Tag Archives: Hezbollah

Could recent Iran explosions be an inside job?

In my last post I wondered aloud whether Israel might be behind several recent explosions that appear to have been directed at Iran’s weapons programs. It seemed a rather obvious possibility, barring more precise knowledge.

But then a few days ago someone called my attention to an analysis by columnist Caroline Glick which presents detailed information suggesting the attacks could be internal sabotage by the anti-regime “Green” movement. Now wouldn’t that be something!?

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UN_syrianprotest_RS Meanwhile, it’s hard to keep up with all the shifting alignments in that part of the world occasioned by events blithely referred to as “the Arab Spring.” The biggest sore spot right now appears to be Syria, and it’s not looking like dictator Bashar al-Assad is going to be there much longer. Europe is against him, the US is pretty sure it’s against him, and significantly the Arab League has also turned against him. Even the UN has finally decided the situation there is outright civil war. (Think Libya a few months ago.)

But don’t write him off just yet. Russia has recently given indications via diplomatic statements backed up by military moves that they intend to support the present regime, with muscle if necessary, and Iran (weren’t we just speaking of them?) continues to stick by its old buddy. Russia and Iran are major players, whether we like it or not.

But then there’s also Turkey. You’d think Turkey would look at a map & see it’s not in a good position to simultaneously take on most of its neighbors, but it’s just not that simple in this part of the world. Turkey has been jockeying for prime influence among the Arab states for quite a while now (the Turks knowing full well that they themselves are not Arab) and therefore is acting prudently in seizing an opportunity to squeeze out Iran. I don’t know what it thinks it will do with Russia if push comes to shove, but the two were never buddies in the first place.

Nasrallah_Surfaces_RS And don’t forget Hezbollah. Now there’s an interesting situation. Hezbollah owes its existence to Iran, and its continued well being to Syria, so it can neither afford to buck the trend nor relax in place. And for all its bluster, it still knows it’s the little guy. Simply put, it’s in the hot seat, and can’t do much but talk.

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Now south of the border, down Egypt way, we have another major concern. Last week’s elections have made it clearer than ever that what was not long ago one of the few more-or-less pro-Western states in the Middle East is now heading down hill fast into becoming another Islamist enclave. Kind of like Iran, but Sunni.

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western-asia-topographical_CR So let’s step back and look at the major pieces. In one corner, you have a sort of Russia-Syria-Iran axis (or sickle) going it alone against not only Europe and the US but also against the Arab states in general. But if Syria is taken out of the picture, you have just Russia and Iran. (Forget, for the time being, North Korea and China–I’m trying to keep this simple. And sadly, Lebanon just doesn’t have any say in the matter.) What do they want with each other? Plenty, no doubt, but that has to await another chapter.

You have Turkey all by itself, trying to pretend to be friends with whoever suits its purposes for the moment, but not actually knowing who that is.

You still have a reasonably stable region consisting of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States, who are also for the moment OK with having Turkey for a friend.

Iraq is too busy sorting itself out to have much influence right now, but don’t expect that to last forever.  Yemen is also presently trying to get its bearings, and once it does, it will likely fade back into the recesses of world consciousness.

Lastly (for the sake of this discussion) you have the emerging Islamist states of North Africa—what we’ve been calling Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, and which still go by those names, if only because they themselves don’t yet know who they really are.

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So with all this going on, you’d think that nobody would want to bother with itty-bitty non-Arab, non-Muslim, non-Islamist Israel, wouldn’t you?

You’d think.


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Here’s the man who *did* predict the “Arab Spring” turmoil:

Chuck-DeVore-Speaking_RS In a post last week, I pointed out the apparent lack of foresight on the part of world leaders with regard to the widespread uprisings we’re seeing in the Arab world. I had not heard or read of any major player who saw it coming.

Until now. I just saw a Twitter entry posted by Act for Israel linking to a book review in Human Events of a work by California Republican primary Senate candidate Chuck DeVore, citing his accurate prediction of some of the events before they erupted in January.

I’ve long been an admirer of DeVore and felt he was the only truly qualified candidate running in 2010. More importantly though, he also offers insights into what’s coming next. I suggest you take a peak on his latest predictions in The Next Middle East War.

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Filed under From my mailbox, News snippets

Who planted the mechanical bull in the Middle East?

