"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" - Ronald Reagan

New York

U.S. tanks shell Iraqi mosque after attack

Reuters at Yahoo reported that M1 Tanks fired at a mosque in the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Ramadi on Friday after coming under rocket-propelled grenade and machinegun fire from the building killing three insurgents and wounding 22. According to Reuters,

"Coalition forces returned fire in self defense, using escalation of force procedures, and finally fired several main gun rounds from M1 tanks into the mosque in order to defeat the attackers," the military said in a statement.
The mosque suffered damage to the dome and minaret (both places terrorist position themselves to shoot at US forces)

The most effective way to prevent use of mosques by terrorists is to do exactly what this unit did. The US forces were well within the guidelines of the Geneva Convention. Having mosques damaged will ensure citizens do not allow mosques to be used by terrorists.

"Hezbollah Didn't Win" by Amir Taheri

Amir Taheri once again provides useful insight into Middle East issues. In his Wall Street Journal article Mr. Taheri points out that many Shi’ite, Sunni, Druze, and Christian leaders, publishers, and politicians are asking, why Hezbollah started this war with Israel and are seeking more than ever to disband the terrorist group within their state. A quote from Walid Abi-Mershed, a leading Lebanese columnist brings the point to light.
"If Hezbollah won a victory, it was a Pyrrhic one…. They made Lebanon pay too high a price--for which they must be held accountable."
As stated before, while Israel will have to do soul searching to figure out what went wrong on its side, Hezbollah was definitely not a victor in this war and will have to answer to the majority of Lebanese people (who don’t support its terrorist tactics) why it started this war.

Stunningly nave by Oliver North

Oliver North has an article in Townhall that is short, sweet, and to the point. He ends the article with,

Will we elect an anti-war, "get-out-now" Congress in November? It all depends on whether those who cast ballots this autumn are wise enough to understand what we are up against or are instead, as my friend put it, "stunningly naive."
For a full read, click here.

Ahmadinejad would sacrifice half of Iran for the sake of eliminating Israel.

Giora Eiland, Israel's former national security adviser, has an excellent analysis of options available to the west in dealing with Iran. However, he warns that Ahmadinejad "would sacrifice half of Iran for the sake of eliminating Israel." and all of the options are bad.

According to the Jerusalem Post, he states:
  1. Isolating Iran economically, politically and internationally in the hope that this will eventually prompt an internal push for regime change.
  2. Launch a last-ditch effort at diplomatic action.
  3. Military operation - born of the sense that the diplomatic process would not work
All of these options are thwart with peril according to Giora Eiland. For the entire article, click here.

Iraqi Security Forces put down uprising

An article at Global Security, “Iraq: Radical Cleric Challenges Shi'ite Establishment” is interesting not only in it content, but also because of what stopped the clashes between Al-Hasani and Al-Sistani's forces in Karbala.

Clashes subsequently erupted on August 16 between al-Hasani and his supporters and shrine security forces, with the latter eventually seeking backup from Iraqi security forces. Ten militiamen loyal to al-Hasani were killed and 281 arrested, Prime Minister al-Maliki's office said in a statement.

According to a correspondent for RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq in Karbala, militiamen connected with SCIRI's Badr Forces and al-Sadr's Imam Al-Mahdi Army did not take part in the clashes with al-Hasani loyalists on August 16, but both militias were present in the city, offering protection to administrative buildings.
This is interesting because Al-Sistani’s forces chose to call upon Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) to put down the clashes. Al-Sistani forces could not put down Al-Hasani forces by themselves, so they called on the ISFs to assist. They did not call upon US forces. ISFs were able to stop the clashes, kill ten militiamen, and arrest 281 others without the assistance of US forces.

In addition, SCIRI Badr forces and Al-Mahdi army did not dare to step in the middle of this clash even though they could have very well become involved.

For all those people out there that are stating that Iraq is a quagmire, in a violent civil war, the US is not accomplishing anything, and should cut and run, I want to point out that ISF were called upon and stopped the clashes without US assistance. This is phenomenal. It is showing that the training of ISF is paying off and ISF are able to keep and control order in their country. Five of ten divisions now control their own battlespace after being validated by US forces. These ISF kept the peace and maintained law and order.

