August 03, 2006
WB: War is Peace + Important If True
In other words, if it's an Article 7 cease fire, Israel would be obliged under a UN Security Council resolution to respect fully the territorial sovereignty and integrity of Hizbullahland -- and a fully locked and loaded Hizbullahland to boot.
Now ain't that a kick in the pants?
Of course, the Jewish State could always count on the USA to veto any attempt to enforce the damned thing, but it's still hard to imagine a more potent symbol of Israeli's failure in this war, and the implications of that defeat for the "new" Middle East.
II. Important If True
I. War is Peace
Posted by b on August 3, 2006 at 01:40 AM | Permalink
I tend to think of "one week from now" as one Olmert, i.e. 1/26th of one Friedman.
Posted by: b | Aug 3, 2006 3:39:48 AM | 1
The French-Language Swiss Press sees the invasion of Lebanon as an attempt to destroy Lebanon’s economy.
The ony big and popular weekly, l’Hebdo, which apperared on 27 July, with the cover “Les 10 plus beaux villages de Suisse” during this vacation lull has one long and one short article about Lebanon. The short article writes directly of cleansing, using Sarkozy’s image of the Karcher (powerful industrial cleaning machines.) The long article - not on the net - states flat out: Israel is deliberately destroying the economy of Lebanon, as it is its competitor in the areas of tourism, banking and transport.... Article gives charts comparing Lebanese and Israeli growth, description of exports, etc. It underlines that the Israeli shekel has not budged, the Irs. economy is not affected, the bombs in the North will affect this year’s results, but not next year’s, etc.
Today’s Tribune (mainstream popular but serious paper, with full page broadsheet in depth analysis today of Lebanon - they tend to do two topics each day) titles: Three weeks to destroy the Lebanese Economy.
It describes the damage at length. It also states: The only ray of hope is that the Lebanese pound has resisted, as the Leb. Bank interevened - they hold 13 billion dollars, plus 1.5 bil from Saudi+Kuwait.
Reading between the lines and in view of the title, the job is now completed. Lebanon loses the peace, so to speak.
Second article tells the reader that the big Arab fortunes have left Leb.; that Anglo-Saxon Funds are discreetly selling all their Leb. holdings; that the Hariri financial empire transferred to Abou Dhabi. This part is on the net, just a little shortened.
It's amazing. These mainstream articles and others explain and describe as if it was all self-evident and perfectly normal.
See also Deliso:
What It's All About: War profiteering around the imperium
http://www.antiwar.com/deliso/?articleid=9466>Deliso at Anti-war.com
Posted by: Noirette | Aug 3, 2006 3:45:18 AM | 2
I posted this on another thread, but it seems to go together with your notes on the Swiss French-language press.
It's an interview in the Financial Times with Walid Jumblatt
Fighting 'has dealt a fatal blow to hopes of an independent Lebanon'
"After the 12 July, Lebanon is now unfortunately being entrenched solidly into the Syrian-Iranian axis," he said. "The hopes of a stable, prosperous Lebanon where we could attract investments is over for now. It is a fatal blow for confidence."
Posted by: 2nd anonymous poster | Aug 3, 2006 3:59:03 AM | 4
Good one Noirette, wish I could read french, especially the one with charts & graphs. The Deliso piece is the tip of the iceburg, I would presume.
Posted by: anna missed | Aug 3, 2006 4:34:32 AM | 5
Economic war has been my idea since day one, when I read about bombing the airport, power stations and threats of complete military blockade.
Of course, destroying the economy wasn't the only goal, but in my opinion it was clearly a major goal.
It reminds me of a friend who spent years in Lebanon and said to me during one of the previous retaliation raids of IDF airforce around 2000 that the main objective wasn't to kill some lower rank Hizbullah honcho but to push back Lebanon's attempt at economic recovery, since the main power station of the country had been destroyed, showing Israel intended to be the only economic haven of the area.
Israelis remember well that Beyrouth was a major economic place before the civil war, and they obviously noticed the economic boom, notably the housing bubble in Beyrouth. I think that, just as the US states that they will punish anyone that tries to rise too high militarily and may become a credible threat, Israel fully intends to annihilate anyone who could become a major economic player in the Near and Middle East.
It's worth noting that they're pretty good at it, they had plenty of practice on Palestinian infrastructure, lavishly paid by the EU, who just wasted billions rebuilding stuff in West Bank and Gaza. Of course, if the EU had any sense, they would impose a complete economic boycott on Israel until it has both rebuilt what it has destroyed in Palestinian territories and in Lebanon and has repaid EU and other international organisations and countries who paid for now-bombed civilian infrastructure in these areas. Not that it's going to happen.
