Hezbollah, Israel, Lebanon

Nasrallah Promises Evidence that Israel Killed Hariri

Clearly, the most important piece of information delivered in Nasrallah’s address tonight (click here for the YouTube video, here for an Arabic transcription of the major points, and here for  an English summary) was the promise that he would return to the subject of the STL indictment next Monday, August 9th, at 8:30 PM. This will be the second press conference in a two-part  series (click here for my commentary on Part I), and the Hizbullah Secretary-General promised that he would provide conclusive evidence that Israel was behind the murder of Rafiq al-Hariri.

Nasrallah said that a Hizbullah team has spent months working on a project which aims to show how Israel has been carefully preparing to convince the Lebanese and the international community that Hizbullah carried out the crime.

Just to play devil’s advocate, one wonders why — if the party has long held information that clearly links the Israelis with the murder — they did not release it earlier when the STL was apparently going after the Syrians. Naturally, Hizbullah’s opponents in Lebanon are going to say that this is another desperate diversion tactic. I, for one, am quite curious to see what the Secretary-General offers up in next week’s press conference.

After five years of cryptic reports and disavowed media leaks it will be interesting to finally get a peak behind the curtain. Of course, Hizbullah is taking a major risk by claiming to back up its accusations of Israel with “hard evidence.” If the evidence appears weak, contrived, or anything less than iron-clad, it will make the party look foolish, in the same way that false witnesses undermined the legitimacy of the STL during the Mehlis period.

More on this later…
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98 thoughts on “Nasrallah Promises Evidence that Israel Killed Hariri

  1. any thoughts on why nasrallah keeps drawing out the denouement? why wouldn’t he just lay it all out tonight?

    Posted by f | August 3, 2010, 4:04 pm
  2. QN,

    “Conclusive” has a very strict technical meaning when it comes to proof. I am sure that is not what Nasrallah meant. What would be the “weakest” interpretation you could give about the quality of the evidence he is promising?

    I don’t understand what Nasrallah is doing. He is either setting himself up to be a big fool or an obstructionist of justice and a waster of Lebanese money. Why pay for the STL if Nasrallah has good proof it is Israel?

    The only explanation I have is that Saudi and Syria with the agreement of Iran have vetoed any violence in Lebanon right now. Perhaps the Iranians want to stop the under current in the Sunni Arabs that quietly supports an attack on Iran and a Sunni-Shiite confrontation in Lebanon would do them harm in this regard.

    Posted by AIG | August 3, 2010, 4:08 pm
  3. Here’s the summary from al-Manar:

    وفي موضوع اتهام حزب الله لاسرائيل باغتيال الرئيس الحريري كشف سماحته عن تشكيل فريق كبير اهتم بارشيف الصراع مع اسرائيل وتوصل هذا الفريق الى نتائج واكد انه في مؤتمره الصحافي سيقدم الدليل الحسي على ان اسرائيل ومن خلال عملائها كانت تستغل الخصومة السياسية بين حزب الله والحريري منذ 1993 لايجاد قناعة لديه واصدقائه ان حزب الله يريد اغتياله، واضاف سماحته انه سيخاطب الرأي العام ليس من خلال مناشدة لجنة التحقيق بالنظر بنظرية اسرائيل بل من خلال اننا لدينا معطيات مؤكداً انه سيقدم معطيات ستفضح افقاً مهمة في التحقيق والوصول الى الحقيقة كما وانه سيضطر الى كشف سر مهم جداً لعملية للمقاومة في لبنان لاثبات المعطيات التي سيعرضها.

    The gist is that Nasrallah said he would present concrete evidence that Israel had been working since 1993 through its collaborators in Lebanon to convince Hariri and his associates that Hizbullah wanted to assassinate him. Furthermore, he said that he had information that would help the investigation arrive at the truth (i.e. that Israel killed Hariri).

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 3, 2010, 4:20 pm
  4. hizballah is the new wikileaks!

    Posted by w_led | August 3, 2010, 4:42 pm
  5. I listened to the speech, and it seems like al-Manar gave more details in their recap than Nasrallah articulated in his speech, no?

    Posted by Mehdi2 | August 3, 2010, 4:47 pm
  6. yup QN…exactly! If he had anything…and I mean anything that would incriminate Israel…why wait till now? I guess he is feeling his chestnuts being roasted over a slow fire!

    It seems the butcher of damascus and Iran have downloaded the obstructionist role to the Seyyed! What a revelation he was today.

    Lebanon; come up with some logical explanation otherwise you are sounding and acting like a trapped raccoon!!

    Posted by danny | August 3, 2010, 4:47 pm
  7. Developing intel, gathering evidence and connecting dots is a process more akin to a gestation than a sudden blessed delivery via stork.

    Takes whatever time it takes.

    The “quiet” post summer 2006, closer collaboration with the LAF et al and the fecund circumstances of the unraveling spy networks no doubt contributed to the quickening.

    Some have hinted that HA had some quality time with some of the traitors before they appeared in the custody of the State.

    Posted by lally | August 3, 2010, 4:50 pm
  8. Would it be safe to assume the likelihood of a HA-Israel war just went down a little bit today? I’m speaking on the short-term of course.

    (1) Israel could have chosen the incident today to escalate, instead the reaction was “limited”;
    (2) I couldn’t help but notice the message behind Nasrallah today: Iza darabtom, nadrob. Is HA trying to tell the Israelis that they won’t initiate a war?
    (3) Nasrallah himself stating, towards the end of his speech, that he does not think a war is likely on the short term.

    The 2 sides do not seem ready at this point. Or am i a bit too optimistic?

    Posted by Moon | August 3, 2010, 4:51 pm
  9. danny,

    Stop looking at the miror. All those descriptions seem to fit you very well.

    Posted by Lebanon | August 3, 2010, 4:56 pm
  10. The evidence might come in different shapes and forms. It is clear that Hizbullah has not yet decided to cut all links with the Hariri camp. They are still awaiting for a clear response from Saad Hariri. The investigative articles that are being published nowadays in Al Akhbar clearly show the contours of the dangerous game the Hariri clan has been playing, those behind it and those who benefit the most from it.

    Posted by Lebanon | August 3, 2010, 5:06 pm
  11. Danny/AIG,
    Some will be more than glad to drink the Nasrallah cool-aid without any shred of evidence but those ar definitely not in the majority.
    It is amply clear that the man is fighting to divert attention from the coming lightning bolt. I have always been cautios by saying that no one is certain who is going to be indicted byt Nasrallahs behaviour over the past four appearances leaves no doubt that he is scared from what is going to hit HA. It further looks that his tactics to threaten and spread fear of another May 7th have failed. He has no choice at the moment but to backtrack, deescalate and distract.
    If the indictment is, as expected , going to implicate HA members then the diversionary tactic os stressing the role of “false witnesses” will not work either. The STL has conducted itself in a highly professional manner by no commenting on any of the Nasrallah tirades. I will be very surprised if the STL produces a smoking gun but they will produce a very well researched and tight case. It is clear that the false witnesses are not playing a role in the indictment to come since the pretrial judge released the 4 generals who were initially held in custody by the Lebanese authorities based on recommendations by Mehlis who is not a part of the STL. I have repeated this issue a number of times so far but it seems that very few , if any, is making the distinction. The STL was formes in 2007 but it did not become operational until ,I believe, a year ago. A lot of time had to be spent in finding the 51% funding, a headquarters, appointment of judges , writing the rules under which the STL is to operate…
    I am willing at the moment to shed my caution and to take the position that Nasrallah has nothing of importance, that he and his party are damaged goods and that no matter what spin they apply the hammer is about to fall.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 3, 2010, 5:06 pm
  12. Better to drink cool-aid than venemous sectarianism veiled under the word “rationality.” And it is time for those who are hiding under it to come out.

    Posted by Lebanon | August 3, 2010, 5:10 pm
  13. Ghassan right on!

    Lebanon; you seem a tad confused and spinning along the maytag dryer you own. I would be more than happy to debate any logical explanation on why Mr. nassrallah seems confused and jittery. His smirk does not hide his fears! Even his sheeple in Lebanon have to come to the conclusion that Nasrallah will be the one that will be sacrificed by Iran to save HA!!

    What a pathetic bunch! I can’t wait till the indictments are issued and the PUBLIC, TRANSPARENT & FREE trials proceed! I feel sorry for you apologist of the murderers!

    Lakhayem!

    Posted by danny | August 3, 2010, 5:12 pm
  14. Ghassan – on the one hand you rant and rave about how the STL is completely separate from the work Mehlis did, yet then in the next paragraph you claim that the whole investigation was conducted within one year, based on an event that happened five years ago, and that the results are somehow going to be legitimate? These two ideas don’t seem to correspond, at least not in my opinion.

    Posted by Mehdi2 | August 3, 2010, 5:14 pm
  15. Ghassan,

    It seems to me that you are more concerned about seeing real evidence implicating anyone other than Syria/HA only due to your pre-formed hatred of both. You continually brush over the complete lack of professionalism that with which the international investigation team handled itself in the course of its so-called investigation by merely attempting to highlight the difference between the investigation team and the actual tribunal. Yet it is no secret that the indictments that will be issued will be based on the reports and recommendations of the investigation team.

    What is even more puzzling is how you claim that the STL has handled itself professionally by not responding to Nasrallah while failing to comment on its silence in the face of claims made by “Israel” that HA operatives will be indicted. How does a so-called “professional” institution allow for the identities of those to be indicted to leak to a country that is known to be an enemy of Lebanon? And if this information was not leaked and/or is false then why isn’t the STL condemning “Israel” and certain political groups in Lebanon for spreading such rumors?

