History's End

History will end only when Man does

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  • Monday, July 31, 2006

    Fidel is Dead

    Via CNN, this headline:
    Cuban President Fidel Castro is transferring power provisionally to brother Raul while he undergoes an operation, Cuban TV announces.

    As far as I know, Fidel has never handed power over like this. I can only conclude the reason for this "power transfer" is to put Raul in charge while still keeping the semblance of Fidel being alive. He will need to secure his own position before revealing his brother's death.

    Update: 10:00 EST, still nothing new to report. I think that he is dead or dying, considering that 'his' statements are being read by a secretary.


    The War to End All Wars

    It looks like a Civil War is looming in Lebanon once Israel leaves. The Mad Mullahs have a lot to pay for.


    Sunday, July 30, 2006

    Information is the Weapon

    The Target? Israel. Go and read.

    I would bet good money that the "civil defense worker" who is pictured so often is in fact a member of Hizb'allah, or at the very least, an active supporter. Once again, we see either extreme incompetence on the part of the media, or active cooperation with evil.

    hat tip: LGF

    Update: here the updated post. Notice who is also in the picture from '96? Why, that same Civil Defense Worker. Coincidence? I should think not. The man is surely a member of Hizb'allah, perhaps one of the local leaders.


    The Ultimate Armor...

    ...schools and homes. The sheer evil of this is simply staggering.

    Perhaps the only thing more staggering is that they were convinced it would work, because they could trust the media to be too stupid to catch on, or more than willing to cover it up for them.


    Friday, July 28, 2006

    Precious Resources

    Wretchard's latest post examines the issue of a temporary cease fire, and what usefullness it might provide. His conclusions:
    1. All children, elderly men, women and identifiable noncombatants should be given safe passage out of the area after passing a security checkpoint to be jointly manned by the UNIFIL and the IDF. Any individual who is suspected of being a combatant can be placed in joint custody and removed to a detention facility inspected by the Red Cross or some similar institution. He will remain there until his any doubts over his status can be resolved.
    2. The UN should establish a refugee processing camp on the cleared side of the security checkpoint where food, water, medical attention etc can be provided to whoever needs it. It should be the policy of the UN to temporarily evacuate the combat zone to prevent further loss of life, in accordance with the principle that populations should be removed from the path of natural or manmade disasters whenever possible and returned only when it is safe.
    In short, use a ceasefire to get all of the civilians out of the way. Sure, Hizb'allah will be able to dig in, and probably resupply, reorganize and rest. However, the Israeli's can use the opportunity to help themselves politically, if not militarily. This plan is moot, of course, because Hizb'allah has found that civilians are a precious resource for them. Not to keep alive, or to protect, but to die at the hands of the Israelis. I doubt, and Wretchard doubts, that Hizb'allah will let this resource go.


    Monday, July 24, 2006

    Much Ado...

    Well, Condi has arrived in the Region... but so far, nothing has happened. I am not terribly surprised at that. I think that so far, Iran still has the initiative in this conflict, and it will take something dramatic or drastic to change that. Right now an idea that is rather popular that is being thrown about is to try and "turn" Syria away from the Iranian camp. TigerHawk has done an excellent job covering that debate. My own take is that if we can "turn" Syria, and use that to crush Hizb'allah, then its well worth it. Iran is our true foe here, not Syria. We can deal with Assad and his cronies once the Mullahs have been dealt with.


    Sunday, July 23, 2006

    The Bekka Valley

    Hello, if you are reading this then in all likelihood you haev been directed here by Google or another search engine. As my site has been put near the top of hits for "Bekka Valley" by Google, I have decided to try and help them out in this regard. Due to the nature of the name, Bekka Valley can be spelled multiple ways. Either Bekaa Valley, or Bekkaa Valley, or even Bequaa Valley, depending on the language of the translator, and their personal inclination. All, however, describe the same place. Below you will find some links, as well as some content, about the Bekka Valley.

    Here is a link that takes you to a map of Lebanon which includes the Bekka Valley. This map is somewhat more cluttered, but gives you a better idea of the the distances involved.

    The Bekka Valley is a valley between two sets of mountains, the Lebanon Mountains, which are fully inside Lebanon, and the Anti-Lebanon Mountains, which straddle the border between Syria and Lebanon.