797_mechanical_20bull Not that Middle Eastern matters have ever been a smooth ride, but this past couple of weeks have been a tad wilder than usual, in my humble opinion. I’ve been watching from the sidelines since my last post, but I figure by now it should be OK to say something, even if it isn’t something conclusive.

Let’s start with the collapse of the Hariri government in Lebanon a week ago. While Prime Minister Saad Hariri was in Washington, Hezbollah announced that it was pulling out of the Lebanese governing coalition. My initial response was to think, ‘don’t let the screen door hit you on the way out,’ but I knew better than to really take so simplistic view. It’s a shame, though.

nasrallah_ahmedinijad Of course it all has to do with the Shiite terror party’s well founded fears of the results of the Rafiq Hariri assassination investigation, but it is not immediately clear what advantage Hezbollah sees in the move. The best answer I’ve seen so far comes from JCPA: it could very well be that it is not Hezbollah’s idea at all, but Iran’s, and its real purpose is to send Washington (note the timing) a message that Tehran, not Washington or Beirut,  truly calls the shots in Lebanon. That’s not a good thing. A real US president would not tolerate that.

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Iran’s jockeying for the lead in Middle Eastern affairs is bound also to be at the expense of Turkey, as this analysis lays out. Never mind that Turkey is trying hard to shoot itself in the foot without Iran’s help, by making such off the wall statements as ‘Hamas is not a terror organization.’ I heard in another place that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan was booed out of a soccer stadium over the weekend (thanks Rubinreports). One end goes up, the other end goes down.

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In the meantime, the government of Tunisia has been overthrown in a general revolt. You can read the details in many places, like here, and Iran does not appear to have had anything to do with this one, but the best comment I’ve seen comes from yesterday’s edition of Israel National News. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is said to have warned:

The current rebellion, mayhem and ensuing violence in Tunisia serves a warning against rushing into establishing the Palestinian Authority as a new Arab country without proper security guarantees…

He may have a point there, don’t you think?

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And now the government of Israel itself is feeling some significant tremors. Yesterday’s big news was Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s announcement that he is leaving the Labor Party and forming a new party with four other MKs. This by no means brings down Israel’s government in the sense of what is happening in the Arab countries (in spite of what opposition leader Tzipi Livni might say), but it is a significant development. So far it appears that Barak will stay in the government, but it’s not certain at this point, and the fate of what’s left of Labor is even more unsure. The Labor Party has been steadily decreasing in size and influence over the past several years, and this shakeup may turn out to be more of a Richter 4 or 5 than a 6 or 7, but in the understatement of one the remaining Labor MKs, “The situation is truly not simple.”

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And what would a Lineman post be without another Stuxnet update?

Did they or didn’t they? Israel, I mean. Are they the authors of the Stuxnet super virus which has thrown a monkey wrench into Iran’s nuclear program?

We’re getting closer to finding out for sure, according to the New York Times. I’m not so sure I trust the Times. No, let me rephrase that: I’m quite sure that I do not trust the Times, but that doesn’t mean they never report on anything accurately. Whether the Times article is accurate or not is already under question, but I still like to think Israel really does have something to grin about. At any rate, it’s being generally acknowledged that Iran’s efforts at making nukes have been set back at least a few more years, by which time the regime may very well have self-destructed.

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So you tell me—are we going anywhere with all this, or is it just a mechanical bull ride? Talk to y’all later.

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Now, what was I saying about offense / defense?

Both Israel and diaspora Jews have to stop playing defence and go onto the offence. Israel has nothing to be defensive about or for which it needs to apologise. It is the enemies of Israel who are promoting injustice and the denial of international law and human rights. Playing defence intrinsically cedes ground to the enemy.

For years, Israel has been playing a defensive diplomatic game, which suggests inescapably that it has a case to answer. Such diplomatic cringing has badly undermined it and hugely strengthened its enemies, who are taking advantage of such weakness over and over again.

I couple of weeks ago, I posted some lengthy comments by respected author Melanie Phillips. She is one of a growing number of voices who are sounding the alarm for Israel and its defenders to take the initiative against, as she so well puts it, “a total inversion of truth evidence and reason.”