    Posted by Nour | August 3, 2010, 5:33 pm
  16. Mehdi2;
    Let me give this one more try:-)
    The UN formed the International Independent Investigating Commission in 2005. The Irish police Chief Fitzgerald, Mehlis, Brammertz and then Bellemare.
    Lebanon requested later on the formation of a special tribunal. The Security Council obliged by establishing the STL under chapter 7 in May 2007.
    The STL has a number of parts, a Registry,,Defence, Chambers and Prosecutor.
    Very specific laws were written that describe the functions osf each. Ultimately what matters is what the judges of the Chambers say. They have not said a thing yet besides releasing at the first moment possible the 4 generals.
    When the STL was formed the UN did the reasonable thing. They did not want the prosecutor to start from scratch and so the asked the head of the UNIIIC to become the prosecutor, under the rules of the STL.
    The STL has been in operation for a year or so9If you are interested I can get you the exact days) but there is no longer a UNIIIC. The Prosecutor will make use of the investigations done but we do not know what will be used and what will not be acceptable to the pre trial judges. They have already shown their hand with the way that they have treated the 4 generals. Remember that the STL asked Lebanon if it is holding anyone under custody in regards to the case and also asked for the evidence. When the evidence did not meet the standars of the STL they ordered their release not because they are innocent, no trial has been held, but because there was not sufficient evidence to do so.
    I hope that is clear because i do not want to have to repeat this again 🙂

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 3, 2010, 5:41 pm
  17. Nour,
    I do not know whether Israel had any special knowledge about the accused but the information used by the Israelis has been in the MSM for almost two years. Le Monde, Le Figaro, Der Speigel, Al Syassahand even Jumblatt was able to determine that the car that was used in the hit against Hamade came fro the dahieh etc…
    Please do not read into things more than what I write. Do not read my mind for me. Do not play the game of calling me a hater of this or that, Please. I might disagree with an ideology but I am always willing to look the facts in the eye and acknowlege them I do not have to explein this to you but I will, I have never ever hated anyone or anything in my life.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 3, 2010, 5:48 pm
  18. Concrete evidence? In Lebanon?

    Give me a break. When was the last time “concrete evidence” was really delivered in the Lebanese arena by ANYONE?

    NOT EVER.

    My guess is we’ll get a bunch more rhetoric, and vague accusations, disguised as “fact”. Those who wanna drink the kool-aid will do so. And the skeptics will remain skeptic.

    I mean, we all know that in Lebanon, and specially coming from “zuama”, anything they say is “fact” and does not need to be proven scientifically. This will still end up passing as “concrete evidence”.

    It’s real easy for Nassrallah to say “We intercepted communications that leave no doubt that Israel was behind it”. And that will pass as FACT in Lebanon. Nassrallah will, of course, not actually produce any tapes or anything of the sort to prove his “facts”. And the people will take his word as “concrete evidence”.

    We’ve seen this movie before, guys…Nothing to see here. Move right along.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | August 3, 2010, 5:49 pm
  19. Ghassan,
    why is it “amply clear”? to me, there is as much likelihood that Hizbullah has evidence as there is likelihood that the tribunal does. In both cases, i think the evidence will be weak. I think this investigation would have ended long ago if there was strong evidence anywhere.

    But there is no reason to think that Hizbullah’s evidence will be any weaker than the tribunal’s. In fact, since the tribunal appears to think Hizbullah did it, they should have the best evidence in the world!

    The truth is, in any event, whoever is doing the investigation is guessing as to the culprit is (with the exception of the culprit themselves).

    My last point would just be that I don’t see how it is “criminal” (as you said in the previous post) for Hizbullah to withhold evidence (even though, it is unclear whether they did) from the tribunal, considering that jurisdiction of the tribunal is dubious, and reliant on Lebanese authority.

    Yet, as Nour said, your bias is plain and clear. Why don’t you wait for the evidence, rather than judging before we see anything.

    Posted by Joe M. | August 3, 2010, 5:51 pm
  20. Ghassan,

    I am not reading into your mind. I am following the trend of your posts. You have always appeared to support any possible evidence or scenario implicating Syria/HA but reject any and all evidence implicating anyone else. My ultimate question to you is this: Do you believe that the international investigation team handled itself professionally over the course of its mandate? And if not, then how can we trust an indictment by the STL based on the reports and recommendation of this team?

    Posted by Nour | August 3, 2010, 6:10 pm
  21. What I don’t understand is why Nasrallah is using so much “soft” power. It seems that another May 7 is off the table. But why? What is limiting his use of his military strength as a credible threat?

    The only thing I can think of is that no one including Iran wants even a whiff of a Sunni-Shia confrontation in Lebanon, but I am not very convinced by this. Any ideas?

    Posted by AIG | August 3, 2010, 6:12 pm
  22. Joe m,
    Those who don’t pay close attention to the back and forth that we have had wmight get the impression that we are totally on the opposite end of the spectrum. As your post makes clear we are not.
    The most important point, and I will avoid using rule of law phrase:-), is to get a ruling from a court of law that has jurisdiction and close the book on this matter. It has been dragged far too long and has been mishandled by the M14 just as much as any other party. I have no idea what people expect after 5 years. Chances some involved have either, dies, committed suicide or been eliminated. The truth will be very hard to find and even if we are to learn that so and so pulled the trigger so what.
    I do not know the evidence that HA has and I thought( I need to revisit what I said) that I made it clear that I am willing at this moment to speculate by shedding my caustious stand. I might be proven wrong and if so I will be more than glad to admit that. The way I look at it, it seems to me highly unlikely that there is a strong case that implicates Israel, not because I don’t want to implicate Israel but because HA would have hinted at that earlier. They appear to be in a defensive mode, a purely defensive mode. It looks to me that they would not have im-plicated Israel had they not been expecting an indictment of some of their members
    And finally, you and others are free to interpret my position any way you choose.It is your privilege. I disagree with any conclusion that will accuse me of having a blind allegiance. You can look into the archives and you will discover that I have never held Seniora, Hariri, Jumblatt, Gemayel, Geagea … in any high regard. Actually I have been one of their most vocal and even earliest critics.
    In this case I do not happen to think that M14 have been effective either in governance or in the way that they have handled the Rafic Hariri affair but the behaviour of HA in this matter does not pass the smell test.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 3, 2010, 6:21 pm
  23. Nour #20,
    I will be the first to admit that I am very anxious to get this issue behind us. Enough is enough.
    My disagreement with Joe m and possibly with you is that I am willing to accept the STL to be the final arbiter in this case no matter who they indict and ultimately issue a guilty verdict. I am willing to accept an international tribunal set up upon the request of the Lebanese authorities and that will apply Lebanese case law as fair and balanced.
    Again I have to caution not to mix up the UNIIIC and the STL. (Please do not jump to the conclusion that I think that the UNIIIC was biased but as we all well know it is not uncommon for prosecutors to follow one lead and then change course and follow another. But what is most important is not what the prosecutor claims it is whether they can make it stick.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 3, 2010, 6:32 pm
  24. Evidently, some Lebanese patriots AKA BV are unaware that the Israelis have known that HA can intercept their transmissions since the Winograd investigation and Israeli military analysts revealed that fact several years ago. In addition, HA operatives would bust into said transmissions and issue taunts in Hebrew during Operation Just Reward.

    OTH, real Lebanese patriots should take some pride in the shock ‘N awe delivered to the IDF via the LAF.

    Via Debkafile ;~{):

    “The Lebanese army emerges as Israel’s new pro-active foe
    DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis August 4, 2010, 12:12 AM (GMT+02:00)
    Tags: Israel-Lebanon clash

    By launching a cross-border sniper attack on Israeli forces Tuesday, Aug. 3, and provoking a major clash, the 9th Brigade of the Lebanese Army laid down a new fact of life in the Middle East: The next war against Israel will be fought – not by the Hizballah militia, but by the Lebanese army, whose mission is henceforth merged into the radical objectives of the Iran-backed terrorist group.

    By taking on Israeli forces, the Lebanese Army assumed responsibility for the volatile Lebanese-Israeli border and showed it was prepared to take the consequences of aggression. Never seen as capable of anything more than substandard police work and inclined to run a mile from combat situations, this army was described by DEBKAfile’s military sources as having astonished military observers by its performance against the IDF.

    1. Its commanders proved capable of catching the Israeli military unawares, in exactly the same way as Hizballah did when it kidnapped and murdered three Israeli soldiers in 2000 and, again, when it snatched another two Israeli officers in a cross-border raid in 2006.

    In both cases, the terrorists stole across the border into Israel.
    Tuesday, the Lebanese army showed itself to be not only an apt pupil of Hizballah’s tactics, but capable of going “one better.” Its snipers shot Lt. Col. (Res.) Dov Harari, 45, from Netanya, in cold blood as he stood well inside the Israeli border, and seriously injured Capt. Ezer Lakiya from Kfar Harif. Doctors are fighting to save his life by removing a piece of shrapnel from his heart.
    Both were watching Israeli troops carrying out routine tasks on the Israeli side of the border fence.

    2. The Lebanese army was able to hoodwink Israeli military intelligence border scouts and keep its plan of attack dark. The fact that Hizballah was also out of the picture would have been cold comfort for the Israeli high command.

    3. Its commanders were not deterred by Israeli retaliation and rather than backing down raised the pitch of violence.

    4. Israel commanders judged that, by exacting a painful price, they could silence the enemy’s guns. They therefore bombed the Lebanese Army’s regional command center at Taybeh, torched an APC and left three soldiers dead. The enemy kept on shooting.

    5. The day’s combat ended with the Lebanese army’s 9th Brigade established as a new threat to the Israel Defense Forces from positions abutting the border.
    Its presence in South Lebanon is moreover legitimate, unlike Hizballah, which moved men and weapons into the south although prohibited from doing so by the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 of 2006.

    6. The Lebanese army may decide to follow up on its attack, using one flimsy pretext or another. After all, the UN peacekeepers stood by idly when the snipers opened fire into Israel under the world body’s flag.