Posted by: CluelessJoe | Aug 3, 2006 4:51:31 AM | 6
The bombing of the power station in Gaza also happened to be an independently (palestinian) owned station, against the monoply (the remaining quotiant) of Israeli power distribution (in Gaza).
Noirette, does that article say when and/or how much arab money has been divested from the Lebanese economy? Is their fear of Hizbollah greater than Israel's?
Posted by: anna missed | Aug 3, 2006 5:16:39 AM | 7
This would (if true) would go a long way in explaining wuy the IDF has spent so much effort at destroying Lebanese infrastructure, not to mention so little effort at destroying the katusha emplacements, as they serve to prolong the war by enabling continued attacks. Now that the Lebanese economy is destroyed, the short term mission is accomplished, even against the long term victory of Hizabollah -- which has served to out both Israeli and the U.S. intentions beyond any doubt -- and show the way of viable resistance.
Posted by: anna missed | Aug 3, 2006 5:47:10 AM | 8
According to the Channel 4 News (UK) reports I saw yesterday, the IDF successfully detained Hassan Nasrollah at the hospital in Lebanon.
Unfortunately for all concerned, this particular Nasrollah is a shopkeeper who is idealogically opposed to Hizbollah. Whoops! Sorry about that, dead Lebanese dudes!
Funny how little details like this don't quite make it into the US news scene.
Posted by: Gridlock | Aug 3, 2006 7:21:58 AM | 9
@ Noirette - the prescience of the moment. A good friend spent a month in Lebanon in May, marveling at the changes that had taken place. He had lived there during the civil war, and spent May revisiting acquaintances, looking at the neighbourhood where he grew up, etc.
I asked what he thought of prospects for Lebanon. "The Israelis will never permit Lebanon to become a strong economic entity. There's too much money and influence surging into Lebanon now, too fast. People I speak with are worried."
When the bombing began, and the target was infrastructure, not "terrorists", I couldn't help remebering his words, of course.
Posted by: SteinL | Aug 3, 2006 8:36:00 AM | 10
"None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands, no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside, together they have gone wrong;
no one does good, not even one."
. . .
"Their feet are swift to shed blood,
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they do not know."
Romans 3:10-11, 17
Posted by: NickM | Aug 3, 2006 9:19:14 AM | 11
I tend to think of "one week from now" as one Olmert, i.e. 1/26th of one Friedman.
During which time they have gained two smoots.
Yeah, Hassan BIN Nasrollah
They've got to have egg on their faces over this one.
Angry Arab had a lot of fun with that -- food all over the computer screen.
Thanks everyone for the economic links and thoughts. Lots of stuff to ponder.
If war can be said to be diplomacy by other means; then BOTH can be said to be economic gangsterism by other means. Always been true, just the way the world runs.
But even economic gangsterism can backfire. Israel, at 58, is showing signs of early atheroscerosis. Probably too many bagels with schmear.
The question naturally arises, who profited? Who knew beforehand of the plan and sold long, and who got caught holding the bag and is now selling short?
The economy will come back, though it will take years. If they got Hariri $$ out and Iran $$ comes in, that is a net loss.
Abu Dhabi is suffering from the opposite problem: too much money. It is over-inflated, and ecologically unsustainable. Someday Yeats Jr. will discover it in the sand and write a poem about it.
Here's my question: Can Lebanon sue Israel through some international court or something for the damage done by the oil spill? We're talking Exxon Valdez II here. The damage is massive. 200,000BL of heavy #2 oil; that's 1% of total US daily oil consumption spilled along the coast. This will not go away quickly and will generate hate for the rest of our lifetimes.
Any type of lawsuit could be the gift that keeps on giving for Israel. After all, they are the masters of extorting money from others. It would be interesting to see the tables turned.
Posted by: Malooga | Aug 3, 2006 10:48:52 AM | 14
“What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
-apologies to Albert Pine
Posted by: Oliver R. Smoot | Aug 3, 2006 11:08:01 AM | 15
More from the UN on Gaza (2 Aug):
Currently the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is using four schools to shelter 1,345 Palestinians who have fled the shelling.
Gaza 'crisis as bad as Lebanon', BBC News, 2 Aug:
One hundred and fifty trucks carrying food and essential supplies are currently crossing the border each day but according to Care International this is only just enough to stop the population from starving.
