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DAILY ALERT

Monday,
August 21, 2006
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In-Depth Issues:

IDF: Hizballah Hostilities Liable to Restart Soon - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    Senior IDF officers say that "round two" between Israel and Hizballah could begin within months or even weeks, probably over the renewal of arms deliveries from Iran and Syria.
    One senior officer noted that while UN Security Council Resolution 1701 calls for an embargo on arms shipments to Hizballah, no mechanism has been put in place to enforce this embargo, and said that Israel will have to intervene if the deliveries continue unchecked.
    Specifically, the military source said, Israel will be forced to carry out aerial assaults on trucks traveling from Syria to Lebanon.
    "If we know that a truck is carrying arms, we'll strike," he said. "There is simply no alternative."


Israel Campus Beat
- August 20, 2006

Point Counter-Point:
    Who Won the War?

Iranian Weapons for Hizballah Waiting in Damascus - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News)
    Hizballah, Iran, and Syria are working feverishly to rearm Hizballah ahead of the next round.
    A senior officer of the Revolutionary Guard in Tehran said that huge quantities of weapons reached Damascus during the last three weeks, and are waiting to be transferred to Lebanon.
    According to the London-based Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat, the Revolutionary Guard formed an emergency committee on logistics in Damascus, responsible for supplying Hizballah's military needs.

    See also Turkey Halts Lebanon-Bound Iran, Syria Planes - Yossi Melman (Ha'aretz)
    Turkish authorities have prevented five Iranian airplanes and a Syrian aircraft from flying into Lebanon, suspecting them of transporting arms to Hizballah, the Turkish Hurriyet newspaper reported on Monday.
    American intelligence reports indicated the plane carried three missile launchers and containers with Chinese C-802 land-to-sea missiles, identical to the missile that hit an Israel Navy ship in July.


British Military Equipment Found in Hizballah Bunkers - Bob Graham, Michael Evans, and Richard Beeston (Times-UK)
    Hizballah terrorists used British military night-vision equipment to help them kill Israeli soldiers in Lebanon.
    Equipment found by Israeli troops in Hizballah command bunkers in southern Lebanon included a Thermo-vision 1000 LR system.
    Other equipment, including radios also thought to be British, and sophisticated recording and monitoring devices, was found.
    See also Hizballah Night-Vision Gear Was from Britain - Matthew Kalman (San Francisco Chronicle)
    In the early phases of the Israeli ground advance against Hizballah positions, commanders said that nighttime operations had been hampered by the ability of Hizballah fighters to observe and counter the Israeli moves.


Shin Bet: Rise of Terror in Gaza a Strategic Problem - Gideon Alon (Ha'aretz)
    The rise of terror in Gaza is a strategic problem, and if it isn't dealt with properly, in three to five years Israel will face the same reality in Gaza that exists in Lebanon, Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin told the Israeli cabinet Sunday.
    Diskin said the Philadelphi Route, along the Egyptian border, is breached, and several tons of explosives and hundreds of weapons have been smuggled through it.
    Diskin regarded Egyptian supervision of the crossings as ineffective and suggested reviewing agreements that were signed with the Egyptians last year.


Iran Fires Practice Missiles, Affirms Nuclear Stance - Nazili Fathi (New York Times)
    As Iran fired 10 short-range missiles on the second day of a large-scale military maneuver, officials on Sunday reiterated Iran's stance that it did not intend to halt its uranium enrichment program.


Thousands March in Pro-Israel Demo in Finland (NewsRoom Finland)
    Police estimated that about 2,500 people marched in solidarity with Israel in central Helsinki on Sunday.


