The Belmont Club: A Knife-Thrower at the Carnival

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Belmont Club: A Knife-Thrower at the Carnival: "Considering the fact that UNIFIL peacekeeping mission was a dead-letter it should naturally be asked why Kofi Annan, as their ultimate commander has seen fit to keep them in a position of danger where their only chance of safety actually depends on accurate targeting by the IDF. Their positions are manifestly so close to the Hezbollah; their convoys so at risk at being confused with mobile Hezbollah forces that only by the grace of God and the accuracy of the IDF have fatalities been avoided until now. They were willing to take the risk. Annan was willing to make the hay. You be the judge of Kofi Annan's competence both in the care of his men and with respect to the accusation he has made against the IDF."


[Update&bump: The fact that Hizb'allah has been staying real close to the UNIFIL forces in general came up in the comments. Rick Ballard provided the image I've now added to show just how close Hizb'allah is to UNIFIL.]

[Further update: from Anti-Mullah: "United Nations & Hezbollah flags flying side by side at the Lebanese Observation post where four UN "observers" from Ghana were reportedly killed by someone." Emphasis is mine, and I don't know how much stock to put in it (a site named "Anti-Mullah" would seem to have a certain viewpoint from the start.) If confirmed, it would seem very informative.]

52 comments:

Peter UK said...

"UNIFIL peacekeeping mission was a dead-letter it should naturally be asked why Kofi Annan, as their ultimate commander"

For God's sake don't give the man an army!

CF said...

Recall if you will that the UN refused the US offer to provide security for its facility in Baghdad. That facility was bombed by people the UN hired to protect it. The UN then fled the scene.

Kofi's incendiary and unlikely charge, I think , may have been to deflect from his own bad judgement. OTOH I think just as he tried to harm the ADministration before the last election, he made this charge out of pique. If the world thinks the Israelis deliberately targeted the UN peacekeepers, doesn't that add pressure on the administration to support an immediate cease fire which Hezbollah and Kofi want and we oppose?

Do I adequately convey my unmitigated contempt for this first order grifter and terrorist enabler?

Barry Dauphin said...

Not only is Kofi make this smarmy charge, but I read (can't find the link right now) that UNIFIL was repairing the roads Israel bombed. They are acting on behalf of Hizzballah. I wonder if the Hizzies pay kickbacks to UN personnel.

Knucklehead said...

Barry,

I believe the word is "bribes" rather than "kickbacks" although I freely admit I could be wrong.

The UN "peacekeepers" were implicated as Hezbollah protectors (at least) in a previous kidnapping of Israeli soldiers.

Hezbollah built up their present strength under the watchful eyes of the UN "peacekeepers". The UN is corrupt from top to bottom and side to side.

Peter UK said...

The UN,a wholly ownded subsidiary of The Arab League and Tyrants R Us repairing the infrastructure for Hezbollah.

CF said...

I have a report that Canadian radio today carried a report from a well-respected source that a Canadian UNIFIL member emailed him guardedly indicating that Hezbollah was using them as human shields.

Of course, they would.

The question is--why were they not told to leave the area by their bosses?

Seneca the Younger said...

Clarice, I generally don't like to make this kind of accusation, but I've got to wonder if Annan isn't purposefully endangering the UNIFIL in order to have a "catastrophe" to use against Israel.

Rick Ballard said...

What function does UNIFIL perform by remaining? (not that they performed any measureable function prior to July 12.) If Kofi was concerned about their safety he could have had them withdrawn - he still can. Israel would certainly give them passage to Haifa and they could catch a ship to Cyprus from there.

They would be just as effective in Cyprus as they have been in Lebanon.

Peter UK said...

Rick.
Without UNIFIL,who is going to repair the transport infrastructure for Hezbollah?

Barry Dauphin said...

Knuck,

You're right of course. I was sort of playing with the word kickback because of it involving construction (like the Big Dig). But bribery with moollah, women and consciousness altering substances wouldn't surprise me.

Peter UK said...

Looks like UNIFIL is there for target practice,just in case Hezbollah runs out of civilians

Peter UK said...

A litle light relief

Rick Ballard said...

StY,

This might be a useful pic for this post.

Peter UK said...

Another update: Again thanks to dave the mad jock for a link to an interview on CBC radio with Canadian retired major general Lewis Mackenzie, discussing the death of a Canadian peacekeeper, one of four killed at the UN outpost on Tuesday, whom he knew:

We received emails from him a few days ago, and he was describing the fact that he was taking fire within, in one case, three meters of his position for tactical necessity, not being targeted. Now that's veiled speech in the military. What he was telling us was Hezbollah soldiers were all over his position and the IDF were targeting them. And that's a favorite trick by people who don't have representation in the UN. They use the UN as shields knowing that they can't be punished for it.
Harry's Place

Rick Ballard said...

