Showing posts from July, 2006

Israel moves to the bug hunt phase of warfare

Opfor: ... Israel is now largely in the tactical targeting phase of their effects based operation, although strategic and operational missions still continue. We witnessed the strategic ops phase as Israel blockaded the Lebanon coast, bombed the airport and roads, and struck at Hezbollah leadership. We witnessed the operational phase as Israel shifted focus towards Hezbollah gun and rocket emplacements (enemy units in enemyheld territory). And now we are seeing Israel's use of ground forces in the tactical -- the "bug hunt"-- phase of their plan, as the IDF roots out enemy fighters from the battlespace. ... John at Opfor says Israel is engaged in Parallel Warfare. "The IAF hit nodes of communication, transportation, leadership, and industries, executing a parallel attack against each enemy target system, climbing down the ladder from strategic targets, to operational targets, and finally to tactical targets." Perhaps there is someone who can explain Israel'

The war in Lebanon

The Belmont Club: ... It's manifestly clear that the current conflict is not a war on Lebanon. It is a war in Lebanon by outside powers over the central political issue in the Middle East: Israel's right to exist. That fact, which has become so nakedly apparent that even the Israeli Left -- indeed Olmert's government is a coalition with the Israeli Left -- cannot avoid staring it in the face, makes this conflict different from the border clashes of the recent past. ... While it is indeed a war over Israel's right to exist, all her wars have been over that issue. Unlike some in the past, there was never a chance that Hezballah might succeed with its stated objective of destroying Israel. While Hezballah and media types will no doubt try to spin what ever end there is to this war as a victory, it will not change the facts on the ground, that Hezballah was really incapable of any offensive punch that would threaten Israel's existence. In the end, whatever is left o

Women in the IDF

Theo Sparks has a tribute.

Detainees abusing Gitmo Guards--no liberal calls for investigation yet

AP: The prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay during the war on terror have attacked their military guards hundreds of times, turning broken toilet parts, utensils, radios and even a bloody lizard tail into makeshift weapons. Pentagon incident reports reviewed by The Associated Press show Military Police guards are routinely head-butted, spat upon and doused by "cocktails" of feces, urine, vomit and sperm collected in meal cups by the prisoners. They've been repeatedly grabbed, punched or assaulted by prisoners who reach through the small "bean holes" used to deliver food and blankets through cell doors, the reports say. Serious assaults requiring medical attention, however, are rare, the reports indicate. The detainee "reached under the face mask of an IRF (Initial Reaction Force) team member's helmet and scratched his face, attempting to gouge his eyes," states a May 27, 2005, report on an effort to remove a recalcitrant prisoner from his cell. &qu

Israel expanding ground ops in Lebanon

Haaretz: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's political-security cabinet voted in the early hours of Tuesday morning to expand Israel's ground operation in south Lebanon. Under the plan, and similar to last week's operation carried out in Bint Jbail, IDF forces will mount raids on villages that have served as Hezbollah bases. The plan was presented to Olmert during meetings held Saturday with Defense Minister Amir Peretz and defense establishment heads. The cabinet voted nearly unanimously in favor of the plan, with none opposed and one abstention. Olmert said Monday evening that there would be no cease-fire in the coming days, despite a 48-hour halt in Israel Air Force activity in Lebanon. "The fighting continues. There is no ceasefire and there will not be any ceasefire in the coming days," Olmert said in an address to the nation from Tel Aviv. He said the offensive in southern Lebanon would end when the rockets fired by Hezbollah cease and the two Israel Defense Forces

Hezballah launchers down to a few

Jerusalem Post: The IDF assessed on Monday that Hizbullah's rocket launching capability was significantly compromised by the fighting that took place in the past three weeks. It was estimated that, while the organization still has hundreds of rockets with a sufficient range to reach Afula and Haifa, there were only a number of launchers remaining with launching capability. The Hizbullah still had several Zilzal rockets left that could reach central Israel, Army Radio reported. In the course of the fighting, the IDF asserted that it had killed some 200 Hizbullah operatives. Though most of the names were not released, one of the more prominent targets hit was Jihad Atiya, who was said to be responsible for the killing and kidnapping of IDF soldiers Benny Avraham, Adi Avitan and Omar Sueid in 2000. ... Aas I pointed out below, for having so many rockets, they have been remarkably ineffective. While they have killed a fedw civilians, I have seen no report on any military casualties fr

