in Tel Aviv in the '80s and director general of peacekeepers in the Sinai Peninsula in 1998-2004. In the recent conflict, the U.S. government rushed previously approved shipments of jet fuel and munitions to Israel. (Boston Globe)
"Once the cow falters, knives and butchers multiply," an Arab proverb says. Since the start of the war, a new paradigm has emerged that says to every jihadist out there: Israel can be vanquished; its aura of invincibility is just a mirage, and it is high time for the "big push." This genie has to be forced back into the bottle. (New York Sun)
A Moment to Be Seized in Lebanon - Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post)
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