Imagine Iraq this time next year after the government has been in power for over a year and more ISF divisions are validated. Will the US begin to become more passive observers in Iraq relegated to only teaching, coaching, and mentoring ISF? Not only are ISF leading the fight in several provinces, but they are also securing the peace by themselves in several other provinces.

Iraq is not a quagmire. Different Iraqi factions are vying for control of different areas as the new government is asserting control; however, Iraq is not in a civil war. The US is accomplishing a great deal in Iraq as this case shows. Now is precisely the wrong time to cut and run.

Things that make you go Hmmm-UNIFIL Press Releases

The 22 Aug 06 Telegraph online addition had an article about Hezbollah forcing its way into an UNIFIL compound to bury its dead.

It is interesting to note that UNIFIL press releases from 22 Aug and 23 Aug do not mention this incident as a violation of the ceasefire, but however mention Israeli overflights in helicopters and jets as violations.

Status on the Global War on Terror

A lot of people have commented about whether the “Global War on Terror” should actually be called the “Global War on Terror”. Is it really global? Can nation war against terror or should it be policed? Should nations provide military assets to fight the fight? Should the war be directed at specific nation states or terrorist groups? How long will the “Long War” be?

In November 2001, President Bush made the following statement.

"Over time it's going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity," he said. "You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror."
He also iterated,

"A coalition partner must do more than just express sympathy; a coalition partner must perform,"
One of the great battles that President Bush has undertaken on is to get other nations to use all instruments of national power, namely Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic (commonly referred to as DIME) focused against the enemy.

Early on in GWOT, many industrial nations successfully used two of the four instruments of national power (diplomatic and economic) to suppress, hinder, and/or cripple terrorist networks and activities. However, many nations did not want to use their militaries to take the fight to the terrorists. In addition, most nations, to include the US, have not engaged in Information operations so as to not upset their Muslim constituents.

During the Afghanistan war (the first front in GWOT), mostly American and British forces with the assistance of host nation entities took the fight to the Taliban and Al Qaeda. While several countries expressed “sympathy” most were unwilling to commit military forces; especially given the disastrous Russian defeat at the hands of the Afghanistanis a decade before.

However, by routing the Taliban and Al Qaeda swiftly and engaging NATO early, President Bush was able to get several European nations to join the fight militarily. As of 31 July 2006, 36 NATO and non-NATO nations have 18,500 forces deployed in Afghanistan and are taking the fight to the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the southern regions. There is not a resurgence of Taliban in Afghanistan. Instead, the fight is now being taken to the southern part of Afghanistan. It is this coalition that can keep up the fight for the long term that will ensure a free and democratic Afghanistan. President Bush recognized long ago that GWOT would be a “Long War” and America would need the assistance of other countries for the long fight ahead. By successfully engaging NATO and non-NATO European governments, he has set the stage to free up US forces for operations in Iraq and beyond to accomplish his Middle East Initiative.

Most importantly, President Bush has gotten 36 other nations to use another instrument of national power, their military. These nations now have a dog in the fight and are committed to fighting GWOT. They are no longer just sympathizing; they are actively bringing the fight to the enemy. They are performing. It is one thing to see another nation attacked or to let the police forces in your country deal domestically with terrorists as you go on with your day-to-day life. It is entirely another thing to have your army on the front lines in foreign countries fighting the enemy directly, stabilizing a society, and reconstructing a country that has been ransacked by terrorists. The stories of their soldiers will be brought back to their countries where the information war will, over time, be fought against not only the terrorists abroad, but also at home and against ambivalence among its citizens.

Iraq (the second front in GWOT), is a much larger and harder mission, especially given the fact it is bordered by two countries intent of its failure and has three distinct religious/ethnic groups vying for control of it. However, there too, President Bush has maintained of coalition of 27 countries continuing to use their instruments of national power. One thing that Iraq has taught terrorists is the coalitions are in it for the long term despite egregious acts of barbarism committed in the name of Allah. While some countries have lost their will, most have not.