To keep people from being hungry and to restore food security, they say, Israel needs to increase this to 400.
Gaza's population is already living in the dark. [emphasis added]
Since Israel bombed the power station homes are often without clean water or electricity and health officials say they are worried about the possible spread of disease.
A beacon of democracy in the Mid East? Bringing darkness? Starvation?
Posted by: Dismal Science | Aug 3, 2006 11:45:01 AM | 16
Israel went after Lebanon's infrastructure because they took their lead from USA's "Shock and Awe" doctrine. Air power has been just as unsuccessful in Lebanon as it is in Iraq at quelling an insurgency. Unfortunately, wing-nut leaders in the USA and Israel won't learn this lesson and will keep on trying to kill all radical Muslims with aerial bombs. Damascus and Tehran are next.
NYT has an excellent opinion piece Ground to a Halt. Why the ground attack will fail too. The only way to destroy an occupation resistance force is genocide. Ethnic cleansing can't be hidden even by corporate media. Genocide also needs the draft to put American boys and girls in ruins of Arab cities climbing through the rubble killing the last Defenders of the Faith.
The alternative is a negotiated settlement and an end to the occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.
Posted by: Jim S | Aug 3, 2006 11:47:31 AM | 17
The Financial Times is really going for broke on this one.
The loathing of Bliar is palpable.
Today's instalment: FOAD, Bliar by former UK ambassador to Moscow and former chair of Joint Intel Ctte, Sir Rodric Braithwaite:
A spectre is stalking British television, a frayed and waxy zombie straight from Madame Tussaud’s. This one, unusually, seems to live and breathe. Perhaps it comes from the Central Intelligence Agency’s box of technical tricks, programmed to spout the language of the White House in an artificial English accent. ...
Mr Blair has done more damage to British interests in the Middle East than Anthony Eden, who led the UK to disaster in Suez 50 years ago. In the past 100 years – to take the highlights – we have bombed and occupied Egypt and Iraq, put down an Arab uprising in Palestine and overthrown governments in Iran, Iraq and the Gulf. We can no longer do these things on our own, so we do them with the Americans. Mr Blair’s total identification with the White House has destroyed his influence in Washington, Europe and the Middle East itself: who bothers with the monkey if he can go straight to the organ-grinder?
Posted by: Dismal Science | Aug 3, 2006 11:50:51 AM | 18
Former UK Foreign Office Special Advisor David Clark on why the Brits do not classify Hizbollah as a terrorist organisation (The Guardian, 31 July:
It is certainly true that Hizbullah has been linked to a string of classic terrorist attacks going back more than 20 years, including suicide bombings against civilian targets, hostage-taking and the hijacking of a TWA flight. A particularly vile example was the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires in which 85 people were murdered. Hizbullah strongly denies involvement, but the truth is probably murkier than either side pretends. Responsibility for these attacks has often been attributed to Hizbullah's External Security Organisation (ESO), a unit believed to be under the operational control of Iranian intelligence rather than the Hizbullah's Lebanese leadership. Britain is one country that draws this distinction, proscribing ESO, but not Hizbullah itself, under the Terrorism Act. [emphasis added]
Interestingly, some of the earliest suicide bombings commonly attributed to Hizbullah, such as the 1983 attacks on the US embassy and marine barracks in Beirut, were believed by American intelligence sources at the time to have been orchestrated by the Iraqi Dawa party. Hizbullah barely existed in 1983 and Dawa cadres are said to have been instrumental in setting it up at Tehran's behest.
Compare and contrast the difference between Sinn Fein (political party represented by Adams & al. in UK Parliament) and the "military wing", the IRA).
Posted by: Dismal Science | Aug 3, 2006 12:01:52 PM | 19
Nye Bevan's statement about Anthony Eden during the Suez Crisis, often paraphrased as
"If he is lying then he is too wicked to be Prime Minister, if he is sincere in what he is saying then he is too stupid to be Prime Minister."
Equally applicable to Tony Blair.
Posted by: Cloned Poster | Aug 3, 2006 12:02:41 PM | 20
Thanks 2nd, I missed that, haven’t managed to read everything here these days and Billmon’s posts are dense.
Clueless Joe, I remember someone writing that, of course it was you.
Yes, the EU has supported the scenario by pouring pots of money into Palestine - until it refused to recognise Hamas -, while the US pours money into Israel. How any of the parties can become independent and self-reliant (to borrow a word from the Clean break paper) to the point where they feel confident and prideful enough to negotiate anything or even talk to each other is moot.