Embedded with Hezballah

TigerHawk excerpts a very revealing story from inside Hezballah's war by a reporter from the left wing Guardian . There is support for the allegations of working among civilians and for Hezballah's planning for the operations. It is definitely worth reading.

Strategy or something like it in Israel

The Belmont Club takes a look at the muddle that current Israel strategy resembles. Will they go for a strategic victory or settle for something imposed by the UN again? In a sense they have already achieved a strategic victory over Iran. They have at least made a hash of Iran's Hezballah strategic deterance. They have exposed most of the rocket resources as high in volumn and low in quality. Has any Hezballah rocket hit any Israeli military unit? You would think with so many, that some would have hit a military unit by accident at least. They did screw up and kill some Israeli Arabs, but they can't find the IDF? They have also failed to kill as many civilians as a human bomb going into a pizza parlor. Certainly not enough to hold Israel hostage to a threat. While many in the chattering class have said that if Israel stops now Hezballah wins, that does not explain why Hezballah and Lebanon are so desperate for a cease fire, while Israel is so resistant. If they were

Buying in to Hezballah's victim offensive

Robert Fisk gives full throated support to the Hezballah victim offensive, asking "How can we stand by and allow this to go on?" This from the guy who said he deserved to be beaten up by Muslims angry about the US toppling of the Taliban. ... You must have a heart of stone not to feel the outrage that those of us watching this experienced yesterday. This slaughter was an obscenity, an atrocity ­ yes, if the Israeli air force truly bombs with the " pinpoint accuracy'' it claims, this was also a war crime. Israel claimed that missiles had been fired by Hizbollah gunmen from the south Lebanese town of Qana ­ as if that justified this massacre. Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, talked about "Muslim terror" threatening " western civilisation" ­ as if the Hizbollah had killed all these poor people. ... You have to have a head of stone to come to the conclusion that Fisk does. The war crime is clearly that of Hezba

The Shaba Farms sham

Shlomo Avineri: The emergence of the Shaba Farms as a possible item in an agreement authorizing a multinational force for South Lebanon raises a number of issues of which not all the participants in the current negotiations may be aware. They go deep into the question of the very existence of Lebanon as a sovereign state. What are the issues? In the 1923 Anglo-French Demarcation Agreement, which set the borders between the British and French mandates in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon, the area was included in Syria. The maps of the 1949 Israeli-Syrian Armistice Agreements similarly designated the area as Syrian. In the 1967 Six Day War, the farms were occupied by the IDF as part of its conquest of the Golan Heights. Lebanon was not involved in that war, and Israel did not engage in any fighting against it. At that time, no one - neither Syria nor Lebanon - claimed that the area was Lebanese. IN THE negotiations leading to the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000, Lebanon for

Hezballah does not halt rocket fire into Israel

Haaretz: A salvo of five rockets slammed into the Galilee early Monday afternoon, shattering a half-day of quiet and hopes that Hezbollah had suspended its launchings in response to curbs of IAF activity. There were no injuries in the Monday salvo, which started brushfires in open areas near Kiryat Shmona. ... But, then you know they only want a one sided cease fire anyway. Hezballah's victim offensive over the weekend was designed ot get Israel to stop its half of the war while Hezballah continues its half. It is typical bad faith on the part of Muslim Islamist who think the rules do not apply to their "holy war."