Slowly but surely, Iraqi police and security forces are gaining the upper hand on terrorists. Slowly but surely, Iraqis are seeing democracy take hold. Slowly but surely, terrorists are losing their sympathizers. Slowly but surely, the graft in Iraqi politics is cleansing itself. All people in the Middle East are seeing what the caliphate has in store for them if they so choose that route. This is a significant informational victory. While victory has not yet been secured in Iraq, it is inching closer everyday despite the forces arrayed against it.

Lebanon (the third front in GWOT) is a blessing in disguise. While a crushing defeat of Hezbollah by Israel would have weakened Iran and Syria, it would not have brought these regimes down with it. Iran and Syria were able to stay on the sidelines during the Lebanon-Israeli war. It is a blessing for the people of Lebanon that they saw what allowing a terrorist group to exist in their national border would bring them. It is a blessing in that France has now brought itself to the forefront in GWOT. While trying to backtrack on its sponsorship of Resolution 1701, Lebanon and the UN are looking for France to commit troops on the ground to secure the fragile peace that now exists.

France is the last industrialized nation to commit its Soldiers to GWOT. Up to this time, it has not been performing nor sympathizing. It has been a neutral player, not wanting to incite protests from Muslims at home nor venture beyond its shores to militarily assist in GWOT. It may now be forced to commit. Providing a large force in Lebanon, it will have no chance but to commit to GWOT for the long term. Its frontline enemy will be Hezbollah, supported in the background by Syria and Iran. France, for its part, is using diplomacy very well prior to committing its military. It secured a peace and is now getting the UN to commit to a robust set of Rules of Engagement (ROE) to ensure it is not the sitting duck it was in 1983. It is diplomatically getting the UN to commit to GWOT; something America has not been able to do for five years. At this point, all Lebanon, Israel, and the US have to do it to continue apply pressure, France will do the rest.

Russia is a necessary ally not unlike WWII. It is battling terrorist to its south with a ruthlessness that would not be tolerated in the West. China is still waiting in the wings not wanting to support US hegemony nor loose its influence. For that it will pay dearly in the future. Germany will remain an industrial base for the EU to continue to fight terror abroad. The stain of WWII will prevents its military from being on the front lines in GWOT.

So to answer the questions posed above.

Is it really global? It wasn’t, but it is starting to be as more and more nations are committing their militaries to fight GWOT. France is the last western industrialized nation to hold out on committing forces.

Can nations war against terror or should it be policed? Both, it is policed domestically and fought violently abroad.

Should nations provide military assets to fight the fight? They are beginning to realize that they can either fight terrorists now on their own territory or later at home. This reason alone is why China will pay dearly in the future.

Should the war be directed at specific nation states or terrorist groups? At nations when nations are overtly sponsoring terrorism like in Afghanistan and Iraq. At terrorists groups when covert sponsorship prevails like in Lebanon.

How long will the “Long War” be? President Bush in five short years has been able to assemble western industrialized nations’ militaries for the upcoming battle while they still have a chance to fight the enemy on his own soil. Roosevelt and Churchill were not able to accomplish this in WWII. By the time Allied Forces were assembled, a Normandy invasion was needed to gain a foothold against Hitler. This time, forces are assembled and are employing all instruments of national power to prevent an Al Qaeda or Iranian caliphate from taking over the Middle East which would undoubtedly bring us to unlimited, global warfare, the likes of which the world has not seen since WWII.

So how long will the “Long War” be? As we slowly attrite terrorists and their sympathizers in their own countries, it will be at least another decade to bring peace to the Middle East and a generation to totally wipe terrorism out while still letting our citizens enjoy the freedoms of democracy. If, in the process of being attrited, either Iran or Al Qaeda goes nuclear, it will be a much shorter, but invariably more violent and messier war, not only in the Middle East, but also on the home front.

Interesting Analysis of Assad's Words

Reading Haaretz provides confirmation of Assad's failure to attain his strategic objectives with regards to the war in Lebanon.

First paragraph of Haaretz article frames issue.

"Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday rejected Israeli demands for the deployment of international troops on the Lebanese-Syrian border to stop what Israel says is the smuggling of arms to Hezbollah."