Peter,

That's a fair trade for not doing their jobs in the first place, isn't it? I wonder if the UNIFIL fellows might consider shooting a few Hezzie's to discourage them? If they actually have any ammo, that is.

Peter UK said...

Rick,
Unfortunately the ammunition was on a Liberian freighter which delivered it to shipping agents,Hez & Bollah,in Beirut.The Secretary General Kofi Annan has said "A full inquiry has been set in motion,but that there should not be too much public concern since UNIFIL have not yet received the Guns shipped January 2002".

Seneca the Younger said...

Right you are, Rick. Updated.

Barry Dauphin said...

Well this headline says Hezbollah is on the run Ahmadinejad Calls for Lebanon Cease-Fire. As Lee Marvin said in The Dirty Dozen II: "It's a go. Take 'em down!"

Peter UK said...

Iranian wepons captured by the Israelis Very new looking.

Rick Ballard said...

Barry,

That really sounds very, very serious. It's a shame this has come up just as everyone is starting to leave for their August vacations. I'm sure the world will get right on it after Labor Day. After cleaning up all the accumulated paper work, of course.

In the meantime the Hezzies will just have to go it alone, except for their UN allies of course. I do hope Israel is reasonably careful about killing them.

In the "don't miss any" sense.

Peter UK said...

The Canadian Prime Minister has kicked Kofi up the jacksie concerning the UNIFIL troops who were tragically killed.
Taking into account the words of Lewis Mackenzie,it appears that Tottenkopfi is behind the curve.
We can now expect the standard mud slinging of the international bureaucrat to deflect blame.

Skookumchuk said...

Belmont Club has some updates to his post. Love the topo maps.

Barry Dauphin said...

Rick,

Of course, one of the ironies of the situation for Hezbollah----with allies like the UN, who needs enemies!

terrye said...

There is no reason for those people to still be there. I am glad Kofi's time will be up soon. but I doubt if the next one will be better.

Peter UK said...

The UN secretary general Kofi Annan says an Israeli attack on a UN observation post was "apparently deliberate". Four unarmed military observers were killed in the air strike in southern Lebanon. ...

So the observers were unarmed,given no instructions to withdraw and were invested by Hezbollah fighters....what an abject piece of shit the Secretary General is.

CF said...

I's work round the clock for any presidential candidate who promised to pull the US out of the UN.

Peter UK said...

cf,
The Soviet Union via Alger Hiss certainly stitched you up on that one.

Rick Ballard said...

Barry,

I believe that Israel is making an error if it believes that exchanging soldiers lives for decent press is going to work out. There is no military reason to not reduce the strategically placed villages to absolute rubble prior to sending in ground forces. The citizenry has been given adequate warning and their safety is their own concern - not the Israelis. The cause of death for any non-combatant killed in southern Lebabnon from now on is stupidity.

CF said...

Easier said than done, Rick. I expect they are trying to spare civilians not only for better press, but for the sake of their own soldiers as well. It is hard to say this, but I believe they'd rather go slow and lose a few more of these beautiful young men than have returning home the sort of people who've lost respect for life.

Rick Ballard said...

Clarice,

Do you believe that the men flying the bombers which killed 200K French civilians during and after D-Day lost respect for life? The first time I had dinner in someones home in Italy I asked about a picture of a young woman which was sitting on the mantel. It was a black and white and obviously of some age. The woman was my friends mother who had been killed by Americans bombing Pisa, his wife's brother had been shot by the Germans in front of her and her parents because of he was suspected of being a partisan (he was).

War is the ugliest and dirtiest busines that men conduct and sacrificing your own men to protect not so innocent civilians just prolongs the horror. The tactic of holding civilians hostage will continue until it doesn't work because attackers come right through them.

Olmert is meeting with his cabinet right now with the intent of expanding the war. We'll see how long the Israeli government will go with the current ROE.

Peter UK said...

It appears the actual damage in Beruit is much LESS than portrayed.

CF said...

I know you're right, Rick, though you must admit that dropping bombs from aircraft is a bit different than charging into a home and spraying every man woman and child in it with fire because there's a thug hiding in the closet. I know it has to be done, but I can understand that they initially hoped it was unnecessary,
OTOH if Israel had "carpet bombed" as that dope Shep Smith had claimed the other day, the area would already have been cleared.

lurker said...

