Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Misunderspinning: Post War Hezbollah, Israel and Others

In Iran, Nuclear Centrifuges are Spinning;
In the U.S., All the Talk is Misunderspinning

By John E. Carey
August 16, 2006

We are in a serious situation. We are losing the war against terror. At least we suffered some serious setbacks during the last few weeks.

We'll win. But the immediate problem is: we haven’t yet obviously admitted our recent setbacks and taken corrective action.

Right before our eyes, Hezbollah is already refusing to disarm and move out of southern Lebanon. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the UN is a tool of the US, so we should be happy that the UN is on the way. Kofi Annan and the U.N. are busy with business as usual.

Every Israeli life lost in the recent 34 day war may have been in vain. They faught and died, apparently, to achieve a cease fire and the status quo ante: exactly what US Secretary of State Condi Rice said so eloquently we wouldn't accept.

In Iraq, the war is not going well. The nation is slipping into civil war.

Will our own U.S. lives lost in Iraq and on 9-11 have been in vain?

Iran is on the verge of having a nuclear weapon: and defying the United Nations along the way. There are fifteen days left before the UN deadline to Iran on the nuclear issue.

The nuclear processing centrifuges in Iran are undoubtedly spinning. The clock is ticking.

And President Bush is guilty of some serious misunderspinning.

What is misunderspinning? Misunderspinning is that situation in politics and other dialogues that involve "spin" when one misses and/or underestimates the result or the facts of something. The consequent spin produced is both too little (underspin) and wrong (mis-spin). The resulting spin produced to depict or characterize the situation is almost laughable.

It seems to us that many analysts and pundits missed the meaning of the result of this war in Lebanon.

President Bush said on Monday, August 14, 2006, the first day of the cease fire with Hezbollah, that the "responsibility for this suffering lies with Hezbollah."

"There's going to be a new power in the south of Lebanon," President Bush said.

"Lebanon can't be a strong democracy when there is a state within a state and that's Hezbollah," Bush said.

First: Responsibility. Arabs, and all the Lebanese, are blaming the droppers of the bombs, Israel, and the provider of the bombs, the US.

Second: 'New Power' in south Lebanon. Who?

The men of Hezbollah are the people of southern Lebanon. They collect taxes, provide welfare, run the schools, take out the trash, sit in the congress.

Does anyone think the Lebanese army and the U.N. will be the new power in south Lebanon?

The President talks about Lebanon as a strong democracy. People who are very familiar with Lebanon doubt that it is now as many in the west believe it to be. Or wish it to be.

Lebanon is an Islamic state now (at least in the south), or on the slippery slope toward that end.

The Chrisytaians are leaving in droves. Just read what the Christaian leaders are saying. (See:

In fact, in Lebanan and the greater Arab world, Hezbollah is seen as a state (or nearly so) and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, appeared almost daily during the war on Hezbollah TV (al-Manar "The Beacon"), and al-Jazeera during the conflict saying, "We have not been harmed."

Hezbollah and Hassan Nasrallah are major forces in Lebanon.

Hezbollah has an army, C-802 Chinese made anti-ship cruise missiles, a flag, a TV station and thousands of short range rockets that can hit Israel at a range of 42 miles and more. They don't have a seat at the UN or an Olympic team; but their army beat the Israelis and their Public Relations beat the Israelis and the US.Hebollah has an accomplished leader in the Arab world heading it and it has a following.

And their spokesman, Hassan Nasrallah, beat our spokesman, George Bush, all over the Arab Street.

And who is going to disarm and disband Hezbollah now? The Israeli army couldn’t disarm them. Lebanon says they won't disarm Hezbollah. Ditto the UN.

The Hezbollah fighters are going to melt into the public in southern Lebanon because they are the public. There are Hezbollah rockets still in Lebanon, and if little gremlins move them northward and out of the zone to be monitored by the UN in the next few days would you be surprised?

There was also some severe underwinning here. Hezbollah won this round: not Israel.

Nobody in the Arab world believes Israel’s calm assertions that they are better off. Nobody.

Israel had three major goals in this war: get rid of Hezbollah's rockets; get rid of Hezbollah; achieve the return of Israeli soldiers held hostage. If the war is over, as of today, they achieved none of these objectives.

The final chapter of this round of a protracted conflict now depends upon the UN.

Destiny has been in the hands of the United Nations before.