Bombing pause is not a cease fire

Jerusalem Post: After declaring a 48-hour suspension of aerial strikes over Lebanon in wake of the Kana attack, Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Israel would expand and strengthen its ground operations in southern Lebanon. "Under no circumstance will there be an unconditional and immediate cease-fire. There is no change in our resolve," Peretz told the Knesset plenum which convened for a special recess session to discuss the war in Lebanon. According to the defense minister, the IDF managed to severely hamper Hizbullah's long-range missile capability. He stressed that the prime goal was to bring the kidnapped IDF soldiers home. Peretz stressed that the humanitarian gestures will not harm the goals of the operation. "I know how difficult it is to talk about morality after the tragic deaths at Kana. I know it is difficult to talk about humanitarian aid when we see on television hundreds of thousands of evacuees. But let us not forget who caused this - Hizbullah,"

Reasons to destroy Hezballah

Mitchell Bard: ... Besides the broader strategic goals of increasing stability, defeating Islamic fundamentalism and weakening the influence of Iran and Syria, the United States also had another reason to take on Hezbollah -- that is, to eliminate a terrorist group that had kidnaped and murdered hundreds of Americans. For those who may have forgotten, here is a partial list of Hezbollah's acts of war against the United States: 1982-1988 -- Hezbollah held David Dodge, acting president of the American University in Beirut, captive for a year; kidnaped and murdered Malcolm Kerr, a Lebanese-born American who was president of the American University of Beirut; abducted Jeremy Levin, Beirut bureau chief of CNN, who later escaped; held Rev. Benjamin Weir for 16 months; seized diplomat William Buckley and he was never heard from again; kidnaped Frank Reed, director of the American University in Beirut, and held him 44 months; held Joseph Cicippio, the acting comptroller at the Amer

Hezballah deserves humiliation

Jeff Jacoby: According to a pair of Gallup polls released last week, 83 percent of Americans say Israel is justified in taking military action against Hezbollah, while 76 percent disapprove of Hezbollah's attacks on Israel. Yet when asked which side in the conflict the United States should take, 65 percent answer: neither side. Indeed, 3 in 4 Americans say they are concerned that the US military will be drawn into the fighting, or that it will increase the likelihood of terrorism against the United States. Gallup's numbers suggest two things. First, that most Americans, sizing up the warfare in northern Israel and southern Lebanon, recognize that Hezbollah is the aggressor and that Israel is fighting in self-defense. And second, that most Americans believe this fight has nothing to do with the United States. Welcome to Sept. 10. For years Osama bin Laden had preached that it was "the duty of Muslims to confront, fight, and kill" Americans. His adherents had re

The Marines new museum to open on USMC's birthday

Washington Post: They've turned on the air conditioning inside the new National Museum of the Marine Corps, and they've hung fighter planes from the massive girders that poke above the skyline as you drive along Interstate 95 past Quantico. Although it won't open to the public until Nov. 10, the shell of the building and the distinctive 210-foot mast and sail-like glass structure that tops it-- are already attracting notice from passersby. Inside, it's still very much a work zone. ... The sloping metal peak of the new Marine Corps Museum isn't just an eye-catcher from the roadway, however. It is, according to the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, which will run the site (a public-private venture with the Marines), an iconic shape inspired by the famous photograph of the flag-raising on Mount Suribachi during the bloody World War II battle for Iwo Jima. And sure enough, you can see the inspiration clearly in a logo for the new museum, which shows the famous cluster o

UN caterwalling ignores Hezballah's violations of Geneva Conventions

Washington Times Editorial: ... Hezbollah's treatment of both Israeli and Lebanese civilians violates international law. Article 51 of the Additional Protocol to the Geneva Convention states that: "The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the subject of attack." Moreover, by using Lebanese civilians as human shields, Hezbollah appears to be violating Article 58 of Protocol 1, which requires parties to a conflict to "Avoid locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas." Article 28 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: "The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations." U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan falsely accuses Israel of deliberately attacking members of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), even as Hezbollah repeatedly targets U.N. peacekeepers. Last Monday, an Internet site called Little Green