    8. The IDF’s response was disproportionately mild given the loss of two high commanders in an act of unprovoked aggression. But it was enough to allow Hizballah’s Hassan Nasrallah to pose as Lebanon’s great national unifier.

    In the speech he delivered Tuesday night, he capitalized on the incident by saying he had ordered his militiamen not to interfere in the clash with Israeli forces, commended the Lebanese Army for its bravery in taking on the Zionist foe and let it be understood that his rockets and missiles would be made available for the next round of fighting with Israel.”

    No doubt, some of the above is true. Specifically elements of point #1, along with pts #3,#4, and #5 ring true along with the overall Israeli “astonishment”. Who knows what happened to pt#7.

    As always, the Debkafile self-serving “timelines,” hysterical analysis & dubious versions of events should be regarded with rolling eyes.

    Posted by lally | August 3, 2010, 6:42 pm
  25. AAIG.

    You just don’t “get” that one of Nasrallah’s attributes is his ability to think strategically. That May 7 was a result of the attempt to compromise HA’s communication network should, in light of the Israeli penetration of Lebanese cellular orgs, provide insight into what Nasrallah considered to be a direct & imminent threat to HA’s security.

    Nothing “exisential” about it, unlike the still nascent STL business.

    Posted by lally | August 3, 2010, 7:04 pm
  26. I was disappointed by the speech because the big reveal we were promised did not happen. He had indicated he would be talking about the false witnesses and the local parties behind them. There was an expectation he would name names. But, as he stated in the speech, that file will be postponed while Saudia Arabia tries to find a solution to the predicted indictments.

    Which means that:
    1. Whatever Nasrallah was going to reveal would have been explosive. I would guess he would’ve named Marwan Hamadah and/or Wissam Hassan as complicit, which would sparked a major political fight (at least) in the country.

    2. The Syria-Saudi summit managed to convince Nasrallah to postpone his accusations, in return for some unspecified Saudi action to deal with the indictments.

    Which means that in addition to averting a crisis, the summit was also a (small) win for Hariri, since he bought more time with nothing more than promises, albeit promises with a Saudi stamp.

    It also means that, yet again, the truth will be concealed for political reasons. Boo.

    Posted by RedLeb | August 3, 2010, 7:41 pm
  27. “What I don’t understand is why Nasrallah is using so much “soft” power. It seems that another May 7 is off the table. But why? What is limiting his use of his military strength as a credible threat?”

    Well, I’m not Lebanese and I’m just guessing here, but it could be that Nasrallah knows HA is not responsible and so doesn’t feel threatened enough to resort to force. I don’t know for sure, ofcourse

    Posted by Lysander | August 3, 2010, 8:09 pm
  28. Ghassan,
    Let me tell you what Nasrallah is afraid of:

    Lebanese like you whose brain switches off the moment they hear the word ‘international’, like ‘international community’, or ‘international investigation’, or ‘international court’. Lebanese who will trust the court for no other reason than that it is NOT Lebanese.

    He is also afraid of Lebanese who think they are making a rational argument while stating things like: ‘Nasrallah cool-aid’, ‘amply clear’, ‘coming lightning bolt’, ‘no doubt that he is scared’, ‘very well researched and tight case’, ‘clear that the false witnesses are not playing a role’, ‘damaged goods’, ‘the hammer is about to fall’, ‘they ordered their release not because they are innocent’, ‘they appear to be in a defensive mode’.

    Wow. The (alleged) indictments are not even out, and your keen sharp intellect has already produced iron clad evidence (based on televised speeches mind you) that Nasrallah did it.

    And what is scary about all this, Ghassan, is that Lebanese like you will not sit still for the one to four years it will take to sit through the trial, and examine the evidence, and wait for the verdict. Your biases and assumptions will be magnified, built upon, and mobilized for mass action. We have seen the level of discord when it was just vague accusations. Imagine what will transpire during an actual trial.

    The issue isn’t whether the STL judges will accept shoddy evidence or not. Its whether the prosecutor’s office will use shoddy evidence to take us for a four year ride that has terrible local costs irrespective of the final verdict. The past five years do not fill one with confidence.

    And the most important point is definitely NOT about getting ‘a ruling from a court of law’. That is the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever heard. The most important point is justice. The most important point is punishing the guilty. The most important point is not to squander Lebanon’s only credible defensive capability.

    And for the record:
    1. Why the scare quotes around ‘false witnesses’? Do you not believe there are false witnesses? The IIIC and the STL both publicly stated there were false witnesses. Its not a conspiracy.

    2. The four generals were released because the evidence was ‘insufficiently credible’ (that is, a pack of lies). Stop spreading the myth they were released because of insufficient evidence (that is, its true but we don’t have enough of it). The judge’s order is public, go read it.

    Posted by RedLeb | August 3, 2010, 8:12 pm
  29. RedLeb

    I’m curious as to why you seem to look forward to political explosiveness when it comes from Nasrallah (in the form of accusations against M14 officials like Marwan Hamadeh) but you are against political explosiveness when it comes from STL indictments.

    Everytime Nasrallah goes on TV, he makes barely veiled threats against Israel’s allies in Lebanon, leaving his audience to imagine who these might be (the spies? Geagea? Hariri?) Why is this not incitement?

    And if you find Nasrallah’s evidence next week to be less than convincing, will you hold him to the same standard that you are holding the STL?

    I’m just teasing. I’m sure you will. 😉

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 3, 2010, 9:20 pm
  30. The incident was clearly inside Israel and no Israeli troops went into Lebanon:
    http://idfspokesperson.com/2010/08/03/aerial-photograph-of-location-of-incident-along-lebanese-border-3-aug-2010/

    Posted by AIG | August 3, 2010, 9:46 pm
  31. AIG,

    Your jumping to conclusions in this and the previous post on the basis that “you know the Israeli Army” belies your naiveté as well as your monochromatic look at situations before the full facts are known. I had thought that there might be some glimpse of hope of working with folks like you, but not any more. You’re as bad as folks on the other side who are always sure that Israel is behind everything. Maybe you deserve each other.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 3, 2010, 10:20 pm
  32. HP,
    I was in the IDF for many years and I know how it works. I didn’t say anything until I saw that the unit implicated was a reservist engineering battalion. I then knew, as much as one can know that Israel was not looking for a fight. Furthermore, I was on the Lebanese border and in Lebanon during my service and afterwards and I know where the fence is relative to the blue line in that area. That is why I was confident that a crane a couple of meters after the Israeli fence is not going to be over the blue line. There is nothing naive about that. And in fact, I was absolutely right as the aerial photos show. Or are they forged? While others were shooting their mouths, I was speaking from direct personal experience.

    Let me tell you one more thing. I am also sure Israel did not kill Hariri before all the facts are known.

    If anyone has shown a tendency to jump to conclusions without knowing enough facts it is you, as your ad hominem attack proves.

    Posted by AIG | August 3, 2010, 10:38 pm
  33. Here is a Lebanese that figured out the truth by himself using google maps:
    http://forum.tayyar.org/1127710-post345.html

    Posted by AIG | August 3, 2010, 10:52 pm
  34. Ghassan,
    I do not think you are being honest when you say that you are neutral and simply “willing to accept the STL to be the final arbiter in this case.” You disproved that by expressing your hostility to Hizbullah’s evidence, as though there is no chance what Nasrallah said can be true. Yet we only have to wait one week to know what his evidence is, and then we can judge for ourselves. Hizbullah has a lot of power to collect evidence and i believe that they are an honest movement. I have no doubt that they will have something very interesting to reveal. That’s not to say that i think they have strong enough evidence to “prove” anything, but i find it hypocritical that you have already condemned them to guilt.

    I don’t mind that you are against Hizbullah, but that you claim to be neutral and claim to argue for the rule of law, and then you judge before we have seen any evidence (either from Hizbullah or the tribunal). You say you are willing “to speculate by shedding my caustious stand.” But that’s not what you are doing, you are expressing your biases. Despite your endless thumping that we must obey the rule of law, you have come to your conclusion without a shred of evidence.

    It is my contention that Hizbullah had less reason to kill hariri than Israel did. and that I have a general respect and trust for hizbullah. Given that, i will give them the benefit of the doubt when necessary. But even more than that, I think the evidence that we will see will be weak on all sides. So i have little trust in anyone claiming they have the solution. Im simply surprised you have decided to take a stand…

    Posted by Joe M. | August 3, 2010, 10:54 pm
  35. RedLeb says:
    “And the most important point is definitely NOT about getting ‘a ruling from a court of law’. That is the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever heard. The most important point is justice. ”

    RedLeb, you are not serious are you? Actually it is your above statement that is the most ridiculous statement that I have ever heard and maybe the scariest to boot. So who do you want to deliver justice if not a high court. I hope that you are not advocating a ruling by a dictator or a court that is set up to serve the whims of an authoritarian ruler.

    And please do not use the old tired straw man tactic. Where have I ever rejected an idea simply because it is Lebanese? What gives you right to put words in my mouth that are baseless. You claim that I will not accept this or that when i have been saying for over four years that we should accept whatever the judiciary decides. That is what t the independent judiciary is set up to do.
    As for wating for the indictment you have chosen to pick up phrases completely out of context. Again let me reiterate what I said including in the post that you are challenging. Let us accept the judgeent of the court and those that do not agree with indictments can go ahead and use legal challenges. I am tired of those that threaten strife, that allude to another May 7th, if the STL dares indict members close to them , of those that reject the rule of law. When they protest and protest and protest again then I said it looks that they are worried and that all the protestation not withstanding the court shall indict and then hold trials.

    As for the STL and the 4 generals , allow me to quote from the six month report by the STL: towards the end of paragraph six the report says:

    “the four persons were being released for lack of insufficient evidence to justify their continued detention”.