    The reason why the Bekka Valley is such an issue today is because of the current conflict being waged in the Middle East between Israel and Hizb'allah, which is Arabic for the Party of Allah (G-d). The Bekka Valley represents the hub of Hizb'allah strength militarily. The majority of infrastructure for Hizb'allah is located there, along with many of its active fighters. While South Beruit is the political center of Hizb'allah, its center of gravity is perhaps more inclined to be found in the Bekka Valley, as Hizb'allah's political strength comes due to its military strength. It is currently more powerful than the actual Lebanese Army, which has resulted in a phenomena indicative of a failed state, namely that of a "state-within-a-state." Hizb'allah is not bound by any Lebanese authority, and as it is not, de jure, a state itself, it is also not bound by international law which is based on the hundreds year old Westphalian System. Because of its geographic position straddling the Lebanese/Syrian border, the Bekka Valley represents the location where the majority of arms transfers from Iran and Syria to Hizb'allah take placeThere is some thought among political and military analysists that any effort to destroy or diminish Hizb'allah is doomed to failure unless Hizb'allah is decisively attacked inside the Bekka Valley, and its military assets and infrastructure destroyed. However, the Valley itself lies scores of miles inside Lebanon, and thus requires a major incursion to reach, which means any drive by Israeli forces would likely require many days to undertake.

    Update: Apparently a major Israeli operation into the Bekka (Bekaa?) Valley is underway. The Wiki for the Bekka Valley can be found here. Not much to it, truth be told.


    Friday, July 21, 2006

    The Whole Enchilada

    I am become engaged in a discussion over at The Belmont Club, concerning the Battle in/for Baghdad, and Iranian involvement. You can find the post and comments here. Here is my comment thus far, I have saved the second (Wretchard asks that we limit our posts to two , if possible) for later:
    Why do you think that Iran so desperately wants Nuclear Weapons? Not to use them on Israel. That means certain death. No, to use them on the damned, treacherous Sunnis of course. Destroying Israel isn't enough for the Mullahs. They want the whole enchilda. That means reversing a thousand years of history, and turning Shi'ite Islam into the dominate sect. Take out the Sunnis, then destroy Israel. That's the strategy. Nuclear weapons are key to their victory against the Sunnis. The Mullahs see nukes as the key element to keep the US out of things. The US effort in Iraq has, unfortunately, helped them in this regard. However, things aren't over yet.

    This comment references, indirectly, my argument concerning Iran's goal of a nuclear wall, which can be found in these two posts. I am now going to try and clarify what I said before, and what it means in light of recent events.

    Iran leaders are not merely content with the destruction of Israel. Most everyone who listens with a serious ear to Iran focuses only on the avowed hatred of the state of Israel, and the wish of the Mullahs that it be destroyed. The see the Mullah's drive to acquire nuclear weapons, and they believe that Iran wants nukes in order to destroy Israel. That view, while certainly better than the ostrich mentality displayed by some on the political left, is in fact incomplete. They are not thinking big enough. Iran wants the whole enchilada (That link takes you to a site which has a fairly good map of the Muslim world).

    Iran is seeking to undo centuries worth of history, and restore Shi'ite Islam to dominance in the Muslim world. Its quest for nuclear weapons is one of the primary steps to the Mullah's achieving their goals. Nuclear weapons allow the Mullahs several advantages:
    A) They are seen as a way of keeping the US out of the fight
    B) Possessing nuclear weapons provides a certain prestige, important in a shame-based culture which dominates the Islamic world
    C) Nuclear weapons can be used to threaten other Islamic, Sunni states, to keep them out of conflicts. That way, Iran can approach each nation one at a time, rather than have all of them gang up on it.

    The US has unfortunately, and unintentionally, aided Iran to a degree with its decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Saddam was seen by many a bulwark against Iran, and it was for that reason he wasn't removed back in '91. Forget the Highway of Death, it was all about regional politics. The other Arab states didn't like the idea of a democratic Iraq, because it would be a Shi'ite dominated Iraq, and hence likely to side with Iran. Shi'ites hold considerably more political power in Iraq now, and perhaps even dominate the political scene to a degree. However, a broad coalition exists. This Iran is seek to address. How? By stirring up Sectarian violence, of course. The reason spat of Shia attacks against Sunnis have been orchestrated by Iran, in order to get the Sunnis to try and fight back. The Insurgency has mostly been defeated, but Sectarian violence is still a problem. What I think Iran is trying to accomplish is to force the Sunni's out of Iraq as a whole. Drive them out, and Shi'ites become a much larger part of the voting bloc, and so too is that part of the Shi'ite electorate with Iranian/Khomeinist sympathies. Iran, and not Al Qaeda, is the major stumbling block in Iraq now.

