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Israel/Lebanon Conflict (Split from 'Cyprus, Refugees...'

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  • Oren
    replied
    And yet Olmert is still in office. He might be lousy at running wars, but he's damn good when it comes to politics.

    Leave a comment:


  • David Mosley
    replied
    One hates to say 'I told you so', but, well... I told you so.

    Israel cabinet in emergency talks

    The Israeli cabinet is holding an extraordinary session to discuss its response to a damning report on the handling of the 2006 Lebanon conflict.


    One cabinet minister has quit after the study accused Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of judgement errors and there are calls for Mr Olmert to follow suit.

    Avigdor Yitzhaki, the chairman and co-founder of Mr Olmert's Kadima party, is among those demanding he resign.

    But Mr Olmert is resisting, cautioning against a hasty response to the report.

    "To all those who are in haste in order to take advantage of the report for political profit, I tell them not to be hasty," Mr Olmert warned at the start of the emergency meeting.

    Mr Yitzhaki told Israel Radio the prime minister had to go so Kadima "can continue with his mandate".

    According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, Mr Yitzhaki has said he will resign himself if Mr Olmert does not step down in the course of the day.

    Polls demand

    Defence Minister Amir Peretz, who was also severely criticised by the report, is considering stepping down, Israel Army Radio says.

    Aides close to Mr Peretz were quoted as saying that he is thinking about resigning and could do so "within hours".

    Newspaper polls published on Wednesday suggest that the vast majority of Israelis want Mr Olmert to leave office.

    A poll in the mass circulation Yediot Aharonot had 65% of Israelis questioned wanting Mr Olmert out, compared with just 10% who thought he should stay.

    A survey in the left-of-centre Haaretz daily had 68% calling for his resignation and 40% backing early parliamentary elections.

    A poll published in the Maariv daily put the percentage of people wanting Mr Olmert to quit even higher, at 73%.

    The six-month government probe, led by retired judge Eliahu Winograd, accused Mr Olmert of "serious failure in exercising judgement, responsibility and prudence" during the war against Hezbollah.

    It also accused Defence Minister Amir Peretz and then chief of staff General Dan Halutz of serious failures, but stopped short of calling for any resignations.

    Confidence crisis

    Speaking on Wednesday, Mr Yitzhaki said that since there are no elections in sight Mr Olmert must step aside: "The Kadima party must choose its chief for the three years that remain for the (current) legislature."

    "A leader can only lead a public where he has, firstly, legitimacy and its confidence. The prime minister should act responsibly and resign to allow a new coalition to be formed by Kadima."

    On Tuesday cabinet minister Eitan Cabel, a member of the Labour Party, the main partner in the ruling coalition with Mr Olmert's Kadima party, became the first member of the Mr Olmert's government to resign over the report.

    "I cannot sit in a government headed by Ehud Olmert," Mr Cabel said, calling for Mr Olmert to resign immediately.

    Mr Cabel, who did not hold a portfolio, said Mr Olmert should resign as he had "lost the trust of the people" following the investigation.

    Mr Olmert is already suffering unprecedented unpopularity levels for an Israeli prime minister and is expected to face calls for his resignation at a mass rally planned for Thursday in Tel Aviv.

    About 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis were killed after Israel launched a 34-day war against Hezbollah militants who had captured two Israeli soldiers.

    The two soldiers remain in captivity.
    Those final six words are the most damning, needless to say.

    Leave a comment:


  • Oren
    replied
    Thanks for the above article, David!

    Commentary in MA'ARIV
    Endless blunders have been revealed in this war... Politicians' statements ("Nasrallah will not forget Peretz", "the face of the Middle East has changed") have been revealed as haughty, arrogant statements. But one does not set up a commission of inquiry over arrogant statements. The army's assessments had been wrong ("give us only a few more days", "the Air Force is capable of eliminating the rocket threat")... He who wants voodoo ceremonies, let him set up commissions. He who wants to change things, let him deal with the blunders: a systematic, focused examination of the functioning of many in the army and the home front.
    This particular commentary is by Ben-Dror Yemini, whose article I've previously translated (well, at least tried to!) and posted on this very thread.