    And to say that what is important is not whether the judges will accept shody evidence but it is whether the prosecutor will use shoddy evidence shows is not a true assessment since the STL was structured to have a Prosecutor, a Chamber of Judges and a PreTrial judge with specifc charges to review and rule on the evidence by the prosecutor. That was how the 4 generals were set free.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 3, 2010, 10:55 pm
  36. Coward “Israeli” hoodlums never get tired of lying. This photo shows that the coward terrorists were inside Occupied Palestine while another coward terrorist was inside Lebanon trying to cut the tree suspended on a platform (those coward terrorists think they are cute):

    http://www.tayyar.org/Tayyar/Multimedia/Photos/PhotoViewer.htm?IMG=422737&PID=19&AID=25676&FAV=False&LUP=False&MVD=False

    Posted by Lebanon | August 3, 2010, 10:57 pm
  37. AIG,

    Each one who jumps to conclusions without full facts on the ground is simply guilty of prejudging and hence of prejudice. It’s that simple. It’s OK to have a hunch or express a belief in a certain probability. Certainty is a different matter.
    I also believe it extremely improbable that Israel had anything to do with Hariri’s assassination but I’m not going to say that I’m sure and I know for a fact.
    I don’t doubt all your statements about your service in the IDF and your knowledge of the area, etc., but there’s no convincing evidence that any of the photos in any of the previous posts is genuine from the right location and time. Expressing a guess in one probability vs. another is OK. Expressing certainty when facts are not objectively known constitutes prejudging and jumping to conclusions. I stand by my statement above. You would have deserved credit if you acknowledged the need to wait and see (while expressing your belief in a given probability – but not certainty). You chose to assert certainty which to me, is just like those asserting certainty in Israel’s guilt in Hariri’s assassination.
    Tit for tat begets eternal conflict and war. For those who want it, so far so good. I don’t.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 3, 2010, 10:57 pm
  38. I’ll believe the UN when they issue their findings on this incident. I won’t believe the propaganda or prejudgment of either of the sides otherwise unless it is endorsed by a UN finding.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 3, 2010, 11:01 pm
  39. No one is scared anymore of coward terrorists hiding behind their US war machine. It seems that only the so-called strengthend UNIFIL is:

    Posted by Lebanon | August 3, 2010, 11:12 pm
  40. Joe m,
    I have never hidden the fact , actually I have always trumpeted it, that I disagree strongly with the very principle on which Hezbollah is established. In my vision of the world there is no room for religion in the public arena. (I would personally prefer not to have any organized religion) but I am eqully opposed to political feudalism and traditional tribal leadership.
    Do I have a particular paradigm or vision of reality? You bet I do. But that does not mean that I will not accept a judgement that I do not believe in. I do not want to rehash what we discussed yesterday but I feel compelled to accept a judgement by the highest court in the land. (In this case the STL was set up to be the highest court in the land on this issue).
    I do niot want to keep repeating the same thing . You do not think that they had a motive to kill Hariri, I am saying that they if the indictmentd that everyone seems to be expecting are true then the defence is not to threaten sedition, or the use of arms or even a press conference but to build a legal defence. Since they are so well intent on not accepting the legal chanells and since they are willing to discredit and delegitimize the hudiciary institution then I am of the personal opinion that “the Sayed protesteth too much” with apologies from Shakespeare. But you should know that I will accept gladly any ruling by the courts.

    You are a lawyer and a good example of what the rule of law means is the current immigration case in the US. When the judge struck down the Arizona law all accepted the new rulings although they disagreed with it. There will be an appeal and eventually i expect the supreme court will rule one way or another and that will be it. All sides will accept the ruling. This should be no different.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 3, 2010, 11:18 pm
  41. Actually it is your above statement that is the most ridiculous statement that I have ever heard and maybe the scariest to boot. So who do you want to deliver justice if not a high court.

    Ghassan Karam,

    Keep up the good work. You’re the most objective person on QN’s website.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 3, 2010, 11:27 pm
  42. HP,

    I believe the IDF spoke person and don’t trust the UN one bit. They have lied plenty of times about incidents on the Lebanese border because they are afraid of retaliation by the locals. Your view is very naive.

    I’m sure you do not remember this:
    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/UN/UNcoverup.html

    How can you call an aerial photograph that can easily be verified propaganda? What is your basis? Being skeptical without good reasons is very easy. Why are you skeptical about it?

    By the way, are you certain that other people beside you exist, or are you still waiting for evidence? You know, you can never rule out that you are being deceived by an evil demon.

    Posted by AIG | August 3, 2010, 11:28 pm
  43. By the way HP,

    Tit for tat from a game theory point of view is a great strategy to achieve long term cooperation.

    Posted by AIG | August 3, 2010, 11:33 pm
  44. threads like this one are the reason why Lebanon will never be a viable state. You guys are so hopelessly divided that your country is a mirage. Wake up smell the coffee and divide the place up so that you can stop the infantile debates.
    G Karam tries to make a couple of well thought out legal arguments and a couple of posters decide he is the anti christ.
    I love it when the Israelis step into the discourse. Like it is going to make a difference with the HA kool aid drinkers.
    Lebanon has flawed DNA. There is nothing about it that justifies its further existence. It took the Sunnis close to 100 years to accept the lebanese state, HA and their ilk will neutralize it until they take it over and the Druze who have a hugely disproportionate influence over the country play survivalist in between massacring Maronites. You should all be using your energy on an orderly dissolution of your so called country.

    Posted by asmith | August 3, 2010, 11:44 pm
  45. AIG, all I’ve seen is an aerial/satellite photo with a red dot on it. Perhaps to a satellite surveillance expert, that could be evidence. But for me, the red dot could have been placed anywhere and there is no way for anyone to verify it. I don’t like the UN anymore than you do (though for very different reasons) But they are as close to an objective observer as we have.

    That said, I have no idea what occurred and the incident could easily have happened as you describe. Therefore what? Israeli jets violate Lebanese airspace on a regular basis. They break the sound barrier and make mock bombing runs to frighten the Lebanese. They did so during Cast Lead just as a “warning.” So, if on this particular occasion, Israel happened not to have violated Lebanese territory, I’m not impressed.

    Posted by Lysander | August 3, 2010, 11:56 pm
  46. Ghassan,
    you are misunderstanding me. I don’t mind whether you dislike Hizbullah. I mind that you have been trumpeting “the rule of law” and yet you have decided the case yourself before seeing the evidence.

    Also, not to rehash an old conversation of ours, but I am always surprised when you express a lack of understanding of the conditions which gave birth to Hizbullah. Because, to be shocked at Hizbullah’s rejection of the “rule of law” in lebanon, or the jurisdiction of an unrepresentative state, is like being surprised by black people’s rejection of jim crow laws. When you argue for justice, you pretend it’s a neutral justice. But it’s not and never will be, and that’s a fact.

    Posted by Joe M. | August 3, 2010, 11:58 pm
  47. Lysander,

    The question is not whether you are impressed or not. The question is whether we are going to have another war or not. The overflights do not kill anybody. You want another war, keep killing Israelis with no good reason. What the Lebanese Army did was idiotic and could have led to a full scale war.

    As for the photograph, it is easy to see from it that the Israeli fence is quite far from the blue line. You do not need to be an expert to do that. Also, all the pictures show that except for the crane that was about 2 meters after the wall, all the Israeli soldiers were on the Israeli side of the fence. So NO ONE was in Lebanese territory.

    Posted by AIG | August 4, 2010, 12:21 am
  48. (just to be clear, in lebanon now, “law” is especially biased. it could get better if it were more representative. I don’t think the tribunal is representative, but that’s a second tier criticism of it. When i said “it’s not and never will be” i was referring to law in general.)

    Posted by Joe M. | August 4, 2010, 12:23 am
  49. Nasrallah’s speech was basically to commemorate the 4th anniversary of the 2006 war. He reminded everyone what they owe HA and how HA–and the people–are the only ones who won the war–against the like of John Bolton. Quoting Noam Chomsky was a hoot!

    As for the STL affair let us wait for the evidence he promised next Monday. IF the evidence point to how the Israelis were working on ensuring that HA operatives are implicated (quite possible), this does not address who actually assassinated Hariri. The question is whether the STL can still arrive at the truth of who ordered or commissioned the assassination.

    Is it likely that some Syrians had been involved–why else would Kanaan commit suicide, and Shawkat –or others assassinate Suleiman in Syria? What is going on within the Syrian intelligence apparatus between 2005-2008 and why? Is the Hariri assassination part of the equation or is it an entirely internal affair–power struggles? To what extent is Lahoud involved–if at all? Will these questions be answered, by the STL –or by a future Lebanese committee that Nasrallah was calling for?

    In the meanwhile, remember that the need for closure for many Lebanese, especially Sunni Lebanese, is not something that can be negotiated away! Even if Saad Hariri can accept not knowing who the killers of his father are, many Lebanese –and other “international” parties have a stake in knowing the truth (or getting “justice”).

    Posted by Parrhesia | August 4, 2010, 1:30 am
  50. I will be curious to see how Nasrallah’s evidence is received. It seems unlikely to me that it will be a smoking gun, but who knows until we see it?

    I think, though, that QN’s question to those here poo-pooing undisclosed evidence that STL indictments (which haven’t been issued yet) are to be based on is very important: Will you apply the same level of skepticism to Nasrallah’s evidence as you have to the STL’s?

    I think a lot of people are already inclined to thinking Israel is guilty and will accept as airtight pretty much anything Nasrallah presents on his word and their general attitudes about Israel, just as they dismiss as fictional evidence they haven’t seen yet from the STL.

    There is also the flip side of the coin: those who were “positive” the Syrians killed Hariri and are now “positive” that Hezbollah did. No one seems willing to hold judgment one way or another until the evidence is presented and the trials are held.

    This is an unfortunate state of affairs, as both groups tend to have made up their minds already and are uninterested in any actual evidence that might challenge their respective world views.