Anna, the article says ‘all’ (arab money divested from Leb.) -- I suppose what is meant is ‘practically all.’ It says that many big holders left after the assassination of Hariri, anticipating the crisis, and that now the process is completed. They say the money will go to Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, Wall Street - and three articles I read have mentioned that Switzerland (nudge, nudge) will do well.
As to their fear of Hizbulla, not mentioned, and who knows. There is another angle here, I think. That is, Lebanon as a ‘free’, multicultural society, where ethnic, religious distinctions are not overtly pertinent, where business and investment can be carried out without risk in a congenial, somewhat egalitarian ambiance.
Risk of violent strife; but most important, risk of lack of energy.
The day you can’t dig a hole to make a swimming pool, or your back office can’t have its computers humming day and nite, the day the VIPs can’t land, well, it is all over. Finis. Seen in an economic way, Lebanon - the Switzerland of the ME as we call it here - was in a way what Israel wishes to be but can never become. I think one might say that, yes.
All this also certainly has to do with the weakness of the Leb. Gvmt. and laws dealing with corporations, taxes, etc., about which I know nothing.
Following along, Hizbulla was/is a State within the State, organising health care, schooling, food, charity; much of its money came not only from Iran (arms etc.) but from Lebanese expats abroad, independent of religious affiliations, who pay for things like antibiotics, school books, garbage collection, etc.
A parallel society that did what the weak Lebanese Governement could not do, or did not wish to do. Complete with an army. Might the Lebanese Gvmt. have tolerated or even encouraged the rise and grip of Hizbulla along the ‘privatisation, outsourcing’ line? Conveniently, the poor part of the country takes care of itself with foreign funding and the rich pay less taxes.
A socialist grass-roots organisation in a capitalist Nation would have no interest in attack, only defense. Border skirmish; and getting its prisoners back - now that is a daunting challenge. A real threat? Yes (as we see now?) but only if provoked.
Musing. Who knows.
Posted by: Noirette | Aug 3, 2006 12:26:46 PM | 21
Mosaic has an economic report on lebanon's future TV. thanks to 2nd anon for turning us on to this great link yesterday.
Posted by: annie | Aug 3, 2006 12:28:45 PM | 22
By secretly providing NSA intelligence to Israel and undermining the hapless Condi Rice, hardliners in the Bush administration are trying to widen the Middle East conflict to Iran and Syria, not stop it.
The National Security Agency is providing signal intelligence to Israel to monitor whether Syria and Iran are supplying new armaments to Hezbollah as it fires hundreds of missiles into northern Israel, according to a national security official with direct knowledge of the operation. President Bush has approved the secret program.
Inside the administration, neoconservatives on Vice President Dick Cheney's national security staff and Elliott Abrams, the neoconservative senior director for the Near East on the National Security Council, are prime movers behind sharing NSA intelligence with Israel, and they have discussed Syrian and Iranian supply activities as a potential pretext for Israeli bombing of both countries, the source privy to conversations about the program says. (Intelligence, including that gathered by the NSA, has been provided to Israel in the past for various purposes.) The neoconservatives are described as enthusiastic about the possibility of using NSA intelligence as a lever to widen the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah and Israel and Hamas into a four-front war.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is said to have been "briefed" and to be "on board," but she is not a central actor in pushing the covert neoconservative scenario. Her "briefing" appears to be an aspect of an internal struggle to intimidate and marginalize her. Recently she has come under fire from prominent neoconservatives who oppose her support for diplomatic negotiations with Iran to prevent its development of nuclear weaponry.
Rice's diplomacy in the Middle East has erratically veered from initially calling on Israel for "restraint," to categorically opposing a cease-fire, to proposing terms for a cease-fire guaranteed to conflict with the European proposal, and thus to thwarting diplomacy, prolonging the time available for the Israeli offensive to achieve its stated aim of driving Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon. But the neocon scenario extends far beyond that objective to pushing Israel into a "cleansing war" with Syria and Iran, says the national security official, which somehow will redeem Bush's beleaguered policy in the entire region.
Posted by: annie | Aug 3, 2006 1:39:45 PM | 23
Was it inevitable? Condi Rice is now a moderate? If this can be believed, then we know who Bush is listening to these days. Sigh. I almost can't believe it.
Posted by: 2nd anonymous poster | Aug 3, 2006 2:02:20 PM | 25
"How much do I hear for this fine-looking Kurdish nation?"