In routine, everyday discourse history is turned on its head; logic is suspended; and an entirely false narrative is now widely accepted as unchallengeable fact. This has led to a kind of dialogue of the demented in which rational discussion is simply not possible…

For the west to suck up to its enemies while bashing its friends like this is the diplomatic version of auto-immune disease. And eventually this disease will kill it…

If you need an example of a false narrative being presented as fact, just look at Hassan Ali’s comment to my post of December 9th. Or this list of perversion after perversion, going back several years (including an incredibly inventive narrative of how the Kotel is not actually the Kotel—thanks RubinReports!). In any event, please do read Phillips’ essay The challenge of public diplomacy vis-a-vis the delegitimisation of Israel.  At first I considered pulling out a few of her more striking points, but there are so many that I’d just end up reposting the entire article. My main point here is to call attention again to the glaring need, and thankfully the beginnings of a willingness to stand up and fight.

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Another fighter whom I’ve often quoted is Caroline Glick. She also gets some hits in on this issue, pointing out that it’s not just words, it’s warfare:

Information warfare is not simply a question of competing narratives, as it is often characterized in the West. Information war is a form of warfare whose aim is to use words, symbols and images to force people to take real action. These actions can involve everything from war to terrorism to surrender…

On May 8, 2001, a group of Palestinians from a village adjacent to the Israeli community of Tekoa in Gush Etzion got their hands on two Jewish children, Koby Mandell and Yosef Ishran, from Tekoa. The two boys were bludgeoned to death with stones. The details of the butchery are unspeakable. The question is, what can make human beings butcher children? How can a person hurt a child the way that their killers hurt them? The answer is Palestinian television.

Glick goes on to outline how PA-TV is used for around the clock incitement, using doctored footage and other methods of deception.

The immediate context of Glick’s Jerusalem Post article is Hezbollah’s very real threat of a shooting war, dependent on the outcome of the Hariri assassination investigation. She uses this to underscore, as she concludes, that:

…information wars are not just about getting out the facts. Like kinetic warfare, they involve power plays, intimidation and the use of subconscious and visceral manipulation.

Israel has recently awoken to one aspect of information warfare. It has recognized the consequences of years of demonization of Israel in Europe and international organizations. But Israel has yet to awaken to the fact that it is a type of warfare and has to be countered with counter-information warfare.

Obviously this doesn’t mean that Israel should begin acting like its enemies. But what it does mean is that Israel must begin using more hard-knuckle techniques to defend itself. It must begin targeting people’s emotions as well has their minds.

For instance, when Israel is confronted by threats of lawsuits for acts of self-defense, it responds with defense attorneys… When Israel is accused of targeting Palestinian civilians, it responds by attaching legal advisers to combat units. What it should be doing instead is providing video footage of Palestinian children being trained as terrorists and exploited as human shields.

War is a dirty business. Information warfare is a dirty form of war. And if we don’t want to lose, we’d better start fighting.

I think we’ll be hearing more of this sort of thing in the near future. At least I hope so.


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Filed under Palestinian Prevarication, Perspectives

Hezbollah, Iran and Turkey as they do the hokey-pokey…

hizrally_mn_web So what, exactly, is this all about? We just found out today that Iran is taking away from Hezbollah nearly half of its financial support. If Iran is cutting off Hezbollah, it’s fine with me, but it’s still puzzling when you consider the view that Hezbollah was itself created by Iran not all that long ago, and that Iran is still the terror organization’s main provider. And even though Hezbollah has gained some level of independence from Iran (or at least a degree of autonomy) since that time, it still is difficult to interpret this move as anything short of an amputation at the knees. (No pun intended this time.)

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I haven’t talked about Stuxnet much lately, but it doesn’t appear to have gone away. On the contrary, it’s looking very much like Iran’s nuclear program is still effectively hobbled by the clever little worm, with no early fix in sight.

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Speaking of Stuxnet (sort of), it’s interesting that its apparent effectiveness has become a metaphor for other things—such as Israel’s almost desperate need for an effective way to present its case to the world. UCI has published Prof. Phyllis Chesler’s report from the trenches here.

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Ah yes, Turkey. Last time around we were contemplating the through-the-looking-glass-world notion of an apology by Israel to Turkey for last summer’s attack by Turkish mercenaries on the Egyptian-Israeli naval blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza. Someone had suggested it would be a nice way of reopening an Israeli-Turkish dialogue after the latter’s greatly appreciated assistance in putting out this month’s fires on Mt. Carmel. It all sounded very odd, and by now it has become clear that Israel intends to do no such thing. The suggestion sure did ruffle some feathers, though. I even heard tell that one MK went so far as to offer to apologize for not shooting sooner, but I won’t go there.

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Time for me to go. See y’all down the road a piece.

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