    Posted by sean | August 4, 2010, 1:43 am
  51. “You want another war, keep killing Israelis with no good reason. What the Lebanese Army did was idiotic and could have led to a full scale war.”

    Yes it could have and that would be tragic. OTOH, your consistent overflights in Lebanese airspace could lead to war. Attempted kidnappings of Lebanese shepherds, as happened only two weeks ago, could lead to war. And yet, you don’t seem at all concerned about that. Is it because you feel Israel is stronger so it can provoke at will, while Lebanon is weaker and therefore should accept provocations lest it suffer even worse? Is that what you are telling us?

    As for the aerial photo, my understanding is that the fence is south of the blue line in parts of the border and directly on it in others. Whether it was slightly south of the blue line where this clash took place, I do not know. Nor do I care. The clash might just as easily have happened during the attempted kidnapping of the shepherd. Or an IAF aircraft could be shot down while over Lebanon.

    Posted by Lysander | August 4, 2010, 1:57 am
  52. Joe m,
    The fact that I disagree with what Hezbollah stands for does not mean that I do not understand the dynamics that led to their cration. I just don’t think that Hezbollah is a step forward and so it will eventually go down as an aberation in history. This might not be the place to get into a detailed discussion about this but I have always maintained that there isn’t much that I can understand unless I think of it dialectically. For simplicity call me a neo Hegelian if you want. I do not believe for a moment that Hezbollah, religiously based group represents a synthesis. History does not unfold that way, in my perspective.
    I think that you might be mixing up disagreeing and misunderstanding. Marx obviously was opposed to the capitalist mode of production but he understood what makes it tick better than any capitalist. A more contemporary example would be Keynesians and Monetarists. Each group disagrees strongly with the other group regarding most issues but I would suggest that the good ones on both sides have a thorough understanding of the philosophy of the other camp. My point is that I do understand the conditions that have led to the creation of Hezbollah but yet I reject their philosophy totally. I do not reject the idea of resistance or obviously social justice and equality but I am opposed to the specific manifestation of this party because to me this structure is unacceptable and does not represent a step forward towards the end of history.In a nutshell I think that I understand the conditions that led to its creation but yet I disagree with it.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 4, 2010, 2:23 am
  53. AIG, “How can you call an aerial photograph that can easily be verified propaganda? What is your basis? Being skeptical without good reasons is very easy. Why are you skeptical about it?”
    What does the aerial photograph show? Who drew the lines on it, and what evidence is there that the incident happened at the location marked in the picture? — I’m not even sure your point is worth responding to.
    You are as sure of what happened before convincing facts and evidence are disclosed as those in the other camp are sure of the opposite. One of two things happened: either one of the parties deliberately provoked the incident or the tensions were high and a mistake by one of the parties triggered a deadly reaction from the other.

    We are not talking here about UN general assembly political discussions or votes. The professional military personnel of the UNIFIL and of all UN forces in general represents a neutral, disciplined force along with its leadership. No one is perfect and they may make mistakes as well but on balance I’ll trust and believe them before any of the protagonists’ – yes – propaganda machine. You side consistently and blindly with one of the protagonists. You are not objective. I have praised some of your posts and your reasoning when they were, in my opinion, well articulated and convincing. I have and will continue to denounce biased and unsubstantiated statements and positions you make and take.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 4, 2010, 2:33 am
  54. Ghassan,
    It is very tedious how you persist in missing the point. When it comes down between ‘justice’ and a ‘ruling of the court’, I will choose ‘justice’ because, and I realise this might incredibly difficult for you to understand, a ‘court of law’ might be very unjust.

    And no, this does not mean I am calling for a dictator or authoritarian ruler or any such silliness (talk about straw man arguments!). It means that I am calling for a just court. It means I don’t believe having an institutional process auto-magically makes it just. It means that even legally mandated institutions have to be scrutinised and their integrity evaluated.

    As your post #22 makes clear, you don’t care much about justice. You just want a piece of paper issued from an institution that allows you to ‘close the book’ and get on with your life. And that is what I find ridiculous.

    As for the four generals, let me quote from the judge’s order (which is an actual legal document, the report isn’t): ‘information currently available to him was insufficiently credible to warrant indictment of the persons detained’.

    The report says: ‘lack of sufficient evidence to justify their continued detention’.

    Please note the difference between ‘warrant indictment’ and ‘continued detention’. Basically, they had no credible evidence to indict them, and so, there was no reason to detain them further.

    Posted by RedLeb | August 4, 2010, 4:32 am
  55. Isn’t it a straightforward matter for the UNIFIL to say on whose side of the blue line did the tree lie?

    Posted by Badr | August 4, 2010, 4:35 am
  56. Naharnet is reporting that UNIFIL is saying the tree was on the Israeli side of the blue line.

    There should be a more complete official statement from UNIFIL soon enough.

    Posted by sean | August 4, 2010, 4:52 am
  57. RedLeb, I’ve followed the debate. Do you really think there is such a think as “justice,” by which you seem to imply ‘the perfect, absolute justice’?
    Like democracy, civilized nations and a grouping thereof attempt to form the closest they know how. That’s the court system. In the US it’s the legal system, worldwide it’s the world courts, including STL. Without an agreement to respect whichever pronouncement these courts hand down how else can a legal system be followed, a necessity in any civilization. I’m afraid you’re missing the essence of GK’s arguments and seeking idealism in a real world.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 4, 2010, 7:03 am
  58. QN,
    I am not arguing that we should avoid ‘political explosions’ at all costs. I am not adopting dont-rock-the-boat Jumblatt’s stance, whose recent statements suggest Hezballah did it but Hariri should get over it anyway.

    If the STL has convincing evidence that Hezaballah did it, they should proceed regardless of the political ramifications. But if Hezballah is innocent, I can understand why they would view the indictments as suspect and politicized. The STL’s leaks, resignations, and failure to prosecute false witnesses has undermined its credibility and goodwill.

    In the same vein, if Nasrallah has information about who manufactured the false witnesses, he should provide it. Of course I’m assuming he then demands an investigation as opposed to leading a mob to torch the accused’s house.

    As for next week, please note what Nasrallah said was ‘material evidence’, not ‘conclusive evidence’, as you stated in your write up. We shouldn’t expect it to prove decisively the case, but we are promised that it would be direct, physical evidence, and not indications, signs, or a logical argument. We’ll see.

    Interestingly, he also alluded that the evidence could be the basis of a Lebanese-run investigation. I wonder if this is a strategy Hezballah will be pursing to render the STL irrelevant.

    Posted by RedLeb | August 4, 2010, 7:06 am
  59. AIG,

    As sean #55 reports, an exact quote from Naharnet is:
    ” 11:00am UNIFIL military spokesperson Lt. Col. Naresh Bhatt: Investigations are still ongoing. UNIFIL, however, established that the trees being cut by the Israeli army are located south of the Blue Line on the Israeli side.”

    OK, so, once the UNIFIL comes out with its official pronouncement you will be proven right on the location of the trees being cut. It would have been much more impactful for you to either wait for such or to indicate your belief in such, not your certain knowledge. On the other hand, the full investigation needs to continue so that we get as close to the full story as possible. If there are operators trying to foment trouble, the best course is to uncover them in an objective way for the full world to see.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | August 4, 2010, 7:07 am
  60. HP,
    Come on. Asking for the actual perpetrators to be convicted is being too idealistic? What’s your argument? One should suffer being falsely accused to prevent the collapse of civilization?

    And let me ask you this: if the court system is so sacrosanct and unquestionable, why set up the STL in the first place? Why not stick to the local justice system? Because you and Ghassan think not all court systems are just, and some are more just than others. So don’t argue this on the principle of ‘respect whichever pronouncement these courts hand down.’ You also have criteria for these courts.

    Plus the whole, ‘lets respect the rules we agreed to live by’, applies to the constitution and the local courts, not a chapter 7 court imposed from the outside upon a society.

    Posted by RedLeb | August 4, 2010, 7:34 am
  61. If the tree does turn out to be south of the Blue line and if the Lebanese army personnel did not know that then chalk up the incident to a misunderstanding. But if the Lebanese army was aware that this tree is south of the blue line then why did they choose this confrontation? Were the lives of Lebanese soldiers sacrificed in order to send a message? and if so who made that decision?

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 4, 2010, 7:43 am
  62. A question for AIG: You mention how it doesn’t make sense to send reservists to cross the blue line, which I agree would seem strange. Wouldn’t you agree, though, that it’s nearly as odd to send a Colonel to cut down a tree on a routine maintenance mission?

    Posted by sean | August 4, 2010, 8:10 am
  63. Make that Lt. Colonel, which is a battalion-level officer if I understand correctly.

    Posted by sean | August 4, 2010, 8:22 am
  64. As Sean pointed out, UNIFIL is now saying that the tree was in fact south of the Blue line.

    See this very interesting statement from Ehud Barak, as well:

    http://www.naharnet.com/domino/tn/NewsDesk.nsf/getstory?openform&44307444D0D70511C2257775003385E6

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 4, 2010, 8:49 am
  65. If the Ehud Barak statement , as per the link provided by QN in the previous post, holds then this incident explains the “coincidental” presence of the media.

    AIG,
    I am glad that I did not accept your wager:-) but as promised I do apologize for not waiting for further clarifications regarding the initial picture of the Israeli soldier across the security fence.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 4, 2010, 9:12 am
  66. Sean,

    From personal experience I can tell you that holding a line is very boring and mind numbing. There is usually very little action. It is not surprising that the battalion commander was there as probably he had nothing better to do anyway and it was the “highlight of the day” so to speak because everything else is super routine.

    Posted by AIG | August 4, 2010, 9:35 am
  67. GK,

    What good is the apology? You should have taken the bet… 🙂

    You of all people do need to apologize to anyone.