    Lebanon is another country where Iran seeks to expand its influence. Hizb'allah is Iran's proxy in this regard, and has been acting to further Iran's interests. My speculation on Iran and Hizb'allahs intentions is that Hizb'allah deliberately picked a fight with Israel, knowing that Israel's response would cause significant damage in Lebanon. The hope, the plan was that Israel would be limited by external political forces and thus not be able to push into Lebanon and finish Hizb'allah off, or at least weaken it severely. The end plan was for the Lebanese government to be weakened and discredited, so that Hizb'allah could, either through ballots or bullets, seek to dominate the country politically, at least, more so than it was doing before. While Shi'ite Islam only compromises about 15% of all Muslims worldwide, that doesn't mean it can't assume control politically. Iraq was only about 15-20% Sunni, but Saddam lead it with Sunni Muslims as his main political supporters. Similar can be done elsewhere by the Shia. They can use force and threats to cower the majority into accepting their rule. Then, when in charge, the Shi'ites can push their radical Khomeinist ideology, and eventually sway Muslims away from the Sunni camp. Any serious Sunni resistance can be met with nuclear fire. Israel is scheduled for destruction, of course, just after Shi'ite Islam has started to make its comeback. The Mullahs need Iran as their base for a while yet, and they know any attempt to destroy Israel would result in their, and Iran's, destruction. They are patient men, because after all, Allah is on their side.


    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    Pinpoint Strikes

    Apparently, several thousand Israeli troops have crossed into Southern Lebanon, apparently intent on clearing out Hizb'allah troops along the border. Wretchard has more.

    Update: Apparently, since I last checked, there are reports of major troop movements inside Lebanon. Apparently the previous incursions were aimed to clear away any hold-out or spoiler forces left by Hizb'allah near the border.

    Update 2: The reports of an incursion into Lebanon, a deep incursion, were inaccurate it seems. Israel is "merely" building up a sizable force all along the border, probably for PR effect.


    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    Candles in the Dark

    Here is a fascinating piece from MSNBC, talking about what is known about Israel's nuclear program. It is perhaps the biggest open secret in the world.


    Al-Reuters Strikes Again

    Here is a picture, courtesy of Reuters. Here is the Reuters caption:
    Supporters of Lebanon protest outside the Israeli consulate in New York, July 18, 2006. REUTERS/Chip East (UNITED STATES)
    Once again, Reuters displays either extreme incompetence, or actively sides with the terrorists and their sympathizers. See that sign to the right of the photo? It says "Islam will Dominate." And has a picture of the White House with the Black Flag of Jihad flying above it. Supporters of Lebanon? Or Supporters of Hizb'allah? You decide.


    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    Debka's Take

    I have long since canned my "Debka-Watch" blog, but Debka does have at times things worth writing about. Their latest"essay" on the current crisis is on such thing. Here is the link to the full article. The most important part of the essay is at the end:
    Israeli generals and officials asked about the objectives of this war are cagey; they can’t tell what will eventuate in the next 24 hours – and not only because of the uncertain fortunes of war. The tricky test is to correlate Israeli and American interests from one day to the next. Hizballah keeps on threatening “new surprises,” because its leaders are also playing their tactics by ear, dependent on the support and weapons Tehran judges it politic to release.

    If this is in any way accurate, both "sides," US-Israel and Syria/Iran are both playing this event by ear. Which means that there is no real "political strategy" in play here by both sides. Millitary strategy must be, by nature, flexible. After all, no plan survives contact with the enemy. However, when political strategy is flexible it can easily result in mission drift, and take you into places where you never intended to go in the first place. Wretchard's latest piece talks about the "Dark Crossroads" which lie before us. If Debka is right, and both sides are playing this by ear, then not only are they dark crossroads that lie ahead, but we are walking, running, sprinting towards them blindfolded.


    Chilling News

    Here is a report from CNN on Iraqi deaths thus far in 2006. Very disturbing.


    Monday, July 17, 2006

    Tunnel Vision

    People have been focusing a lot on President Bush's use of profanity recently with regards to Syrian involvement in Lebanon. However, there is a part of his dialogue with Tony Blair that I think deserves equal treatment, namely that "Kofi needs to call Assad." My words, as I am having some difficulty finding a piece with the full transcript. I will add then when I find it. What matters here is that Bush obviously thinks that Kofi actually posesses some kind of power or authority, and that could be leveraged against Assad. Otherwise, why mention it in an unguarded moment? Oviously Bush thinks Kofi, and perhaps the UN, isn't as completely powerless as some think.


    Sunday, July 16, 2006

    Necessary Steps

    Here is a post I wrote on Strategypage:

    For those of you who have been paying some attention to the Lebanese blogosphere, many are angry that Israel is going after Hizb'allah in Lebanon, rather than Assad in Syria, who is, after all, one of Hizb'allah's patrons. However, they understandably fail to appreciate the military situation. I reference readers to this map, courtesy of Debka:

    If one looks at where the shortest route from Israel to Damascus is, its easy to realize that it skirts Southern Lebanon. In essence, if Israel were to go after Syria first, it would leave its flank open to Hizb'allah attacks from Lebanon. Israel would probably have no choice but go into Lebanon to attack Hizb'allah positions, so that they can't disrupt the Israeli lines of supply into Syria. In short, Israel would have to deal with Hizb'allah in Lebanon if it wanted to go after Syria.