The ABA Agenda

Opinion Journal: In a letter in today's Wall Street Journal, American Bar Association President Michael Greco objects to our calling his outfit a liberal interest group that should lose its special role in vetting federal judicial nominees. Well, then what are we to make of the ABA's report last week accusing President Bush of abusing his power by explaining how he interprets the bills he signs into law? In its new "study," the ABA claims that Presidential "signing statements" are "contrary to the rule of law and our constitutional system" and urges Congress to pass a law giving itself the power to challenge them in court. It then advances a theory under which the President has no authority to judge for himself the Constitutionality of the various laws he signs. This is absurd on its face given that the President takes an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," thus obliging him to form an independe

Transitioning to a UN war against Hezballah

Peter Brooks: ... But even if the council's member can agree on a U.N. mandate, getting together the right international force won't be easy. Putting boots on the ground in Lebanon's wilderness of mirrors is a roll of the political and military dice. The country's been a meat grinder for peacekeepers before - and would likely be one again. World capitals get it. They're going to be extremely cautious about sending troops into harm's way to deal with Hezbollah - and its Syrian and Iranian backers - in southern Lebanon's chaos. Depending on how much hurt Israel puts on the terrorists before an international force hits the ground, the stabilization force might face guerrilla warfare, improvised explosive devices, booby traps and unmarked minefields. Sure, France, Italy, Turkey and Norway have expressed an early willingness to consider sending troops into Lebanon under the right conditions - but no one is jumping up and down, hollering, "Ooh, ooh, s

Killers come back to New Orleans

AP /Washington Times: Police were investigating six fatal shootings that occurred within 24 hours, the latest round of killings as the city struggles to rein in violence that has shadowed the recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Three brothers and a friend were killed in a neighborhood not far from the French Quarter, and two persons were fatally shot in separate incidents hours later, authorities said Saturday. Last month, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco sent the Louisiana National Guard and state police to New Orleans after five teenagers were fatally shot in a single attack. Such sensational slayings have a crippling effect on the city's struggle to rebuild its tourism industry and persuade evacuees to return, said City Council member James Carter, who leads the council's committee on crime. "The spotlight Katrina put on the city showed the real reason for these murders -- abject poverty and a poor education system," Mr. Carter said. "We have to go

Risks of hiring illegals is criminal case now

NY Times: Immigration agents had prepared a nasty surprise for the Garcia Labor Company, a temporary worker contractor, when they moved against it on charges of hiring illegal immigrants. They brought a 40-count federal indictment, part of a new nationwide strategy by immigration officials to clamp down on employers of illegal immigrant laborers. Maximino Garcia, the president of the company, which provides low-wage laborers to businesses from Pennsylvania to Texas, stood before a federal judge here on Tuesday to answer conspiracy charges of aiding illegal immigrants and money laundering. If convicted, Mr. Garcia, who pleaded not guilty, could serve 20 years in jail and forfeit his headquarters building and $12 million. The criminal charges against Mr. Garcia and his company were brought by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security . The campaign has included at least five other federal indictments of business executives in Ohio and

Geneva Conventions say Hezballah responsible for Qana casualties

Power Line: ... ... Article 28 of the 4th Geneva Convention: The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations. ... How many mainstream media reports do you think will contain this data? Probably about as many who have pointed out that Hezballah's failure to wear an identifying uniform is also a violation of the Geneva Conventions and is directly responsible for most civilian casualties in Lebanon.

Collecter's items from Syria found in Israeli cities

Paul Harris: They have become the most sought-after souvenirs of an increasingly bloody war. In towns and cities across northern Israel, young children collect them from the streets and smuggle them away in their pockets. Watch the video of an Israeli air strike on a truck-mounted rocket launcher They are the deadly ball-bearings that are packed inside Katyusha rockets, designed to spray out like a blunderbuss and cause maximum death and injury. After every attack, you can usually gather them by the handful if you search hard enough. In the last two weeks I have picked up too many to count, and seen dozens of kids swapping them like miniature marbles at the scene of a blast. I have also seen the damage they do. A pool of blood where two little brothers were blasted to death, so badly disfigured that their family could hardly tell them apart. A teenage girl's flesh on a living room wall, spattered there when a rocket came through her ceiling. A city bus so badly damaged b