    Posted by AIG | August 4, 2010, 9:57 am
  68. The “Israeli” UNIFIl is continuing the dirty work that the Zionist Thierry Rod-Larsen began after the liberation of much of South Lebanon in 2000.

    As the retired Lebanese army officier Amin Hoteit said to Assafir (and this this is not the first time that he had to correct the UN’s lies and falsifications), there is no such thing as a technical fence or even a blue one between Lebanon and Palestine. It was a fabrication by Larsen who wanted to give the terrorist state additional territories inside the village of ‘Idaissi (1 km long by 120 meters large) and Lebanon at that time refused to acknowledge it beceause it cconsiders them Lebanese territories.

    نفى العميد المتقاعد الدكتور أمين حطيط رئيس اللجنة اللبنانية التي أشرفت على ترسيم الحدود الجنوبية بعد التحرير عام 2000، ما ادعته إسرائيل عن حق لها في الأرض التي حاولت دخولها أمس في بلدة العديسة، بحجة انها ضمن ما يسمى الخط التقني. وقال لـ«السفير» انه لا وجود لخط تقني، هناك خط الحدود بين لبنان وفلسطين الموجود منذ العام 1936، ولا لزوم حتى لوجود العلامات الزرقاء على خط الحدود، وبدعة الخط التقني هي من اختراع الموفد الدولي تيري رود لارسن وقتها لانه كان يريد منح اسرائيل أراضي داخل بلدة العديسة بطول نحو كيلومتر وبعمق نحو 120 مترا، وقد تحفظ لبنان عليها ولم يعترف بها، وما زالت موضع نزاع لأن لبنان يعتبر هذه الارض لبنانية

    http://www.assafir.com/Article.aspx?EditionId=1611&ChannelId=37645&ArticleId=356&Author=

    Posted by Lebanon | August 4, 2010, 10:12 am
  69. Apologizing for a terrorist! What a courageous act!

    Posted by Lebanon | August 4, 2010, 10:13 am
  70. By the way, the Lebanese Army also admitted shooting first:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/04/lebanon-israel-tree-border-clash

    And of course, Israel took down the infamous tree and others today and the Lebanese Army did nothing. Why did they attack yesterday? What a waste of human life for nothing. I hope the Lebanese find the idiot who started the shooting and punish him.

    Posted by AIG | August 4, 2010, 10:25 am
  71. GK #61

    You forget one alternative. The territory could be disputed, i.e. both the Israelis and the Lebanese might deem that tree to be in their territory, prompting gunfire to break out.

    Posted by Doc | August 4, 2010, 10:26 am
  72. With all respect to all of you discussing the incident that took place on the Lebanese southern border with the Israelis. Whether the TREE on the south side of the border or North, or whether it was within the border and the so-called Blue line, most of the commentators seem to forget that Israel ,since its creation, has violated the Lebanese territories, first by annexing 7 villages(1948) , constant border violations, few invasion, few wars, thousands of Lebanese casualties, and thousands more injured, more destructions than any one can imagine. Yet every one is worried and trying to figure out where the tree was. Though I believe the tree was on the Lebanese side of the border, but for the sake of argument, I’ll assume it wasn’t. So what? I don’t hear these kind of arguments when Israel kidnaps teenage shepherd, or when Israeli plans violate Lebanese airspace, or listen- in on every phone conversation that takes place in Lebanon. I can go on and on. The fact of the matter is that The number of violations that Israelis have ,and continue to commit is way beyond the few that have occurred from the Lebanese side. All of you who call themselves objective, please listen to yourself. There is no objectivity non-whatsoever, you just claim to be objective to make yourself sound more reasonable. Having to grow up in south Lebanon, very close to the border, and way before the creation of HA or even the PLO presence in south Lebanon, I learned the Israel is willing ,and has done so, destroy homes on top of civilian families, destroy hospitals,, schools, and then claim to do it in self defense. Here is one example (1948, way before the creation of HA and the PLO) http://umkahlil.blogspot.com/2006/08/1948-israeli-masscre-of-salha-first.html. And to save you time, look at a list of those massacres: http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message799214/pg1.
    What is resisting is that there is a country and people on its border who has the nerve to say no to Israeli aggression, and no to Israeli occupation, and willing to fight for Lebanese . Lebanese sovereignty is as important to Lebanese as it is to any other country.

    Posted by prophet | August 5, 2010, 6:04 pm
  73. Correction,last Paragraph:”what Israel is resisting”,instead of “what is resisting”

    Posted by prophet | August 5, 2010, 6:13 pm
  74. Prophet,
    I am sure that all the incidents of aggresion ,that you mention, are true. But what does that have to do with the incident that took place yesterdayon the southern border.
    Whatwas the message that we sent , at what cost and what were the tangible results?
    I hope that you are not suggesting that one is justified in undertaking an act only because others have done so before.
    If the incident was a misunderstanding then that is obviously acceptable, misunderstandings take place all the time. But if the Lebanese army new in advance that this work was to be done by the IDF and that UNIFIL has been informed about it then this act cost the LAF a few young men, a reporter, a troop carrier, a headquarter building and the possibility of igniting a devastating war. If it is true that Lebanese sovereignty was not under attack then couldn’t the army have sent their message through different channels? What is most ironic is that LAF did not make a sound the next day when the IDF cut down 3 trees in the same location.If the facts are similar to what is being reported in the press then whoever took the decision to sacrifice lives and equioment just to send a message should be held to account for his decision.

    Posted by ghassan karam | August 5, 2010, 6:47 pm
  75. Prophet,

    If you are willing to fight then don’t complain about past wrongs, fight. We are still holding your “seven villages” why aren’t you shooting at us? If you believe your own nonsense, you are obviously doing very little to remedy the situation. And since I as an Israeli can presume that you will fight until you get your “seven villages” back, shouldn’t I attack you in order to make sure you can’t? So in the next war, if we destroy Lebanon’s infrastructure, don’t complain. After all, it is a great way to stop you from getting your “seven villages” back. If you have to spend on infrastructure, you will have much less to spend on war.

    Posted by AIG | August 5, 2010, 6:54 pm
  76. At least you admit that Israel occupies seven villages that belong to Lebanon. That means you will admit that where ever there is an occupation, resistance is a legal mean of getting back territories.
    You can’t claim to be a victim anymore, because you were never a victim. The fact that you have the bigger guns, and a long record of committing massacres does not makes you right. Might isn’t always right. Your whole existence as a state will never be acceptable because Israel was created through murder and terror, and continues to live by terror. History isn’t measured by 60 or 80 years. So your so called objectivity didn’t hold for anything. You took off the mask of being a victim, and I respect that, and our debat will be honest and maybe helpful to other commentators .

    Posted by prophet | August 5, 2010, 7:17 pm
  77. To Ghassan, I Was not suggesting that it is justified or not, I discussing the commentators attitude that Lebanon is wrong because the tree might have been on the Israeli side .And I do believe it was an isolated incident that got out of control. Yet The UN forces were useless and never did do their Job(they never do when it comes to Israeli violations anyway).That might have frustrated the Lebanese officer in the area and led to his order of opening fire(though He had the right to) without taking all consequences into consideration.
    As to what happened the next day, I agree with you. And that is why I said I said that He may not have taking all consequences into consideration. You and I know very well that the Lebanese Army, as brave as they are ,are not capable of confronting Israel militarily, and The Lebanese Government isn’t capable of confronting the usa politically. That is one reason (at least) the Lebanese resistance can do a better job at confronting Israel. If Lebanon is allowed to have a strong Army, we won’t need to have resistance.

    Posted by prophet | August 5, 2010, 7:33 pm
  78. The Song of the Tree Killers

    But if the Lebanese army new in advance that this work was to be done by the IDF and that UNIFIL has been informed about it then this act cost the LAF a few young men, a reporter, a troop carrier, a headquarter building and the possibility of igniting a devastating war. If it is true that Lebanese sovereignty was not under attack then couldn’t the army have sent their message through different channels? What is most ironic is that LAF did not make a sound the next day when the IDF cut down 3 trees in the same location.

    ghassan karam,

    Logic and intelligence doesn’t enter into the equation. Since when has the loss of life ever deterred fanatics, jihadists, and a few Jew and Israel-haters? I mean there are muslim suicide bombers who will gladly kill themselves just to kill another Jew or muslim.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/03/AR2010080306675.html

    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 5, 2010, 7:40 pm
  79. For the record, most if not ALL states are “created through murder and terror”.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | August 5, 2010, 8:03 pm
  80. Prophet,

    Might does not make right? Are you serious? Show me ONE Arab country were that is false. Your society has lived according to this motto for decades! You are a huge hypocrite.

    Regarding the “seven villages”, I don’t even know which villages you are talking about. To me this nonsense just proves that you won’t be happy until there is no Jewish state.

    Posted by AIG | August 5, 2010, 9:42 pm
  81. AIG # 80,
    In order not to sound sanctimonious let me simply say that a might makes right is not the type of world that I want to live in. since it means no justice and since it implies that some are above the law.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 5, 2010, 10:22 pm
  82. “Might does not make right? Are you serious? Show me ONE Arab country were that is false. Your society has lived according to this motto for decades! You are a huge hypocrite.”

    Um, AIG, when you say we (I’m of Egyptian decent) lived by that motto, to whom are you comparing us? Is it with Europe’s rather peaceful history of state formation and colonialism? Arab and Muslim history is certainly filled with unsavory deeds. But in regard to violence and force, I’m happy to compare that history with any other region.

    And yet, I can’t forcibly take someone’s land in Europe and rationalize it by pointing to its dog eat dog history.