According to advance excerpts of an interview to be aired by Dubai Television on Wednesday, Assad stated,

"This would be a withdrawal of Lebanese sovereignty and a hostile position."
Hold on. If Lebanon wants UN forces along border to help it police arms smuggling (from Syria), how would this violate Lebanese sovereignity and be hostile to Lebanon. Quite possibly, Assad is thinking but not saying,

"This would be a withdrawal of Syrian sovereignty over Lebanon and a hostile position,"
But, Lebanon is not sovereign terrority of Syria. The murder of Harari resulting in the Cedar Revolution made sure of that fact. Later, Assad stated,

"There will be no drawing of the border in the Shaba Farms before the Israeli forces leave it,"
There is only two reasons for Assad to touch on the Shaba Farms issue:

  • He believes it belongs to Syria (which it did prior to Israel's capture of it during war), and
  • He will not be able to negotiate with Israel to keep Shaba Farms for return of the Golan Heights.
This is interesting to note, especially given the fact that he is supporting Hezbollah, but does not believe in what Hezbollah is stating--nameley, Shaba Farms belongs to Lebanon.

Finally, Assad states,

"Hezbollah's victory was enough to teach Israel a lesson, that the isolation of Syria has failed and that anyone who tries to isolate Syria isolates himself from basic issues."
Forgetting about who was victorious (that was posted earlier), Assad speaks of being "isolated".

One of the significant victories gained by Israel and the US in this war was the isolation of Syria with regards to Lebanon. They did not request nor need Syria to gain a ceasefire in Lebanon. Assad supported the kidnapping which resulted in the war in the hopes that he would be needed to regain the peace, regain a foothold into Lebanon, and possibly win concessions from the Israelis over the Golan Heighs; thereby ending Syrian isolation.

But instead, he remains isolated, is less in control of Lebanon, and still does not have the Shaba Farms nor the Golan Heights. Syria gained nothing from this war. Since this was a proxy war for Iran and Syria, it is noted from Syria's dictator himself, he did not meet any of his his strategic objectives.

As stated before, while not war was a knockout for the Israelis (which it should have been), this war was definitely not a victory for Syria either.

It is nice to see this fact proven from the dictator of Syria himself.

Now let's see how Iran reacts in the near future now that its main deterrent has been exposed for the insignificance it is.

The end results of this war are getting better and better each day.

Where's the outrage?

Middle East Newsline (MENL) points out that Hezbollah fighters are moving back into Southern Lebanon with weapons clearly displayed. MENL also points out, "They are quite open about it," a source who tracks Hizbullah movements said. "The Lebanese know it and even our soldiers at their posts in Lebanon see them."

If Israeli Soldiers see it, and Lebanese Soldiers see it, you have to figure UNIFIL forces see it and are reporting it to the UN, yet there is no UN press release announcing,

Mr. Annan said violations of Security Council Resolution 1701 such as the Israeli raid today Hezbollah's failure to disarm in Southern Lebanon and Lebanon not preventing it “endanger the fragile calm that was reached after much negotiation and undermine the authority of the Government of Lebanon.”

even though on 16 Aug 06, UNIFIL reported,

An exchange of fire took place between the IDF and Hezbollah in the area of Haddathah in the central sector yesterday afternoon. UNIFIL patrols, which were on the spot shortly after, observed four dead bodies of Hezbollah members which were later taken away in an ambulance.
Now, how did an exchange of "fire" happen between the IDF and Hezbollah if Hezbollah had disarmed in accordance with paragraph 8 of UN Resolution 1701?

Obviously, UNIFIL observed an "exchange of fire" between IDF Soldiers and armed Hezbollah, yet nothing from Kofi Annan about Hezbollah violating UN Resolution 1701. Interesting.

Lebanon is trying to exert its control over Hezbollah.

According to Al Jazeera, Elias Murr, Lebanon's defense minister, said "that anyone who violated a cease-fire deal by firing rockets into Israel from Lebanon would be arrested and tried by a military court."

Kudos for Lebanon. At least they are standing up in the face of adversity and trying to remain free. I wish I can say the same for France.