Hezballah TV hacked by IDF Intelligence

Ynet: ... The al-Manar channel regularly airs juicy propaganda against Israel, including reports of "heroic" and "successful" operations by Hizbullah fighters against IDF special forces. However, this weekend the IDF prepared a surprise for the Lebanese and Arab viewers of the channel: The broadcast was interrupted and caricatures of Nasrallah appeared on the screen, accompanied by captions reading: "Your days are numbered" and "Nasrallah, your time is up. Soon you won't be with us anymore." Additionally, Hizbullah and al-Manar internet sites also received "special treatment" by Israeli technical specialists, and several were erased from the internet. You had to wonder when that was going to happen. It is probably better than knocking it off the air, because it gives the enemy a sense of losing control. The next hack should scold Nasrallah for hiding behind women and children, and putting them deliberately in harms way. Sha

Hezballah is hiding behind babies still

Naomi Ragen: My son is in the army. He is not the type at all, believe me. Quiet, studious, a writer, a lover of Jewish history, Talmud, ethics. He spent two years in a pre-army program in the Galilee called Karmei Chayil. He made many good friends there from all over the country; and now, he and all his friends are in the army. One of them I know well. A bit chubby, with payot (sidelocks) and a great laugh. He and my son have become like brothers. While both of them tried out for the elite paratroopers unit, only he made it in. He and his unit are the ones in Lebanon. They were there over a week, fighting under horrific conditions, running out of food and water. Even though the Israeli air force dropped tons of leaflets warning civilians to flee because they were in terrorist territory and likely to be injured, they still encountered civilians. My son spoke to his friend yesterday,and this is how he described it: The village looked empty, and then we heard noises coming from one of t

Israel halts bombing for 48 hours, people have 24 hours to get out of south Lebanon

AP /Houston Chronicle: Israel agreed to a 48-hour suspension of aerial activity over southern Lebanon after its bombing of a Lebanese village today killed a number of children. The attack marred Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's mission to halt the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah. The suspension of over-flights was announced by State Department spokesman Adam Ereli. He said Israel has reserved the right to attack targets if it learns that attacks are being prepared against them. "The United States welcomes this decision and hopes that it will help relieve the suffering of the children and families of southern Lebanon,'' Ereli told reporters traveling with Rice. An Israeli government official, confirmed that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed to a 48-hour halt in airstrikes on Lebanon. The official was speaking on condition of anonymity since he was not authorized to talk to reporters. ... It appears that Hezballahs strategy of creating victims has worked to

8 hours between time Israel hit building in Qana and when it collapsed

Jerusalem Post: Some 150 rockets were fired from the Lebanese village of Qana over the past 20 days, Air Force Chief of Staff Brig.-Gen. Amir Eshel said on Sunday evening. Speaking to reporters, Eshel added that Hizbullah rocket launchers were hidden in civilian buildings in the village. He proceeded to show video footage of rocket launchers being driven into the village following launches. Eshel also pointed out that the building was hit sometime around midnight Saturday night and didn't collapse until about 8 a.m. Sunday morning, leaving an unusual gap in the timing of the events which the IDF was investigating. "It's possible that inside the house, something or other was being stored that caused an explosion - something that we didn't succeed in blowing up in the [initial] attack and that perhaps was left over there," Eshel said. "I say this very cautiously, because I currently don't have the faintest idea what the explanation for this gap could be.&qu

The puzzle at the LA Times:

Patterico's Pontifications notes an LA Times headline that says, "Jewish Center Shooter's Motives a Mystery." ... The teaser leads to a story on Page A22, which contains the following clue to the “mystery” of the shooter’s motive: Haq reportedly shouted about his anger toward Jews, toward Israel and its war in Lebanon, and toward U.S. policy in Iraq. Hmmmm. Yes, it’s a head-scratcher. Further clues to this impenetrable conundrum appear further down in the story: According to [Seattle Police Chief R. Gil Kerlikowske], Haq said he “wanted the U.S. to leave Iraq, that his people had been mistreated, the U.S. was arming Israel, and he didn’t care if he died. ” The official police report, released Saturday and based on interviews with witnesses in the office and on the transcript of the 911 call, quoted Haq as saying: “I’m not upset at you people; I’m upset at your foreign policy. These are Jews, and I’m tired of getting pushed around and our people getting pushed

A real cease fire

From the Scrappleface parody collection: ... Mr. Bush called on Israel to “work rapidly toward a unilateral cease fire in which the weapons of one side cease firing so that the other side can cease firing as well.”

Kennedy was misled into voting against Roberts and Alito?

Confirm Them has a devastating disection of Sen. Kennedy's WaPo Op-ed. ... Meanwhile, Senator Kennedy’s essay in the Washington Post is titled “Roberts and Alito Misled Us.” From that title, one might think that Kennedy is having second thoughts about having voted against (and having attempted to filibuster ) those two nominees. But, no, Senator Kennedy is instead arguing that the voting record of Justice Alito and Chief Justice Roberts “reflects … an activist’s embrace of the administration’s political and ideological agenda.” As you may recall, that was Kennedy’s mantra from the day they were nominated, and maybe even prior to that . Sen. Kennedy complains that, “Many Republican senators used their time to praise, rather than probe, the nominees.” Presumably, Senator Kennedy wants to somehow prevent such misuse of time by Republican senators, in the future. ... There is much more and it is hard to see how Kennedy will survive all this ridicule unless he remains willfully i

Pain on/off switch discovered

HealthDaily News: U.S. researchers say they've identified a protein in nerve cells that acts as a kind of gatekeeper for chronic pain. This enzyme, called protein kinase G (PKG), is turned on and activated in response to injury or inflammation. Once activated, PKG triggers other processes that generate pain messages that are sent to the brain. As long as PKG is switched on, pain persists. Turning PKG off relieves pain. "We're very optimistic that this discovery and our continued research will ultimately lead to a novel approach to pain relief for the millions suffering from chronic pain," researcher Richard Ambron, professor of cell biology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, said in a prepared statement. ... I bet Saddam wishes his people could have discoverd this so he could flip the "on" switch. However, I am sure the primary focus of this research will be on switching the pain off.

Beirut crowd has tantrum at UN headquarters

Reuters: Lebanese protesters broke into the United Nations headquarters in Beirut on Sunday, smashing windows and ransacking offices, after an Israeli air strike killed at least 40 people in south Lebanon. Several thousand people massed outside the building in downtown Beirut chanting "Death to Israel, death to America. We sacrifice our blood and souls for Lebanon." By early afternoon, most protesters had drifted away leaving a few hundred people milling in a car park opposite the building, which was being protected by a line of Lebanese soldiers. ... This is pretty typical low functioning mob action in Muslim countries. Ridiculous chants of "death" to their perceived enemies shows their impotence and their manipulation by cynical character's like Hezballah's Nasrallah. Naxrallah got the victims he has been trying to get since the start of this war. He will probably have some success at exploiting these victims he has worked so hard to get. But, their bl

Hezballah gets its victims count up, but will it stop Israel?

Jerusalem Post: "Of course I realize that one mistake by me can change the entire course of this war," said Col. A, an pilot at Ramat David IAF base, when asked whether he was worried that a badly aimed bomb from his F-16 might cause a repetition of the mistaken bombing of a refugee area at Qana in April 1996 that left 102 civilians killed and forced the government of Shimon Peres to end Operation "Grapes of Wrath." But this time around, ten years later, same place and ostensibly same circumstances, Ehud Olmert's government is set on changing the precedent. Unlike the hapless Peres a decade ago, worried about the effect the bombing would have on Israeli Arabs on the elections only two months away (and who ironically this time was on his way to present Israel's case in the US as the incident took place) Ehud Olmert is determined not to allow Sunday morning's bombing of a building packed with refugees in Qana, causing about 50 deaths, to reaffirm the last