I just read that Olhmert is calling an early morning meeting to discuss the expanded effort against Hizbollah.

Hizbollah released 151 rockets against Haifa on Day 15, highest so far.

Today looks like an awful and bloodiest day but Israel will prevail.

Rick Ballard said...

Clarice,

You might have missed one sentence in my post: "There is no military reason to not reduce the strategically placed villages to absolute rubble prior to sending in ground forces." That's a reference to 2nd Fallujah tactics. The Israelis are trying out 1st Fallujah tactics at the moment - with the same success the US had. Sacrificing soldiers to protect hostages - willing or unwilling - is just bad business. It encourages hostage taking and results in higher civilian casualties than does absolute lethality from the beginning.

The war came home to me today. The name Cpl Joeseph Graves is going to show up in the casualty reports within a day or two. I first met Joe (then Joey) in the first SS class I ever taught, some 12 years ago. I've never complimented the tactics chosen by the administration to fight this war and I never will. Eventually the tactics are going to lead to slaughter on a scale unseen since WWII.

lurker said...

http://israpundit.com/2006/?p=1995

Israel Cabinet meeting shortly to authorize a major call up and a major invasion.

Good move, I think.

lurker said...

But I am not sure about Israeli giving up Sheeba Farms because it provides them strategic protection.

Luther McLeod said...

We should be joining hands with Israel and helping in any way we can. We could put at least two divisions, with unlimited Air Force and Navy support, at service in securing Lebanon and Syria. Then a breather, for a bit, before pushing on to Iran. This crap will last forever until we finally choose to end it. It is only the Kerry's of this country that impede resolution.

CF said...

Rick, I am sorry to hear that news.
Yes, I think this is more like Fallujah 1 than Fallujah 2. But I think Fallujah 2 is coming..it will come only after there's been a bigger mobilization.
There is some good news. Apparently Israel has broken into Hezbollah communications (before they smashed them).

terrye said...

I am not so sure that the Israelis believe reducing those villages to rubble will help. I heard an IDF man say that they are underground. Dug in. They will have to go in and get them. Maybe that is what Hizbellah had in mind all along. Make them come in and get us.

Peter UK said...

Terrye,
They don't have to go in and get them,just make sure Hezbollah doesn't get out...ever.

lurker said...

Or that Israel is waiting for an opportune time to use the USA bunker busters?

Did you listen (or read about) Al-Zawahiri's new tape about the jihad that will ignore all cease-fires with Israel? Makes it even more obvious that their goal is to completely wipe out not only Israel off the map but also to wipe out all Jews off the world map.

lurker said...

"I believe that Israel is making an error if it believes that exchanging soldiers lives for decent press is going to work out."

It didn't work out in the past and will not this time.

Rick, you made an interesting comment about the Fallujah approach and that you didn't think it would work with Bint Jbail. I'd like to know why you don't think it will.

After listening to the Fox News last night about the Hizbollah hiding out in the farm lands, I wondered if this is why Israel is now thinking of a massive invasion to weed out the Hizbollah from the farm lands in addition to capturing Bint Jbail, then on to the smaller villages.

I don't think Israel should give up the Sheeba Farms as one of the bargaining chips to convince Saniora to agree to a ceasefire. Saniora has to agree to build up his government and army plus denounce terrorism first.

I'm also reading about Annan's comments about the UN Observation Post backfiring on him. UN is pretty much useless and ineffective.

lurker said...

I see that Israel decided against a massive invasion. They must have something up their sleeves. But I also have feeling that Hizbollah may be weakening at the same time. Isn't Israel holding around Bin Jbail so that no enemies can go in or out?

Knucklehead said...

From the UN website: The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, was created in 1978 to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, restore the international peace and security, and help the Lebanese Government restore its effective authority in the area.

That's roughly 28 years of "interim". From dictionary.com:

in·ter·im
n.
An interval of time between one event, process, or period and another.

adj.
Belonging to, serving during, or taking place during an intermediate interval of time; temporary: an interim agreement.

In that rather extended "interval of time" between two events, processes, or periods they did manage to "confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon" but they seem to have failed rather dismally at their other goals.

If they'd done the job they were supposed to do they wouldn't be in danger. Since they'd failed at it for 28 freakin' years they might have just tossed the whole thing any number of years ago.