    Commentary in HA'ARETZ
    Ehud Olmert stepped into Sharon's extra large shoes without having the qualities of a true leader. He tried to talk like Churchill, but the Chamberlain in him crept through. In his first speech to the nation, he pledged to wipe out Hezbollah and stop the rockets from falling on Israel. In his second speech he promised that his achievements would change the face of the Middle East... Since, I assume, Olmert didn't pull this stuff out of a hat, my guess is that the chief-of-staff convinced him. [Israel Defence Forces chief-of-staff Dan] Halutz was the leader, and Olmert was led... The man who failed, who deluded us, who was overconfident and transmitted the disease to the government, is the chief-of-staff. He should be the one to go.
    I agree. I've never liked the rhetorics used by Halutz, even prior to the war. And, in addition, there's this:

    http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/...ain/index.html
    Israel's military chief of staff is fending off criticism and calls for his resignation in the wake of news he dumped stock at the conflict's outset. Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, the head of the IDF, admitted selling about $28,000 worth of his stocks within three hours of Hezbollah's kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers -- the action that sparked the conflict. Israel's stock market slid sharply in the days after fighting erupted. In a news conference in Tel Aviv, Halutz said the stock sale was unrelated to the outbreak of war and criticized the disclosure of his personal financial information.
    Last edited by Oren; 08-21-2006, 12:45 PM.

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  • David Mosley
    replied
    Interesting report on tonight's PM programme on BBC Radio 4 about the backlash that Ehud Olmert, his government and Kadima are experiencing in the aftermath of the Lebanon campaign.

    Similar things are reported on the BBC News website:

    Israeli papers turn on Olmert, army


    An onslaught of criticism greets the Israeli government in the country's press, a day after the cease-fire in Lebanon between Hezbollah and the Israeli military came into force.
    Commentators note that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert failed to achieve the objectives that he had himself set out at the start of the fighting, primarily the release of the two Israeli soldiers abducted by Hezbollah and the destruction of Hezbollah's fighting capacity.
    Some papers focus their attack on the Israel Defence Forces and, in particular, Chief-of-Staff Dan Halutz, who is accused of overconfidence and of failing Israel.

    HA'ARETZ
    On the basis of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's speech at the Knesset yesterday, it appears that the sense of failure felt by the public has yet to permeate the government. Olmert referred to the Israel Defence Forces' "action" as a move that resulted in a strategic change in the Middle East. This statement comes before it has become clear that the cease-fire is holding, that the abducted soldiers have been released, that the Lebanese army has been deployed in the south, and that Hezbollah is indeed being disarmed and is not replenishing its arsenal... If the prime minister's speech signals the start of an era of demagogy instead of self-examination, then the conclusion must be that he is not endowed with the necessary humility and courage to lead the essential shake-up of the system.

    Commentary in MA'ARIV
    Endless blunders have been revealed in this war... Politicians' statements ("Nasrallah will not forget Peretz", "the face of the Middle East has changed") have been revealed as haughty, arrogant statements. But one does not set up a commission of inquiry over arrogant statements. The army's assessments had been wrong ("give us only a few more days", "the Air Force is capable of eliminating the rocket threat")... He who wants voodoo ceremonies, let him set up commissions. He who wants to change things, let him deal with the blunders: a systematic, focused examination of the functioning of many in the army and the home front.

    Commentary in YEDIOT AHARONOT
    For the first time, it will be said that the generals stuck a knife in the back of politicians and not vice versa. What will the army do? How will it shake off the responsibility? Let me guess. The army will claim with the polite help of flocks of politicians and media from the right that its "moral values" worked against it... [That] the politicians were ready for an historic victory at any price but the army prevented this because of its natural gentleness.

    Commentary in JERUSALEM POST
    We do not need a commission [of inquiry] to know what happened or what has to happen. The Olmert government has failed on every level. The Olmert government must go. The Knesset must vote no confidence in this government and new elections must be carried out as soon as the law permits. If the Knesset hesitates in taking this required step, then the people of Israel must take to the streets in mass demonstrations and demand that our representatives send Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defence Minister Amir Peretz and their comrades out to pasture.

    Commentary in HA'ARETZ
    Ehud Olmert stepped into Sharon's extra large shoes without having the qualities of a true leader. He tried to talk like Churchill, but the Chamberlain in him crept through. In his first speech to the nation, he pledged to wipe out Hezbollah and stop the rockets from falling on Israel. In his second speech he promised that his achievements would change the face of the Middle East... Since, I assume, Olmert didn't pull this stuff out of a hat, my guess is that the chief-of-staff convinced him. [Israel Defence Forces chief-of-staff Dan] Halutz was the leader, and Olmert was led... The man who failed, who deluded us, who was overconfident and transmitted the disease to the government, is the chief-of-staff. He should be the one to go.

    Commentary in YEDIOT AHARONOT
    Ehud Olmert gave his version of the war and this version, which was presented at the Knesset plenum, will become the official version that his advisers, lawyers, associates and supporters will present when they try to prevent the establishment of a commission of inquiry, to stabilise the coalition and prevent unrest in the Kadima party... It was an expected speech, yet important for its timing: when all are attentive to messages, when public sentiments have not completely crystallised. That's why Olmert turned yesterday to all with feelings of thank you and a big embrace.

    BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/mid...st/4793695.stm
    Seems people feel that despite the destruction waged on Lebanon the army - and therefore the Govt. failed to achieve their military objectives.