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  • Europeans Balk Over Sending Troops to Lebanon - Marlise Simons and John Kifner
    The European countries that had been called upon to provide the backbone of a peacekeeping force delayed a decision on committing troops until the mission is more clearly defined. European governments are insisting upon clarifying the chain of command and rules of engagement. "In the past, when peacekeeping missions were not properly defined, we've seen major failures,'' a spokeswoman for the French Foreign Ministry, Agnes Romatet-Espagne, said Sunday. A senior French official said, "Italy, Spain, and Finland have raised the same questions as France has."
        Australia, which has placed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, has refused to commit troops. "We don't have any confidence in it. It is not going to have the mandate to disarm Hizballah." (New York Times)
        See also Israel: No UN Troops from Countries that Don't Recognize Israel - Doug Struck
    Israel on Sunday objected to including countries that do not have diplomatic relations with the Jewish state in the nascent peacekeeping force for Lebanon, such as the Muslim countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Bangladesh. "The idea that you could have forces on our border from countries that we could not talk to, that we couldn't coordinate with, would cause problems," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said Sunday. (Washington Post)
        See also below Observations: Israel Committed to Block Arms to Hizballah - Steven Erlanger (New York Times)
  • Hizballah Pushes Past UN Guards in Show of Force - Patrick Bishop
    Hizballah mourners in a funeral parade shoved aside anti-tank barriers at a UN base in Lebanon Sunday in a demonstration of their new political strength. When the chanting procession, several hundred strong, reached the gates of the UNIFIL compound, inside of which is the Naqoura town cemetery, mourners argued with the French guards, but failed to gain entry. A mob of young men then dragged the barriers away and the UN opened the gates. "They will eat us alive," said one official as the throng surged in.
        Nowhere in the border area Sunday was there any sign of the Lebanese Army. By Sunday night, UNIFIL's standing force of 2,000 had been supplemented only by the arrival of 49 French military engineers. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Multinational Force Will Only Open Fire in Emergency - Nir Magal
    A document sent from UN Headquarters to the Italian Defense Ministry regarding the jurisdiction of the multinational force in Lebanon was published in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. It was written that the main objective of the soldiers will not be disarming Hizballah, but rehabilitating Lebanon from the war's damage and keeping order. The soldiers will only be permitted to open fire "in a manner befitting of the need in response to an emergency situation." (Ynet News)
        See also UNIFIL Troops Permitted to Open Fire on Armed Hizballah Militants - Shlomo Shamir and Yoav Stern (Ha'aretz)
  • Stand Alongside Hizballah, Lebanon's Army Tells Troops - Clancy Chassay
    An internal Lebanese army statement, circulated among forces in the past week, has called for troops to stand "alongside your resistance and your people who astonished the world with its steadfastness and destroyed the prestige of the so-called invincible army after it was defeated." The circular will fuel the concerns of Israel, the U.S., and the UN Security Council that the Lebanese army is incapable of securing the south of the country, adding increased urgency to the calls for a multinational force to be swiftly deployed.
        According to sources close to the army command, there has been a tacit agreement between Hizballah and the army that those fighters who hail from the south will return to their villages and all arms will be put out of sight. Suggestions from Washington that the Lebanese army should forcibly disarm Hizballah have been met with alarm by the army command.
        One defense analyst said that, in the south, the army often acted as a subordinate to Hizballah's military apparatus. "All intelligence gathered by the army is put at the disposal of Hizballah, but Hizballah does not offer the same transparency to the army," he said. "In a sense, military intelligence in the south is operating on Hizballah's behalf." (Guardian-UK)
  • Ruling Raises Bar in Lobbyists' Case. Government Now Must Prove Former AIPAC Workers Intended to Harm U.S. - Walter Pincus
    The federal judge who last week refused to throw out charges of conspiring to violate the 1917 Espionage Act against two former pro-Israel lobbyists simultaneously made it much more difficult for the government to prove its case against them, attorneys for the defendants and First Amendment advocates contend. In his Aug. 10 opinion, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said the law is constitutional. But for the government to prove its case, he ruled, it must show that the two men disclosed national defense information "closely held by the government" and that each "had bad faith purpose" in passing it to others, knowing it "could be potentially damaging to the United States" or be "useful to an enemy of the United States." (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Officer Killed in Baalbek Intelligence-Gathering Operation - Hanan Greenberg
    A special IDF force operated early Saturday in the east Lebanon town of Baalbek to prevent the smuggling of weapons from Iran and Syria to Hizbullah. Lt.-Col. Emanuel Morano, 35, was killed and two others were wounded. (Ynet News)
        See also Explaining the Baalbek Operation - Aluf Benn
    After a reconnaissance operation near Baalbek, the IDF unit was surprised on the way back by Hizballah fighters. In the battle that ensued, three Hizballah fighters were killed. Israel says the operation was not a violation of the cease-fire because it was an intelligence-gathering mission, not an attack. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Elite Unit's "Crown Jewel" Killed in Lebanon - Etgar Lefkovits (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Kills Soldier at Jordan Valley Checkpoint - Yaakov Katz
    St.-Sgt. Ro'i Farjun, 21, from Yehud was killed on Saturday after a Palestinian opened fire at the Bekaot checkpoint in the Jordan Valley. Troops returned fire, killing the gunman. Muhammad Ban-Yuda, 22, from Tamun near Jenin, arrived at the checkpoint in a car, drew a gun, and shot the soldier several times at short range. Fatah's military wing claimed responsibility for the attack. The IDF has noticed an increased effort by Palestinian terror cells in the West Bank to perpetrate attacks since the war in Lebanon began. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Force with Teeth - Editorial
    It is easy to criticize the French government for its reluctance to contribute soldiers to the UN peace-keeping force in Lebanon. The French government's wariness is, however, understandable. French officials have called the mandate agreed for the UN force by the Security Council "a recipe for disaster." That description is likely to prove accurate. UN troops will not have the power to use force except in self-defense. They will not be allowed to intervene to disarm Hizballah.
        Without a strengthened mandate, the UN force will simply have to watch as the situation unravels. Hizballah will not disarm voluntarily; the Israelis will not sit idly by if rocket attacks resume. If the war starts up again, the only difference will be that a large UN peace-keeping force will be caught in the middle. If the UN presence is to have any positive effect, the Security Council must agree to a strengthened mandate. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also France Leads...Sort of - Editorial
    There are few more regular - or entertaining - sights than French statesmen indulging in grandiose statements of political and philosophical intent, and then proceeding to do absolutely nothing. Whether it is French domestic reform, the future of the EU, NATO, or foreign policy, the French are past masters at saying one thing and doing quite another. (Times-UK)
        See also Waiting for Jacques - Editorial
    It would be tempting to laugh about France's paltry commitment of 200 additional peacekeepers for Lebanon, if it weren't so dangerous. After insisting for years that they be treated like a superpower, the French are behaving as if they have no responsibility for helping dig out of the Lebanon mess. (New York Times)
  • Countdown to Conflict: Hizballah's Military Buildup and the Need for Effective Disarmament - Brig. Gen. (res.) Dr. Shimon Shapira
    It is vitally important to implement the relevant articles of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 regarding the disarmament of Hizballah. Unfortunately, this obligation, also contained in Resolution 1559 from 2004, is the subject of a plan which, according to Resolution 1701, is to be developed in the next month by the UN secretary-general and implemented at a later date. In the meantime, Hizballah has stated that it refuses to disarm. This situation elevates the importance of an embargo on supplying Hizballah with weapons, as called for in the UN resolution. However, there has been no decision to deploy a special force that would supervise the embargo on the Syrian-Lebanese border and in the Lebanese seaports and airports.
        Right now, Resolution 1701 just calls on Lebanon to secure its borders; UNIFIL may assist the Lebanese government if requested. The resolution also only calls on states to refrain from selling weaponry to Hizballah, but does not authorize any state to enforce an arms embargo. What is necessary is the establishment of special forces that will carry out this mission of monitoring the entry-points into Lebanon. Given the huge amounts of Iranian weaponry that were delivered to Hizballah in the past six years, this is a glaring inadequacy in the resolution. The writer is a senior research associate at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy of the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Misreading the Lebanon War - Edward N. Luttwak
    Hizballah certainly did not run away and did hold its ground, but its mediocrity is revealed by the casualties it inflicted, which were very few. There was a fully developed IDF plan in the contingency folders - a sophisticated blend of amphibious, airborne, and ground penetrations to swiftly reach deep behind the front, before rolling back to destroy Hizballah positions one by one from the rear, all the way to the Israeli border. That plan was not implemented because of the lack of casualties among Israeli civilians. Hizballah distributed its rockets to village militias that were very good at hiding them from air attacks, but quite incapable of launching them effectively. Instead of hundreds of dead civilians, the Israelis were losing one or two a day. This did not politically justify the hundreds of casualties that a large-scale offensive would certainly have cost. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    Israel Committed to Block Arms to Hizballah - Steven Erlanger (New York Times)