    Posted by Lysander | August 5, 2010, 10:50 pm
  83. Lysander,

    Historical facts are historical facts. Europe was a horrible place for a very long time. But that is not the issue. The issue is the present and the realities we (the people of the middle east) live in. Take the Egyptians. How easily have they gobbled up Nasserism which turned out to be just fascism? All of Nasser’s and the officer’s promises were just hot air. Their rule turned out to be anti-democratic and more corrupt than King Farouk’s and based on might makes right. They had the might, they controlled the army and moukhabarat and they ran Egypt like it is their family business. I think we can agree on this.

    But the fact remains that Egyptians by and larger accepted this. They let Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak (with more Mubaraks to come) implement the might makes right paradigm in Egypt. There are tons of excuses why this happened and of course there were many brave Egyptians that paid with their life for standing up to them, but there never was a real popular movement in Egypt able to challenge the dictators and advocate for democracy and accountable government. The only real challenge to the regime are the Muslim Brotherhood. So yes, for decades the Egyptians have been living in a might makes right environment and not really trying to change it. And a similar story can be told for every Arab country except Lebanon were the story is a little different but with the same moral.

    So, I am not comparing you to anyone, just reflecting on the PRESENT Arab situation. In general (I am not saying this applies to you), I find it hypocritical that many Arabs complain about the might makes right attitude of Israel when in fact they are tolerating, even championing, that attitude in their own country!

    If Israel would have lost the war of 1948, there would be no Israel. Fortunately, Israel won. And because Israel became a fact and grew stronger over time, many Arabs came to the conclusion that they had to accept Israel. The Egyptians understood first that war would not serve the interests of anybody. Even Hamas is talking about a hudna and Syria is dying to sign a peace agreement with Israel to get the Golan back. Wouldn’t you say that the might of Israel made the Arabs change their mind?

    So all in all, while none of us on a normative level aspires to might makes right, the facts clearly show that in the middle east this principal is a good description of the current situation inside most countries and between countries. Hopefully, this will change in the future, but what first needs to change are Arab societies and regimes. So let’s all stop preaching to each other, and each person should first change his or her own country.

    Posted by AIG | August 6, 2010, 12:53 am
  84. GK,

    On the normative level I am in total agreement. That is indeed what should be. As for the practicalities of implementation and how we get there in one piece… I have no idea.

    Posted by AIG | August 6, 2010, 1:02 am
  85. It’s certainly unfortunate that Egypt is not a democracy and I wish it might be otherwise. But where are we going with this? Is it your contention that Egypt’s or Saudi Arabia’s lack of democracy justifies displacement of Palestinians? Did Africa’s lack of Democracy make South African Apartheid ok? Pre World War II Poland was run by an unpopular military Government. Does that make the German invasion ok?

    But back to the real topic. Prophet had mentioned that there have been several Israeli incursions into Lebanon that go unmentioned, whereas this last incident was supposedly beyond the pale. What’s your answer? No need to go back to 1948. Let’s keep it to the overflight violations, mock bombing runs, breaking the sound barrier over Lebanon, and attempted kidnappings of Lebanese citizens. Why are those all justifiable, but this last incident not? Is it ok for me to ask this question, or must I await democracy in Egypt first?

    “So, I am not comparing you to anyone, just reflecting on the PRESENT Arab situation. In general (I am not saying this applies to you), I find it hypocritical that many Arabs complain about the might makes right attitude of Israel when in fact they are tolerating, even championing, that attitude in their own country!”

    I’m not sure its the might makes right attitude that bothers us. You, AIG, like to present yourself as a reasoned and rational individual (I’m not suggesting that you are not) talking about democracy, peace, rule of law, etc. But when pressed, you resort to ‘might makes right.’ If that is your ultimate point, why not start with that from the beginning? Indeed, let us apply it to Prophet’s question. It is ok for Israel to violate Lebanese territory, because it can, and there is nothing Lebanon can do about it. Whereas, Israel is very strong so Lebanese incursions into Israel are very dangerous. It has nothing to do with right or wrong, only strong or weak. It would not matter if Egypt or Syria or Jordan were democracies or dictatorships. Only that they are weaker than we are.

    Now that would be a logical answer. And an honest one. Furthermore, it requires no superfluous lecture on democracy. I would not be writing now if you had given it to Prophet.

    Now that we are on might makes right, what then is the argument against HA or Iran? Does it not make perfect sense for them to negate, or at least mitigate, the might of their opponents? Shouldn’t HA try to get the best and strongest rockets, so that you will think twice about any threats to destroy Lebanese infrastructure? Should not Iran develop the option to build a nuclear weapon on short notice if need be? Shouldn’t it do so now while its prime adversary is bogged down in two wars?

    You mention that Israel is now a permanent presence in the Middle East and we might as well get used to it. Let us assume you are correct. It only makes even more sense to try to change the balance of power, then. The stronger Lebanon, Syria or Iran are, the better the conditions of the ultimate peace deal will be.

    Anyway, just some thoughts.

    Posted by Lysander | August 6, 2010, 2:47 am
  86. Lysander,

    Let me explain why it does matter that the Arab countries were democracies. Look at how Europe evolved into what it is now. Could that have happened if the countries were not democracies?
    If we want to move forward to a European model in the middle east, democracies are essential.

    My point is that I strongly believe that Israel’s present actions against Lebanon are morally justified and any responsible government with the abilities to do them would. Israel needs to get the best intelligence it can about Hezbollah and overflights are one way to get intelligence. The only reason I brought out the might makes right issue is because Prophet raises it, I didn’t. I just showed that it was very hypocritical for him to use such argument.

    And yes, you have every right to complain about whatever you want, but it does seem strange to me that you would complain about Israel but do nothing about things more close to home. It is some form of denial.

    To summarize, I think what Israel is doing is justified but I am well aware that you and many, many other don’t and therefore Israel better stay strong. Because until we built enough trust and goodwill and agree on a non-violent way to figure out our differences, we are left with war. By the way, recall that Israel and Egypt had a major difference about Taba and agreed to arbitration which Israel lost and gave Taba to Egypt. So you see, if there is good will and trust, one can put might makes right to sleep.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taba,_Egypt

    There is no reason that if goodwill and trust are established the same procedure could be applied to Sheba. But if prophet keeps talking of “seven villages” and the end of Israel, we will not get there.

    Posted by AIG | August 6, 2010, 9:36 am
  87. No one said democracy isn’t important, only that it has no bearing on whether Israel’s actions are justified or not. Lack of democracy does not mean a country cannot pursue its legitimate national interests. China is not a democracy. And yet, it pursues its interests. One may agree or disagree with them. But I’ve heard very few (not zero, just very few) suggest that because it isn’t a democracy, it shouldn’t conduct foreign policy as it sees fit. There are none who suggest we should violate Chinese sovereignty because it is a one party state. And even if china were a democracy, it would likely behave as it does now.

    But of course, the difference is that China is strong.

    The argument of “Any country would do what Israel does” wont take you too very far. In the matter at hand, the conflict between Israel and Lebanon stems from the fact that numerous Palestinians were expelled from their home and forced into Lebanon. Israel then adopted the attitude that it is Lebanon’s responsibility to ensure those refugees thrust forcibly upon her never trouble Israel again. When Lebanon failed to behave as Israel demanded, it suffered numerous invasions, attacks, bombings. After several years of this, it developed the means to hit back. And it seems to have worked. Israel, according to you, has suffered a violation comparable to 2006. And yet, its response was relatively muted compared to last time. Why is that?

    “And yes, you have every right to complain about whatever you want, but it does seem strange to me that you would complain about Israel but do nothing about things more close to home. It is some form of denial.”

    I would guess every country has problems at home. One can argue that the US is 14 trillion dollars, and growing, in debt. Perhaps it should cut back on its global military presence and not worry so much about which countries do not conform to what ever their idea of democracy is.

    As for Taba/Sinai, it wouldn’t have happened without a 1973 war. Yes, Egypt lost, but it certainly narrowed the gap since 1967. It also put Israel in a position of greater dependency on the US. The US, which was conducting a cold war against the USSR and thought Egypt would be a useful addition to their side, was prepared to pressure Israel to make concessions. It is not prepared to do so now. And will not be until the balance of power shifts (if it ever does. I can only guess about the future not make predictions)

    But thanks for giving Taba back.

    Posted by Lysander | August 6, 2010, 10:27 am
  88. Lysander,

    You asked to discuss the situation now without going back to 1948 and then you go back to 1948. You need to make up your mind…

    Whether the Arab countries are democracies does not bear on “justice” but on whether we can reach levels of trust that will allow us to solve problems without resorting to violence.

    Yes, Israel would have been completely justified to start a full scale war against Lebanon based on the recent incident. And if the incidents repeat, Israel would escalate its retaliations and perhaps we will get to a total war. There were many such incidents in Israel’s past that didn’t lead to a full scale war. Nobody wants a war, and Israel will fight them only if absolutely required. You read too much into Israel’s current action. Let me ask you back, if Hezbollah is so sure of its deterrence why has it not taken any action against Israel since 2006? Why has the border been so quiet?