    Meanwhile, Iran steps up its nuclear rhetoric:

    Iran reply may herald new confrontation
    By Paul Reynolds
    World affairs correspondent, BBC News website


    Just as the Middle East reels from the impact of the Hezbollah-Israel war, a new confrontation involving Iran might be about to break out.

    Iran is expected to announce on Tuesday its formal reply to the demand by the UN Security Council that it suspend its enrichment of uranium, pending negotiations about Tehran's nuclear plans.

    A fairly large clue as to Iran's position came from its supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, who said on Monday that Iran would "continue on its path".

    This new potential crisis has come at a dangerous time, with relations between the West and the Muslim world already extremely sensitive and fraught.

    Iran is buoyed by what it sees as its ally Hezbollah's victory against Israel, and in President Ahmadinejad it has a political leader who appears to welcome confrontation with the West.

    It is therefore in no mood to compromise over enrichment, though some had hoped that it might be able to announce a so-called "technical pause" to allow talks to start.

    If its answer on suspension is "No", the United States will press for diplomatic and economic sanctions. These would need a new vote in the Security Council, and in the past Russia and China, both veto holders, have opposed sanctions.

    Possible military action

    Beyond the issue of sanctions, however, there are experts who fear that confrontation could in due course mean military action.

    Mark Fitzpatrick, senior fellow in non-proliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, said: "This won't drag on for years. There are two deadlines of sorts at the end of 2008. That is the earliest date by which some people think Iran could acquire a nuclear weapon. I think the date is more like 2010.

    "And on November 2008, there is the US presidential election. President Bush will be inclined not to let this problem be passed on. There will be a growing mood in the US administration to take other action."

    Asked if Israel's problems in disarming Hezbollah showed the limitations of air power and might therefore make an attack on Iran less likely, he replied: "Israel's actions make an attack on Iran more likely as it removes one of Iran's retaliatory tools, an attack on Israel by Hezbollah. This has now been pre-empted."

    This view echoes to some extent one put forward in the New Yorker recently by Seymour Hersh, who argued that the attack on Hezbollah was a dry-run for one on Iran. But you do not have to accept that theory to conclude that the military option against Iran is not inconceivable.

    Sanctions first

    In the shorter term, however, the emphasis will be on sanctions.

    On 31 July, the Security Council (in Resolution 1696) gave Iran a month in which to comply with the earlier demands of the UN's nuclear agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

    The IAEA said that Iran should suspend enrichment, reconsider the construction of a heavy-water nuclear reactor, ratify and implement a stricter inspection regime already agreed, and co-operate fully with the IAEA inspectors.

    Some countries can have access to high nuclear technology, the others are told they can produce fruit juice and pears!
    Ali Larijani

    The IAEA will report on Iranian compliance at the end of August. If there is none, then the next stage will be reached.

    Any sanctions will have to be diplomatic or economic in nature. This is because resolution 1696 states that they would be authorised under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the UN Charter. This says that measures cannot be ones "involving the use of armed force".

    The US and its allies (including the UK, and on this occasion probably France and Germany as well) fear that Iran will one day use the enrichment technology not just for nuclear fuel but for a nuclear bomb, though Iran says that is not its intention.

    The US will press for travel restrictions to be imposed on Iranians involved in the nuclear programme, and for a ban on the sale of goods that could be used in the nuclear field and on dual-use items.

    If these do not get through the council, a so-called "coalition of the willing" might be formed by those countries wanting to go further. They might also consider a ban on investing in Iran's oil and gas industry, a restriction the US has itself imposed since 1979.

    Sanctions impact minimal

    Frankly, few if anyone involved in contacts with Iran over the past few years think that sanctions will be effective. Iran has lived with American sanctions for 27 years and these have made no difference.

    It is true that this time, the US and the European Union have offered incentives for Iran in the form of a lifting of some American restrictions and for help with nuclear technology, and even consideration of an end to the enrichment moratorium once confidence is restored.

    But Iran seems determined to press on, resting on its rights to enrich under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (known as the NPT) and turning the whole issue into one in which a developing nation is being forced to abandon a modern technology by richer countries that already have it.

    In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, chief Iranian negotiator Ali Larijani put it this way: "We don't see why we should stop the scientific research of our country.

    "We understand why this is very sensitive. But they [the West] are categorising countries. Some countries can have access to high nuclear technology, the others are told they can produce fruit juice and pears!"
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/mid...st/5271574.stm
    Last edited by David Mosley; 08-21-2006, 02:04 PM.

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  • Pietro_Mercurios
    replied
    Originally posted by Morgan Kane
    May be if Israel resigned to pay the price of peace, his internationa position would be bettered .......
    Unfortunately, they no longer believe in the need to negotiate.