The article goes on to state how, "France is particularly unhappy that the UN mandate allows Unifil to use force only in circumstances of direct self-defence, and not to enforce the resolution as it had sought", but that "Chirac has sought to muster contributions from countries such as Italy and Turkey while seeking to clarify the UN force's mandate and rules of engagement before committing any more troops."

I find this interesting. France had a large part in drafting UN Resolution 1701. Now they are concerned about its mandate and rules of engagement. Additionally, committing only 200 of the 2500 to 4000 troops originally promised, they are trying to get Italy and Turkey to send troops they are unwilling to commit to keep the peace. If that ain't cowardous, I don't know what is.

There is hope for Lebanese democracy, but not for France's future.

Who violated UN Resolution 1701 - Israel, Lebanon, Hezbollah, or Kofi Annan?

Maybe its just me, but the following statement attributed to Kofi Annan at the UN website seems severely lopsided.

Mr. Annan said violations of Security Council Resolution 1701 such as the Israeli raid today “endanger the fragile calm that was reached after much negotiation and undermine the authority of the Government of Lebanon.” Mr. Annan called on all parties “to respect strictly the arms embargo, exercise maximum restraint, avoid provocative actions and display responsibility in implementing resolution 1701.”
I guess selective enforcement is once again in order at the UN. Let's review.

  • Lebanon violated UN Resolution 1701 paragraph 8 by not ordering the disarmanent of Hezbollah.
  • Lebanon violated UN Resolution 1701 paragragh 14 by not securing its borders.
  • Israel, in accordance with UN Resolution 1701 paragraph 15 conducted a successful raid on arms shipments coming into Lebanon.
  • After the successful raid, Hezbollah violated UN Resolution 1701 paragraph 1 by attacked the Israeli troops.
I am not sure what document Kofi Annan is looking at to make his statement above, but surely it is not UN Resolution 1701. We can thank Mr. Bolton for ensuring that he coverned all bases in drafting this resolution. The problem we still have in the UN is people like Mr. Annan that don't adhere to approved resolutions. The resolution may not be worth the paper it is printed on from Hezbollah's or Mr. Annan's point of view, but it goes a long way to protecting Israel's right of self-defense. While I would not expect Hezbollah to adhere to the UN Resolution since it is a terrorist group, I would expect the Secretary-General to the UN to adhere to a binding UN Resolution, unless of course he supports terrorist groups like Hezbollah.

Text of UN Resolution 1701 is below for confirmation.

Resolution 1701 in paragragh 1 - Calls for a full cessation of hostilities based upon, in particular, the immediate cessation by Hezbollah of all attacks and the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations;

Resolution 1701 in paragragh 8 - Calls for Israel and Lebanon to support a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution based on the following principles and elements:
  • Full respect for the Blue Line by both parties;
  • security arrangements to prevent the resumption of hostilities, including the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani river of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL as authorised in paragraph 11, deployed in this area;
  • Full implementation of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, and of resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), that require the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state;
  • No foreign forces in Lebanon without the consent of its government;
  • No sales or supply of arms and related materiel to Lebanon except as authorized by its government;
  • Provision to the United Nations of all remaining maps of land mines in Lebanon in Israel's possession;

Resolution 1701 in paragragh 14 - Calls upon the government of Lebanon to secure its borders and other entry points to prevent the entry in Lebanon without its consent of arms or related materiel and requests Unifil as authorised in paragraph 11 to assist the government of Lebanon at its request;

Resolution 1701 in paragragh 15 - Decides further that all states shall take the necessary measures to prevent, by their nationals or from their territories or using their flag vessels or aircraft;

  • a. the sale or supply to any entity or individual in Lebanon of arms and related materiel of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and spare parts for the aforementioned, whether or not originating in their territories, and;

  • b. the provision to any entity or individual in Lebanon of any technical training or assistance related to the provision, manufacture, maintenance or use of the items listed in subparagraph (a) above, except that these prohibitions shall not apply to arms, related material, training or assistance authorised by the government of Lebanon or by Unifil as authorised in paragraph 11;