    Posted by AIG | August 6, 2010, 10:45 am
  89. I’ll try to address comments made on my comments. AIG, obviously you didn’t bother clicking the link I put out there regarding the seven villages(http://umkahlil.blogspot.com/2006/08/1948-israeli-masscre-of-salha-first.html).For you to just deny historical facts isn’t going to help the debate here. Just click the link, and then you ask me which villages I’m talking about. I won’t try to defend the lack of democracy the t Arab countries, yet Lebanon has a long and decent record with democracy. I do admit that our democracy isn’t Ideal yet, but we don’t have the discrimination that your sate has. We’re not “A Muslim or Christian sate”, yours is a Jewish Sate when third of the population isn’t Jewish. You human right record speaks for itself when it comes to the way “your Jewish state” treat non-Jews. Also, your treatments of Palestinians are a story by itself. I wouldn’t know where to start or where I end. I will just refer to one of the Israeli Newspapers, Harratzhttp://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/state-department-calls-israel-s-human-rights-record-poor-1.51316.Not to mention the UN records or the amnesty records, http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/israel-occupied-palestinian-territories.
    So you can’t claim to be a democracy and Jewish state at the same time. Your democracy is only for Jewish population. There are over 1.5 million non-Jewish who are Israeli citizens, yet they don’t enjoy the same rights that Jews do. Israeli is becoming, if not became, the next apartheid South Africa. When I say time isn’t on Israel’s side, you better start looking deeper into your own society and your form of government, or so called democracy. Being the bully of the neighborhood won’t last long. South Africa couldn’t maintain that for long, and Israel won’t either.
    If you want to know why Lebanon is the only country that was able force Israel out of most occupied Lebanese territories, is because of the freedom and the little democracy that we have. If all Arab countries were democratic Israel won’t survive for 10 years. None democratic Arab courtiers are the best thing that happened to Israel. No wonder the US is always protecting the Arab regimes that are run by families or Armies. Israel’s best friends are those regimes your complaining about, not the stated that have some kind of freedom

    Posted by prophet | August 6, 2010, 12:24 pm
  90. correction: last sentence should have said;’not the states that have some kind of freedom or democracy.’

    Posted by prophet | August 6, 2010, 2:04 pm
  91. AIG, looking at the situation today, we see constant Israeli violations of Lebanon. Your argument that they provide useful intelligence maybe a reason. But not a justification. If you continue to do these things, you cannot really complain about the much more rare Lebanese provocations. That is the case without any reference to 1948. But, the events of ’48 are hardly irrelevant.

    “Let me ask you back, if Hezbollah is so sure of its deterrence why has it not taken any action against Israel since 2006? Why has the border been so quiet?”

    According to you it has not. Before this, there have been the occasional rare rocket attack. Israel’s response has been to fire a few rounds of artillery and leave it at that. Besides, HA’s goal in the last war was to capture Israelis and trade them for Lebanese held captive in Israel. And it has already been done. The cost was terrible and even HA admits it wouldn’t do it again. But they got their man, just like you got your tree.

    Let me be clear. No one is denying Israel is the by far the stronger power. No one knows when some provocation, actual or contrived, will cause Israel to go on another killing spree. As an Egyptian, I will never tell Lebanese to seek war against a powerful foe.

    But as an observer, I can clearly see what HA has managed to do. Did it ‘win’ the last war? A better question is how was the last war between Israel and Lebanon different from all the previous ones? And I think you know the answer.

    Posted by Lysander | August 6, 2010, 2:15 pm
  92. Israel is the stronger militarily and no one doubts that, but weaker morally for sure. All the killings and destruction and misery that Israel has done to Palestinians makes it a State with no morality or ethics. All the lies that Israel is “ the victim’ are becoming clear to the whole international community, including the usa. Sure they have the support of the American congress who can always pressure any US administration into supporting the Israeli position. But it is becoming very clear that American are getting fed up with the blind support for Israel. American are realizing that most of the problems the usa is facing in the middle east and the Muslim world are caused by the unjust and blind support to Israel. So Again, time isn’t on the Israeli side at all.
    A country that has hundreds of nuclear bombs is trying to tell us that they fear destruction, by Lebanese or Palestinians or Arabs in general. If they fear that they’ll be destroyed militarily, they must be joking. there is no doubt that the situation is Lebanon isn’t to the Israeli liking, ,and defiantly , not to their advantage. Lebanese are willing to fight, and die in defense of Lebanese territory and sovereignty. All it will take is another war where Israel looses, and then the whole collective confidence of Israelis in their army and their state will get weak, and that might be enough to force them to realize that if they were to live in this neighborhood, they have to change, Though I doubt They will.
    But the Israeli fear of destruction is justified for different reason, Israel’s destruction will be caused by Israeli action and policies. Israel can’t sustain itself as a Jewish state and democracy. Israel can’t sustain itself economically without the help of the USA. The US economic help might still be there 20 years from now, but the demographic change in Israel is changing so fast that I don’t think it will make a difference in 20 or 30 years whether they are strong militarily or how much economic support the get from the usa. There is \also the water shortages in Israel (and the rest of the Arab countries except Lebanon). Where will Israel get enough water to satisfy its needs as the population grows? I tell where they think them will get it from: Lebanon. No wonder why Israel won’t withdraw from the shibaa farm ,Its’ full of water. It’s Lebanese water. Israel knows the weaker Lebanon gets the easier to steal the water.
    Since the late 40’ , Israel had different reasons and excuses to violate Lebanon, and tried to steal it’s water. In the infamous May17 Treaty that was forced on Lebanon, after the 82 invasion, The first things Israel forced on Lebanon was : sharing our water supply with Israel, along with other things that violates the sovereignty of Lebanon.
    My point is that there is enough bad intentions on the Israeli side that makes it impossible to accept this entity. Sure AIG will jump and say that I won’t be happy until Israel is gone from the face of the earth. Will he be gutsy enough and admit that He and most Israelis go to sleep most nights and dream that Palestinians and Arabs don’t exist? I won’t deny that this is the feeling of most Arabs. But our wishes are one thing and the reality is some things else

    Posted by prophet | August 6, 2010, 3:40 pm
  93. Lysander,

    If a reason provided is a good one, then it can lead to justification. A justified belief for example maybe one that you have good reasons to hold. I believe that Israeli overflights are fully justified since Israel has very good reasons to perform them and the risks involved are very small. It is a fact that none of the overflights has sparked an incident that has led to loss of life. This just proves that my a priori estimates were correct.

    If you noticed, I did not complain about what the Lebanese did. I said it was stupid and irrational because the potential costs greatly outweighed any gains they could have gotten from this incident. But really, it is up to the Lebanese to decide how much risk they are willing to bear.

    What exactly has HA managed to do that Syria and Egypt could not have done years ago? If Syria would have shot their SCUDS at us, they would have done much more damage. But why didn’t they do that? Because the cost would have been commensurate. So yes, Hezbollah caused Israel more damage, but Lebanon paid a huge price. Of course you can cause great damage to Israel if you don’t care what happens to your own side. That is why suicide bombings were effective. That is why most Israelis are against Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. But really, that does not show any ability that one should be proud of. Even the Lebanese army can tomorrow bombard Nahariya or Kiryat Shemona and kill many Israelis before Israel could react. So what?

    All Hezbollah did was allow Syria to manipulate Lebanon so that Lebanon would suffer for Syria’s quest to get the Golan back.

    Posted by AIG | August 6, 2010, 3:47 pm
  94. It is a fact that none of the overflights has sparked an incident that has led to loss of life.

    Posted by prophet | August 6, 2010, 4:26 pm
  95. Lysander is justifying the Israeli over flights over Lebanon for “good reasons”, yet He fails to tell us what those reasons are. What ever your reasons might be, it’s still a violation of a sovereign state, International law, and UN resolutions. He states that “the risks involved are very small” Risk to who? He never made it clear. He also says: “It is a fact that none of the overflights has sparked an incident that has led to loss of life.” Well, what is one of those planes is shot down? What of other neighboring states decides to conduct overflights over the Israeli air space for good reason? Reasons that are good enough in that states opinion, making sure that they don’t lead to loss of life? What would He think about that? Again, it’s the same argument of whether might is right or not.
    Unless you start respecting international laws, and UN resolutions that forbids these activities, you’re asking for trouble. Twenty years ago, Israel didn’t worry about its internal front, now it does.
    Maybe if these overflights become risky to conduct, they stop them or launch another war to change the equation. If that happens, no one can predict the outcome, but I can predict that it will be a destructive war that neither Lebanon nor Israel wants. But the long term consequences will be more devastating to Israel than they will be to Lebanon, only because Lebanon and Lebanese are much more confident then Israelis. Israelis believe so much in their army, and if that belief is shaken then the whole Israeli confidence will be shattered.

    Posted by prophet | August 6, 2010, 4:27 pm
  96. IT WAS AIG NOT LYSANDER THAT I WAS RESPONDING TO, SORRY LYSANDER…

    Posted by prophet | August 6, 2010, 4:39 pm
  97. AIG, if your only criticism of Lebanon’s move was that it was risky, then we have no disagreement. I would argue that the stronger Lebanon becomes the less risky such moves become, and the more risky Israeli overflights and kidnap attempts become. After all, overflights are only ‘without risk’ because, to date, Lebanon has not displayed the means to shoot those planes down. But what if tomorrow an IAF aircraft is shot down during a routine overflight over Beirut? Will Israel escalate to full scale war? Would you consider it justified if it did?

    But was their benefit to the risk? I would argue yes. It shows there are consequences to Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty.

    Now onto HA’s capabilities, as I don’t think you understand my point.

    “What exactly has HA managed to do that Syria and Egypt could not have done years ago? If Syria would have shot their SCUDS at us, they would have done much more damage.”

    What HA can do that neither Egypt, nor really even Syria could EVER have done is defend Lebanon. Even the Lebanese army in the past has made minimal efforts to defend Lebanon.

    HA, OTOH, will respond to an Israeli attack on Lebanon. That is the difference. Now perhaps their response will not be as damaging to Israel as a Syrian response. But it will be much more damaging than anything Lebanon has been able to inflict in the past. Just ask yourself, if HA had been present and in position in southern Lebanon in 1982, how would that war have turned out differently? Would it even have happened?

    And when deciding whether HA is a positive defense asset for Lebanon, that is the question to answer. Not “Is HA as strong as the IDF?” Or even the SDF or EDF. The question is, does HA make Israel more reluctant to invade Lebanon today than during the 1970’s or 80’s? Is your answer to that question “no?”

    Posted by Lysander | August 6, 2010, 8:08 pm
  98. No worries, Prophet. I knew what you meant.

    And a good weekend to you, AIG.

    Posted by Lysander | August 6, 2010, 8:11 pm

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