    • Despite a cease-fire agreement, Israel intends to do its best to keep Iran and Syria from rearming Hizballah, a senior Israeli commander said Friday. International commitments to exclude Hizballah from southern Lebanon and to disarm it already seem hollow, said the commander, who had a well-placed view of the war and its planning and has extensive experience in Lebanon.
    • He emphasized that he considered the threat and the fighting ability of Hizballah to have been severely diminished. What is important "is the understanding that the Lebanese government took control of southern Lebanon. Now we can deal with them as a country and a government, and speak and compromise. This is the huge change this operation created." Hizballah is no longer just Israel's problem, and "the world understands that we are helping to stop the influence of Iran."
    • The Israeli Army feels it fought well within the limits set for it, and the commander insisted that the Israelis won every battle with Hizballah. "We believe it was important to stop the war with Hizballah understanding that we can beat them anywhere, any time, and we did that," he said. "I believe it will change the situation for a long time."
    • Israelis are spoiled by the 1967 and 1973 wars, he said, but there is no decisive victory against terrorism. In Washington, too, "I believe the military and security professionals understand what we did, and they are not disappointed."
    • Good intelligence allowed the Israeli Army to knock out up to 80 percent of Hizballah's medium- and long-range missile launchers in the first two days of the air war, preventing missiles on Tel Aviv.
    • Israel is able to destroy launchers within 45 seconds to a minute after they are used, which no other army in the world can do with regularity.


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