Friday, April 16, 2010
Although this event was a while ago, it remains a good--and citeable--example of how Fatah actively goes after al-Qaeda on the West Bank.
Thanks As-Salibi for passing this along.
Update: Not to kill the weekend for you all, but a band of seemingly harmless Lebanese villagers "removing a barbwire fence along the Blue Line" is exactly the kind of small thing that sparks wars.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
You can read the full news article here.
Why? Well, think of Hezbollah as a threat to the Hashimite kingdom. Most Arabs in the Middle East--be Sunni, Shia, or whatever--probably have more respect for Hezbollah than their own government. In Syria you can see this; the government gets around it by playing the "alliance card" to bolster the Syrian regime. But Jordan can't do this. They are an open ally of the West, not Hezbollah & Co.
In short, I think that King Abdullah II is as right as he is scared. He is right in that it seems another war is looming; he is scared because Jordanians will ask "why is our King not fighting Israel?"
So stand fast Levantine folk... it might be an interesting summer.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Officials briefed on the intelligence said Israeli and American officials believe Lebanon transferred Scud D missiles to Hezbollah that were built with either North Korean or Russian technology.
The Scuds are believed to have a range of over 430 miles, placing Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Israel's nuclear installations at Dimona all within range of Hezbollah's military forces. During a monthlong war with Israel in 2006, Hezbollah largely used Katyusha rockets with a range of about 20 miles. It fired a much smaller number of Iranian-sourced Fajr rockets that have ranges of less than 60 miles.
Israeli officials said this week that Scud D missiles were "game-changing" armaments that marked a new escalation in the Mideast conflict. They charged Mr. Assad with further fusing Syria's military command with Hezbollah's and Iran's and breaking clearly defined red-lines established my Israel's defense forces.
Basically it all comes down to the mean cold heated bummer of "if" this transfer happens. Because if it did, then we should expect a war this summer.
Andrew Exum writes on his blog about this concept of measured response:
In the past, Hassan Nasrallah has articulated a kind of measured response to Israeli attacks: You bomb southern Lebanon, we rocket northern Israel. You bomb the southern suburbs, we rocket Haifa. You bomb Beirut proper, we rocket Tel Aviv. Hizballah's ability to do the latter, of course, depends entirely on whether or not they have the capability to do so and whether or not the IAF is able to knock out Hizballah's long-range rockets early enough in the conflict (as the IAF claims to have done in 2006). So for Hizballah to have a credible deterrent, Israel has to know they have long-range rockets.
Personally I agree with Exum: Someone either has to do something stupid (or even a third party that sparks confusion) or the balance of power in the Levant sifts so greatly that Bibi and Co. feel the need to "take care of business."
Well, there has been a clear disturbance in Levantine power--if this report is true.
According the the Jerusalem Post, Syria has proliferated SCUD missiles to Hezbollah. To my understanding, these old Soviet-designed weapons are very similar, if not the same, as the SCUDs Saddam fired into Tel Aviv during the First Gulf War.
And if this report is true, the Shia guerrilla group now has the means to hit anywhere in the Jewish state. Thus my next question: What kind of warheads does Hezbollah plan to use? Even Saddam didn't have the nerve to use chemical agents. (Though I'm not suggesting Hezbollah will or even can.)
What this means for Israel is exactly what the Defense Minister Ehud Barrak said: "this endangers our stability and peace.” And if you know anything about Israel, this means that all options are on the table. Maybe even a strike on Syria.
So we all just have to wait.
Update: The southern front heats up too.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Now, the second verse has hit: Malsin has started to pen his experience.
I highly suggest reading his new piece, published on the Huffington Post. Malsin knows personally the politics of Israeli deportation--that's why he makes for the perfect commenter on the new Israeli West Bank deportation policy human rights groups say can lead to tens of thousands of deportations.
And if you're like me, you stopped here and said: I must read on.
I know something about how Israel's security forces treat journalists who they believe to be hostile.
In January I was held for over a week in a dingy detention center at Israel's Ben Gurion airport before being deported.
Before I was detained I was questioned by a security officer about news articles I had authored in my two and a half years working in the West Bank for the Palestinian news agency Ma'an.
I was interrogated in a spare, windowless office in the airport. At one point the officer, a woman with piercing blue eyes who never identified herself, paged through the contacts on my cell phones, telling me to give information about sources, colleagues, and friends who's numbers I'd stored. I refused.