    Why should Europe and the UN simply fall in with their plans? It could be that Israel and the US intended to drag Europe and the UN into this conflict, by landing them, under armed and with no clear mandate to take control of the situation, smack dab in the middle of the South Lebanon disaster zone.

    This scenario has been on the cards, almost since the beginning of Israel's campaign.

    It's a poisoned chalice.

    Leave a comment:


  • Morgan Kane
    replied
    May be if Israel resigned to pay the price of peace, his internationa position would be bettered .......

    Leave a comment:


  • Pietro_Mercurios
    replied
    Originally posted by Oren Douek
    So what's the alternative? We all know the Lebanese army by itself is not up to the task, and it would never cooperate with IDF in fear of being labeled a traitor (see the story of the South Lebanon Army). It's either a cease-fire agreement that makes sure Hezbollah is out of the south Lebanon and unable to fire rockets at Israel, or it's a continuation of hostilities for several more months. And even then some force will be needed in the area to fill the vacuum - and that force shouldn't be Hezbollah, or Syria or Israel (who withdrew from Lebanon in 2000, hoping never to be back).
    Time to tell Israel and the US to take a running jump. Jerry practically ran up the stairs of Professor Hira's Lear jet.

    "The IT business suits you Hira, Love." Laughed Jerry. "Any chance of a lift to China? I hear the East is red braces, these days."

    Leave a comment:


  • Mespheber
    replied
    I suggest Serbia. After all, they have the experience of this kind of conflict.

    Leave a comment:


  • Oren
    replied
    Originally posted by Pietro_Mercurios
    Exactly.

    Israel creates this mess, for whatever reason and then expects the UN and Europe to step in and act as a buffer, but on Israel's terms.

    No. No. The UN and Europe should just say, No!
    So what's the alternative? We all know the Lebanese army by itself is not up to the task, and it would never cooperate with IDF in fear of being labeled a traitor (see the story of the South Lebanon Army). It's either a cease-fire agreement that makes sure Hezbollah is out of the south Lebanon and unable to fire rockets at Israel, or it's a continuation of hostilities for several more months. And even then some force will be needed in the area to fill the vacuum - and that force shouldn't be Hezbollah, or Syria or Israel (who withdrew from Lebanon in 2000, hoping never to be back).
    Last edited by Oren; 08-20-2006, 09:12 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mespheber
    replied
    It depends mostly of each one involvement. In my case, no matter I'm jewish, I don't give a shit about the war issue. I feel sad for civilians on both sides, but I don't think no one has enough informations to choose a side. Israel can't let Hezbollah threataning its population. U.N. never supported Lebannon to get riddance of these m*therfuckers. Now they do and it is to see if Lebanon governement really wants to.

    Leave a comment:


  • voilodian ghagnasdiak
    replied
    I hope that this thread doesnt develop into a massive, centrifugal, insult, accusation and propaganda flinging leviathan similar to the one being used by Israel and Hezbollah at present.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mespheber
    replied
    It's normal that Israel wants an agreement in its own term. Maybe better than in american ones...

    Leave a comment:


  • Pietro_Mercurios
    replied
    Originally posted by johneffay
    ...

    Speaking of which:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/mid...st/5263616.stm

    Yet another unsavoury aspect of this sorry affair is the way in which the Israelis blow the hell out of Lebanon's infrastructure and then we get to pay for the reconstruction.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/mid...st/5263616.stm

    ...

    The director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, has warned that cluster bombs with high failure rates "effectively become anti-personnel landmines", and that their use in civilian areas breaks a legal ban on indiscriminate attacks.

    In response, the Israeli military told the BBC: "All the weapons and munitions used by the Israel Defence Forces are legal under international law and their use conforms to international standards."
    Sounds like they're describing food additives, or automobile parts, doesn't it.

    However, that neat little rider doesn't add that these weapons are not approved for use as anti personnel weapons, to be used upon civilian populations. Just because the Americans have been doing it in Iraq, that doesn't make it right.

    Leave a comment:


  • Pietro_Mercurios
    replied
    Originally posted by johneffay
    At which point the Israelis break out the cluster bombs again...

    ...
    The UN presence that's already in Lebanon hasn't stopped them so far, so what would stop them from dropping them when the UN was there in force?

    And then blaming it on the evil doings of Hizbullah/Iran/Syria/Other as the whim of the Military and Media spin doctors took them.

    Leave a comment:


  • johneffay
    replied
    Originally posted by Pietro_Mercurios
    No. No. The UN and Europe should just say, No!
    At which point the Israelis break out the cluster bombs again...

    Speaking of which:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/mid...st/5263616.stm

    Yet another unsavoury aspect of this sorry affair is the way in which the Israelis blow the hell out of Lebanon's infrastructure and then we get to pay for the reconstruction.

    Leave a comment:

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