SINCE 1759

Free alert to Candide's Notebooks
Your email:


Candide's Latest: Tuesday, August 8, 2006
Broad Is the Way That Leads to Destruction
Fake this, II.

Somebody get the UN delegates some coffee. Cappuccino OK? Espresso for the Mediterraneans? While the UN chats, Lebanon crumbles on: The BBC reports wranglings over resolution wording at the UN. Meanwhile, “ More than 900 Lebanese, most of them civilians, have been killed in the conflict, the Lebanese government said. More than 90 Israelis, most of them soldiers, have also been killed. Israeli Defence Minster Amir Peretz said Israel was preparing to occupy more areas of southern Lebanon from which Hezbollah rockets are being fired. He is proposing an advance to the Litani river, up to 30 km (18 miles) north of the Israeli border.” And 1978 calendars in Israel and Lebanon are being recycled into use. Whatever “progress” is being made over that UN resolution, it isn’t any more realistic than one hand clapping: “British Prime Minister Tony Blair said a U.N. resolution could be clinched on Wednesday,” Reuters reports, “but told Sky News it would not include a demand for an Israeli pullout as Lebanon wants.” In Beirut, Israeli bombings reached their deepest target yet: “Anger was rampant on the streets of Beirut and in its busy hospitals Monday after two missiles crashed into the poor residential neighbourhood of Shiyah, killing at least 15 people. Some reports put the death toll as high as 20, and dozens more were injured,” the Globe & Mail reports. “The attack completely destroyed one apartment block that had an Internet café on its ground floor and severely damaged two neighbouring buildings. It was the closest the Israeli military had struck to the centre of the Lebanese capital during its four-week-old campaign. Many of those killed, missing or injured in the attack were Shia Muslims who had fled fighting in the south of the country to a neighbourhood they thought was a safe haven.”

Historic development? Lebanon’s press and Le Monde report the Lebanese government’s call-up of 15,000 reservists as step one in the deployment of the Lebanese army in South Lebanon, replacing Hezbollah as the sole military presence there. A Lebanese minister claims to have had Hezbollah’s approval. Sounds too good to be true. But there’s a catch: “The Lebanese army will only be deployed when Israel and Hizbullah agree to end hostilities,” the Guardian says. In other words, the Lebanese government is trying to cut Israel off at the Litani pass, but the flaw is clear: Israel is not about to accept any solution that hinges on UNIFIL, the existing United Nations force in South Lebanon, there since 1978, and ineffective since then. Yet the Associated Press says Israel is considering Lebanon’s offer.

From Israel’s Department of Duh, via Haaretz: “ Operation Change of Direction was launched last month with the declared goal of weakening Hizbullah to the point where it would be possible to create a new political reality in south Lebanon. On Monday, almost four weeks into the fighting, a high-ranking Military Intelligence officer said the IDF was still far from reaching its goal.[...] According to intelligence information, the Hizbullah command-and-control array is still functioning even after nearly four weeks of fighting. So are the logistical command centers - still operating and succeeding in directing the smuggling of weapons into Lebanon from Syria. The officer said that Hizbullah still had the ability to fire short-range rockets, of which th guerrilla group has already fired 2,500 since the beginning of the war. The only way to stop the short-range rockets, he said, was for the IDF to deepen its incursion north to the Litani and to sweep through cities like Tyre, estimated to be the hiding place for most of the short-range 122mm Katyusha rockets. ” Alexander the Great built a dyke to connect Tyre to the mainland and finally conquer it. Israel has a simpler idea: destroy Tyre . (The Washington Post also has a Hezbollah-as-tenacious-foe story.)

Bush and Conservative dream of the quiet days of Saddam, want him back, sing the praises of autocracy: It was a matter of time, but they’re admitting it now. From today’s Wall Street Journal: “With radicalism on the rise and battles flaring from Beirut to Baghdad to Gaza, the Bush administration's quest for democracy in the Middle East is literally under fire. So while Ms. Rice portrays the fighting in Lebanon as "the birth pangs of a new Middle East," the administration is also showing new eagerness to maintain pillars of the old Middle East -- particularly America's steadiest allies in the region, the autocracies of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Last month, Ms. Rice delayed her departure to the Middle East to meet with Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, who received an unusual Sunday audience with President Bush. Ms. Rice went on to praise Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia repeatedly during her trip. Hosni Mubarak, president of Egypt for 25 years, is back in Washington's good graces, after being chastised last year for his country's lackluster embrace of democratic change. Mr. Mubarak's son and heir-apparent was recently hosted by the administration, which also tamped down a congressional attempt to cut funding to the country.’There's been a very loud sigh of relief within the White House...that there are still some stable, highly centralized countries in the region to turn to,’ says Aaron Miller, a veteran Middle East adviser to four administrations -- including the current one. He now works at the Wilson Center, a Washington, D.C., research institution.”

Irony of ironies: Palestinian refugees play host to Lebanon’s refugees. Next up for the Middle East , maybe in Las Vegas : a convention of refugees—from Iraq , Lebanon , Palestine , Turkish Kurdistan, Iran , Sudan … (If only Frank Capra was around. What a wonderful world that would be.)

Toll of a War that Shames the World

It is 28 days since Hizbollah captured two Israeli soldiers, prompting a ground and air assault on Lebanon by the Israeli army. In that time, 932 people have been killed in Lebanon, with 75 missing, presumed dead.

  • 9 Lebanese Army soldiers have been killed. 3,293 Lebanese have been wounded. 45 per cent of the casualties have been children. 913,000 Lebanese have been displaced (300,000 of whom are children). 94 Israelis have been killed and 1,867 wounded.
  • 10,000 Israeli soldiers are currently fighting Hizbollah in southern Lebanon. 3,000 rockets have been fired at Israel by Hizbollah. The average number of rockets fired daily by Hizbollah in the first week of the conflict was 90. Over the past five days, it has been 169.
  • Israel has flown 8,700 bombing sorties, destroying 146 bridges and 72 roads. Damage caused to Lebanon's infrastructure is estimated at $2bn. Up to 30,000 tons of oil have spilled into the Mediterranean since an Israeli air strike on Jieh power station.
  • The international community (apart from Britain and the US) has called for an immediate ceasefire. As yet, the number of UN resolutions: 0

— From The Independent, UK

Bookmark and Share


Read Pierre’s Latest

The Latest Comments

Add to Google Reader or Homepage Subscribe in NewsGator Online Subscribe in Rojo   Add to My AOL Subscribe in FeedLounge Add to netvibes Subscribe in Bloglines Add to The Free Dictionary