    This means it makes as much sense for Israel to go after Hizb'allah first, before going after Syria. One consequence of this means that if Israel does in fact intend to go after Syria, that attack will only come after Hizb'allah has largely been neutralized inside Lebanon, and most likley after large elements of Hizb'allah have fled to Syria. Israel might only intend to deal with Hizb'allah now, but the dicates of the geography of the region and military necessity meant that whichever strategy Israel takes, it is indistinguishable from the other.

    The actual post can be found here.


    The First Israeli-Iranian War

    I am going to go out on a limb and declaring the current Middle-East conflict the first Israeli-Iranian War. The recent denunciations by the Saudis against Hizb'allah, along with the essentially zero support from Arab states indicates that this is not an Arab-Israeli War. Syria's leadership isn't Arab, its Allawite. At the moment the war is in its first stages, namely that of a proxy-war between Israel and Iran's proxy Hizb'allah. How long it stays a proxy war remains to be seen. However, the Iranian declarations to intervene if Syria is attacked represent a solid line in the sand that Israel knows it can cross and perhaps bring things to a head.

    Update: Here is Thomas Barnett's take on all of this. His view that this is an Iranian Pre-emptive attack is what led me to call this an Israeli-Iranian war.


    Securing the Flank

    Many Lebanese bloggers, and people in Lebanon in general, are angry that Syria isn't the target of Israel's aggression at this point. Persuant to my previous post, they fail to realize that military necessarity forces Israel to deal with Hizb'allah first, before going after the Assad regime. Courtesy of Debka, here is one map of the region.

    Notice that the straight route through the Golan to Damascus leaves Israel's western flank open to an attack by Hizb'allah. Israel would be forced, by necessity, to go into Lebanon no matter what it did with regards to Syria. I can't say whether or not Israel does in fact go after Syria, but there are a few indicators, I think.

    The first is how many Israeli units actually go into Lebanon. If it is only a few brigades, then I take a Syrian strike as, perhaps not likely, but certainly on the table. Those units would need to be held in reserve until Israel is ready to make its move

    Second, whether or not Israel goes after the Bekka Valley. Bekka is pretty deep into Lebanon, as the map shows. If Israel goes there, they leave their flank open to a Syrian strike, assuming they later go after Syria. If I was the Israelis I would go after Syria, before going after Bekka. Once Syria is removed from the picture, the terrorists trapped in the Bekka Valley aren't going anywhere. Hence, they can be removed at leisure. So a strike at Bekka first means it is unlikely Israel is looking for a wider war at this point.


    Saturday, July 15, 2006

    Some Thoughts...

    Here is part of an e-mail I wrote to someone concerning Israel and Hizb'allah.
    A lot of people, especially Lebanese, are angry that Israel is going after Hizb'allah, and not Syria or Iran. However, they fail to appreciate the fact that Israel can't go after Syria without dealing with Hizb'allah first. If Israel pushed straight at Syria first, it would leave their flank open from the west. They can't risk that. Hence, no matter what, they would have to deal with Hizb'allah first. The same applies to Syria and Iran. Iran is the far enemy, Syria the close enemy. Iran is the more dangerous of the two, but safety dictates that you deal with the close enemy first. Hence, even if Israel intends to deal with Iran, it has to deal with Syria first, which means defeating Hizb'allah in Lebanon.

    Israel needs to be careful, however. Whatever "high ground" it has now can evaporate if it kills too many civilians.

    This gives a basic view of the situation. Israel has to clean up Hizb'allah before it can go after anyone else. This sucks for the people of Lebanon, but, as the French say... c'est la vie.


    No Major Changes Yet

    So far, things are going much as I predicted. Israel is continuing with airstrikes until they have organized their reserves, and feel they have accomplished as much as air-power allows. Once they are ready, expect a multi-brigade push into S. Lebanon, probably to the Bekka Valley. Israel is going to hold back a large number of its troops, however, in case Syria gets involved. I don't see that as likely, however. Syria won't get involved unless Iran gets involved, and Iran won't get involved unless Syria gets involved, so I expect both to sit this out and try and benefit diplomatically.


    Thursday, July 13, 2006


    For a good update on what is happening now in the Middle East, I recommend Pajamas Media. Tigerhawk has offered some good insight into what is going on, and Israelycool is offering on and off live-blogging. Right now the ball appears to be in Hizb'allah's court, as Israel has been fairly active ever since they Mullah's goons struck Haifa. The next day or so could be critical. A wider, regional war isn't impossible.


    Wednesday, July 12, 2006

    The Fire Spreads

    It appears that another major Middle Eastern War is in the making. Israel has just bombed Beruit's Airport. Events could get out of hand quite quickly. Euphoric Reality has a post up discussing whether or not Israel will officially declare war on Syria in response to Hizb'allah's recent attacks.

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