Marine Sniper does his job in Ramadi

Antonio Castaneda: He was 5 when he first fired an M-16, his father holding him to brace against the recoil. At 17 he enlisted in the Marine Corps, spurred by the memory of Sept. 11. Now, 21-year-old Galen Wilson has 20 confirmed kills in four months in Iraq – and another 40 shots that probably killed insurgents. One afternoon the lance corporal downed a man hauling a grenade launcher 5½ football fields away. Wilson is the designated marksman in a company of Marines based in downtown Ramadi, watching over what Marines call the most dangerous neighborhood in the most dangerous city in the world. Here, Sunni Arab insurgents are intent on toppling the local government protected by Marines. Wilson, 5-foot-6 with a soft face, is married and has two children and speaks in a deep, steady monotone. After two tours in Iraq, his commanders in the 3rd Battalion, 8th Regiment call him a particularly mature Marine, always collected and given to an occasional wry grin. His composure is regularly tes

Israel thwarts two human bomb attacks

Jerusalem Post: The Haruv Battalion together with Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) operatives caught two Palestinian terrorists in the Nablus area on Sunday, who were armed with an explosives belt and apparently on their way to perpetrate a suicide attack inside Israel. The men were taken for questioning and the belt was detonated. The would-be bombers were caught inside a Palestinian cab just outside of Nablus in the area of the Shavei Shomron settlement. The IDF estimated that the terrorists were affiliated with Fatah and the PFLP movements. The IDF said that Palestinian terrorist groups in the West Bank were working in conjunction with Hizbullah in an effort to carry out attacks in Israel while the IDF was fighting in Lebanon. The terror attack was foiled following a heightened state of alert in the central area after a warning was received that the terrorists had infiltrated from the West Bank. ... This is just the latest example of attempted human bomb attacks in recent weeks.

No welcome wagon for Cindy in Crawford

AP /MSNBC: Like many folks in President Bush’s adopted hometown, 83-year-old Robert Westerfield isn’t exactly rolling out the welcome mat for the town’s newest resident: War protester Cindy Sheehan. “I wish she’d stay away. Crawford’s a Republican town, and she’s a dumb Democrat,” Westerfield, a lifelong Crawford resident, said Friday while sitting on a bench outside a gas station on Main Street. Sheehan, whose monthlong war protest near Bush’s ranch last summer attracted more than 10,000 demonstrators, recently bankrolled the purchase of a 5-acre parcel near downtown to be used for future protests, including one next month. ... Cindy is a disgrace to motherhood. She and her antiwar puke friends should be shunned. She is a creation of a bored media that does not like the President or where he lives. Tony Snow needs to keep them hopping this year.

Make them know they are defeated

David Warren: George Friedman, the well-informed if often too-clever-by-half mind behind Stratfor, the American intelligence consultants, was told by several of his Israeli contacts to "expect some surprises". So was I by mine. And Mr Friedman has spent this last week admitting that he is, indeed, surprised. For he can make no sense of Israel's battle plan against Hezbollah. Neither can I. It made perfect sense this time last week. It appeared the Israelis were closing all exit routes to Hezbollah, in preparation for a large invasion to wipe them out. The number of troops the Israelis had called up suggested a very large operation. They are still calling up reserves, but most of the regulars are waiting for orders. The Israeli incursion has been extremely modest (if bloody); the air war goes on and on. A good sign, for an observer partial to Israel, is that while Syria and Iran have been calling for a ceasefire, Israel has not. The Israelis must think their air strikes