"Turkey bids $50."
"Going once, going twice, sold to Turkey for $50. You can pick up your fine new territory at the back. Payment in US treasuries, please."
Posted by: Malooga | Aug 3, 2006 2:04:32 PM | 26
Bush listens to the devil; but beleives it must be god talking because the profit is so heavenly.
Posted by: gylangirl | Aug 3, 2006 2:28:31 PM | 27
I have no doubt you're right. But who the heck does that idiot listen to?
On Mosaic's broadcast of the Israel Broadcast Authority news, they showed Olmert saying that Hezbollah was completely isolated in Lebanon and that all the Lebanese people were against them.
I mean - between Bush, Blair and Olmert we really are practically back at the fall of the Roman Empire with leaders generally in the land of the delusional.
Posted by: 2nd anonymous poster | Aug 3, 2006 2:33:10 PM | 28
I really do wonder if Bush is listening to some religious maniac who's calling the plays. (Like the guy I just heard on Fox news . I ought to know better than to watch that channel for long.)
Posted by: 2nd anonymous poster | Aug 3, 2006 2:44:11 PM | 29
Correction: I shouldn't have used the word "maniac". Let's just call it a wolf in sheep's clothing, a political operator, a taker of money, in the guise of a religious. (sorry for all the corrections)
Posted by: 2nd anonymous poster | Aug 3, 2006 2:47:27 PM | 30
Hezbollah completely isolated? I hope Olmert is just lying plain and simple, because if he's that delusional and if his services feed him that kind of BS information, Israel is in a really bad situation. That is, a worse one than it appears.
Posted by: CluelessJoe | Aug 3, 2006 2:49:17 PM | 31
i'm with annie
thanks 2nd for the link with mosaic
Posted by: r'giap | Aug 3, 2006 3:01:06 PM | 32
If any of you haven't visited the front page of antiwar.conm today, you should... at least for a break and a quick laugh at the picture of the Israeli tank!
Posted by: Rick Happ | Aug 3, 2006 3:26:27 PM | 33
Can anyone read Lebanese Media? According to Haaretz ticker, they're reporting that IAF conducted 15 bombing raids in 30 mins. in Beirut - after Nasrallah's warning that he'd bomb Tel Aviv if they hit downtown Beirut.
Of course, this followed news on the ticker that Bolton says xUS-French talks for settlement/cease-fire were very far along...
So, stay tuned...Effing War Junkies - off to the Hague w/the lot of you :(
Posted by: jj | Aug 4, 2006 12:07:01 AM | 34
Sinioura has indicated he doesn't want an article 7 cease-fire. He wants a chapter 6 cease-fire and deployment.
(I just read this in an interview he gave to http://www.lorientlejour.com, a Christian Lebanese newspaper.)
Posted by: Guthman Bey | Aug 4, 2006 12:13:57 AM | 35
Guthman, if you want to be understood, try being less obscure.
Posted by: jj | Aug 4, 2006 12:22:48 AM | 36
The Daily Star, in a story headlined "Hizbullah offers to spare civilians if Israeli military does the same," also says Nasrallah "offered to stop pounding Israel's 'northern settlements' if the Jewish state refrained from bombarding Lebanon's 'cities and civilians.'" According to the newspaper, "'We are ready to keep the whole thing restricted to a military fight with the Israeli Army,' Nasrallah said, 'on the ground, fighters to fighters.'" After Nasrallah's warning against striking Tel Aviv, Israel responded by saying it would destroy all of Lebanon's infrastructure if Hizbullah hits Tel Aviv.
The Daily Star
Posted by: Zotz | Aug 4, 2006 12:46:47 AM | 37
Unfortunately, when I googled trying to find Nasrallah's statement earlier today, it seemed that every news outlet had simply picked up the "Nasrallah threatens to attack Tel Aviv line."
What automatic spin.
You know, watching the film that I cited on one of these topics around here yesterday, it became really clear that the spin tactics for Lebanon were precisely the same that have been used all along for the "problem" (what a euphemism) with the Palestinians. Except it didn't work so well with a whole other, friendly, moderate, democratic country like Lebanon. But they are being treated just like the Palestinians. Which I suppose is the same for the Iraqis. But still, what is happening in the Palestinian territories this week is going relatively unnoticed as per usual.
for those who are still curious:
Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land
Posted by: 2nd anonymous poster | Aug 4, 2006 1:09:57 AM | 38