Just curious but geven the UN "peacekeeping" forces' long history of withdrawing, standing aside, or being held hostage during the various armed conflicts they have been tasked with preventing or ending (see Foreign Affairs' article, Paving the Road to Hell: The Failure of U.N. Peacekeeping), why is it they feel it so important to maintain their positions in this particular conflict? Just askin'.

Knucklehead said...

Rick,

Reducing the villages to rubble would probably make the military task harder rather than easier.

Rick Ballard said...

"They must have something up their sleeves."

Why? They're "fighting" to have a say on the composition of the buffer force which will replace the UN. The problem is that no one wants to be the buffer. I believe that the Aussies have declared themselves unavailable, as has the US and the UK.

Why should anyone else do what the Israeli's are unwilling to do? If the battle isn't worth calling up the reserves - why should anyone be particularly interested?

Knuck,

It didn't in Fallujah 2. There is also the matter of discouraging support for Hezbollah. The locals need to look at their income statements and balance sheets and make a few calculations.

Knucklehead said...

Rick,

I'm just a dope discussing military operations (never a good idea) but to the best of my knowledge the combined US-Iraqi forces did not reduce Fallujah to rubble prior to the battle. It was largely reduced to rubble during the battle.

There are some notable differences between Fallujah and what the Israelis are faced with.

One important distinction is that Fallujah was invested (infested?) by the terrorist over a much shorter timeframe that south Lebanon has been. They had sufficient time to prepare their little slice of murderers heaven but not the six years that Hezbollah has had. They also had less time to infect the local population the same way Hezbollah has. Hezbolla is much more "dug in" than the Fallujah murderers were and, if the bunkers and tunnels talk can be believed to even a reasonable degree they are quite prepared to weather the rubble-izing.

Another important distinction is that the US had the "luxury" of being able to cordon off Fallujah prior to beginning the assault. Presumably Israel can do this for each and every village they need to take but such things are time consuming especially when they don't have full control of the surrounding terrain and, in particular, when there are several - or even numerous - such villages that need to be disinfected.

In Fallujah the US cordoned and then squeezed. They reduced to rubble as needed as they went. This is, of course, what the Israelis need to do but they aren't starting from the same point of control and their enemy is better prepared and, perhaps, better trained and equipped.

A generalized "reduce to rubble" would just improve the fighting positions in which the murderers operate. They'd come out of their holes and have rubble to shield their movements and positions. The rubble-izing must be done selectively, not for the sake of PR or the "poor civilians" but, rather, for the sake of the Israeli troops.

Rick Ballard said...

Knuck,

This article lays out the air assets required to reduce Fallujah. With all that gear and coordination between 15% and 20% of the buildings were demolished. Israel doesn't have that luxury but they do have UAV's and although knocking downs buildings does offer opportunity to hide behind the piles it's still difficult to hide under them.

It may be that Israel is taking a bloody nose to draw Hizbollah reserves down from the Bekaa. Their mobilization of three divisions must indicate something but I'm tired of guessing what it might be.

I'm just not going to applaud sacrificing pawns.

Knucklehead said...

Rick,

Apparently we're talking about the same thing using different words. The article you pointed to is precisely the sort of thing I'm talking about when I suggest that "reducing to rubble" isn't the way to go.

I really don't give a rat's patoot if a single hut in Hezbollahland remains standing when the Israelis are finished. Saving Israeli soldiers from needlessly bleeding and dying, however, requires the systematic, precision use of their military (including air) power. Don't obliterate the village and then go in and fight with whomever is still able to pull a trigger. Obliterate the bits and pieces necessary to flush, channel, pursue and finally corner the rats.

Entire villages can end up reduced to rubble for all I care, I just want the destruction to be systematic and according to a tactical plan that leaves the Israelis as uninjured as possible. They're gonna need their strength for next time which will, sure as sunrise, come.

CF said...

I can't figure out what they're doing either. The latest report is that the next stage is going to be fought largely in the air with due warning to the residents that it's coming.

Knucklehead said...

Clarice,

Today's development seems to suggest that the Israelis have decided to go the retribution route. When a Hezbollah rocket launches from some village, the village will be crushed.

That will not destroy Hezbollah, unfortunately.

I suppose it is possible that this announcement was intended to get "civilians" to finish moving out. I hope that was the intent.

Peter UK said...

I think it is a mistake to regard Hezbollah and civilians as seperate entities as if the former were some kind of army of occupation,they are not,they live there,many of thos killed are the families of Hezbollah.
The infrastructure that is destroyed is the home of Hezbollah,the necessities of life are being denied to the terror group,food water a roof over their heads,even fanatics cannot fight forever with their homes gone.