The Israeli boom in bombing enemy

David Aaron: Israel's fierce response to rocket attacks and kidnappings by Hamas and Hezbollah is a consequence of the Jewish state's strategy for achieving peace with its neighbors. Diplomatic efforts to end the fighting need to take this Israeli strategy into account to have a serious chance of success. Waging war and killing innocent civilians along with terrorists seems a strange way to give peace a chance. But Israel's leaders apparently see no alternative, because they believe their withdrawal from Gaza last year -- like their pullout from Lebanon in 2000 -- has been interpreted in the Muslim world as a sign of weakness and consequently led directly to the new wave of attacks. Israel has accepted the existence of a Palestinian state, and is committed to exiting the occupied territories for the most basic reason -- demographics. Polls show Israelis realize they cannot protect their security by occupying a population with a non-Jewish majority. Israelis would pr

Under the bluster, Iran is worried about the pounding of its proxy

NY Times: These should be heady days for Iran ’s leaders. Hezbollah , widely regarded as its proxy force in Lebanon , continues to rain down rockets on Israel despite 17 days of punishing airstrikes. Hezbollah’s leader is a hero of the Arab world, and Iran is basking in the reflected glory. Yet this capital is unusually tense. Officials, former officials and analysts say that it is too dangerous even to discuss the crisis. In newspapers, the slightest questioning of support for Hezbollah has been attacked as unpatriotic, pro-Zionist and anti-Islamic. As the war in Lebanon grinds on, Iranian officials cannot seem to decide whether Iran will emerge stronger — or unexpectedly weakened. They are increasingly confident of an ideological triumph. But they also believe the war itself has already harmed Hezbollah’s strength as a military deterrent for Iran on the Israeli border. And foreign policy experts and former government officials said that Iran had come to view Israel’s attack on Leban

The calm and heroism of the "pregnant lady" in Seattle shooting

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: In news accounts she's been called "the pregnant lady." People close to her say she would be a bit miffed by such a clipped, if apropos, moniker. Let's call Dayna Klein something else: Seattle hero. Klein, who survived being shot by a gunman who forced his way into the downtown offices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle on Friday, is actually a hero twice over. When the gunman, identified as Naveed Afzal Haq, fired a semi-automatic her way, Klein moved her arm toward her womb in an act of maternal defense.The bullet struck her arm, authorities say, likely preventing possible harm from coming to her unborn child. That was the first heroic act. Her second came when Klein defied Haq. As Haq scanned the office space he warned terrified people not to call 911. But "that's what she did," Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske said, referring to Klein. Klein, 37, crawled back to an office in the building. She got on a

Calm returns to Baghdad with return of US troops

Sunday Times: HEAVILY armed American troops have returned to some of the most violent areas of Baghdad, patrolling the streets and setting up checkpoints in an attempt to regain control of the city and quell increasing sectarian violence. Their return sparked fierce criticism from opposition leaders but was welcomed by many ordinary Iraqis desperate for peace after months of murderous violence between rival militias. US soldiers in tanks and armoured vehicles have moved back into many parts of the capital handed over to the Iraqi police last March after the opening of the country’s new parliament. Yesterday proved to be one of the most peaceful days in months with no deaths reported in the capital by late afternoon, although two Sunni mosques were raked by gunfire which injured a guard. In contrast, an average of 100 people have been dying in sectarian attacks every day in Baghdad. ... In Jihad, a suburb in the west of Baghdad notorious for clashes between Sunnis and Shi’ites, resident

The absence of the suicide bombers

CBS: Suicide bombings have long been the most visible symptom of the struggle between Israel and its Muslim enemies, but during the most recent fighting there have been none. Hezbollah's fighters along the Lebanese border are firing rockets into Israel and fighting a guerilla-style campaign against Israeli troops, while Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip have not been able to strike back at Israeli forces. "The focus for Hamas and Hezbollah is fighting Israeli forces, so they haven't been putting as much energy into sending a suicide bomber into Israel," said Yehudit Barsky, director of the American Jewish Committee's Division on Middle East and International Terrorism. But the absence of suicide attacks is not likely a permanent development. Hezbollah pioneered such bombings in the 1980s — most famously with the Marine barracks bombing in Lebanon that killed 241 people — and Palestinian militant groups terrorized Israel with dozens of bombings during the Int