Americans generally prefer destiny in their own hands.

The U.S. needs to consider a course change. A few helpful ideas include:

--Get serious about airport security. Target the people you really want to search; not my 92 year old grandmother. Don't use racial profiling but get serious about behavior profiling. Use the model of the Israeli airline: El Al.

--Talk bluntly to the American people. Be honest. We can take it. Put November on the back burner.

--Increase troop levels in Iraq. General Casey asked for more troops in Baghdad and that caused a troop tour extension for our guys expecting to go home. We need to send more troops over to Iraq.

--Throw the red flag and force off some yardage with the UN and the world community as soon as possible about Hezbollah.

--Hold Iran accountable on nuclear projects.


Syria: U.S. Mideast Plan an 'Illusion'

By Albert Aji, AP
August 15, 2006

DAMASCUS, Syria - Syrian President Bashar Assad said Tuesday that the U.S. plan for a "new Middle East" has collapsed following Hezbollah's successes in fighting against

Assad, speaking to a journalists' association in Syria, said the region has changed "because of the achievements of the resistance (by Hezbollah)."

"The Middle East they (the Americans) aspire to ... has become an illusion," he said.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said early in the war between Hezbollah and Israel that any settlement should be durable and lead to a "new Middle East" where extremists have no influence.

Assad said the fighting in Lebanon had been planned by Israel for some time, but the endeavor had failed. "The result was more failure for Israel, its allies and masters," Assad said.

The Syrian leader said U.S. participation was needed for a peace settlement in the Middle East, but added that peace cannot be achieved under the administration of President Bush.

"This is an administration that adopts the principle of pre-emptive war that is absolutely contradictory to the principle of peace," he said. "Consequently, we don't expect peace soon or in the foreseeable future."

Midway through Assad's speech, members of the audience who said they were Lebanese stood up loudly thanked Assad.

"Without the support of our sister country Syria, we would not be able to achieve what we have achieved," one woman screamed. The audience then broke into applause and shouts of "With our blood, with our soul, we redeem you, Oh Bashar!"

The U.S. has said that Hezbollah is sponsored by Iran and Syria.

A Return With no Fanfare for Israeli Army
August 14, 2006

AVIVIM, Israel (AFP) - Fatigue etched on their faces, the Israeli reservists resting after a foray into Lebanon make no secret of their joy to be back, but also their frustration at the outcome of the war.

"We have all had enough of the war but we know we have to do it," said 27-year-old Reserve Lieutenant Becky Malakov, who has just returned from a week in combat with a motorised infantry division in southern Lebanon.

"When we were on the front we didn't realise how mixed Israeli opinion was on the handling of the war, and that was better for us," he added, as a fragile UN-brokered ceasefire aimed at silencing the guns held Monday.

Malakov had already served before in Lebanon eight years ago as a regular soldier during the Israeli occupation of the southern border area, and has no good memories of that experience.

"I hoped to never go back. But today it's different. We are fighting to defend our homeland and the soldiers are very motivated," he said.

The problem, he added, was that the enemy was "no less motivated and has prepared for a long time for a conflict on a terrain which is familiar to them."

Another soldier is even more direct. "Hezbollah taught us a harsh lesson: 20,000 of our men failed in one month to overcome their 2,000," he said.

"All that we have done during a week is to hold a building in a sector of southern Lebanon and even that cost us four dead in the battalion."

Like other reservists this soldier, who declines to be named, is not opposed to the war but would prefer to leave it to active personnel.

Many seem to have a feeling of unfinished business after the Israeli offensive failed to silence the Hezbollah rockets.

"It's a shame that it ended like that, with a half victory," said reservist Dror Bar Levav, who would have liked the army to have "finished once and for all with Hezbollah".

The hardest thing of all, confide the soldiers -- many of them fathers -- is the uncertainty.

The rumour is that their unit will be demobilised but for now they are camped at the border, on alert to return to Lebanon at any moment if needed to join Israeli troops still deployed there despite the ceasefire.

The troops, who camp in a fairly relaxed yet serious atmosphere typical of reserve units, are recovering their strength, their assault rifles and a Russian rocket launcher lying on the ground, a reminder of the war.

A similar mood prevails among a tank crew recuperating by their Merkava tank at border in western Israel after a mission into Lebanon.

"It was tough because Hezbollah fights well," admitted one reservist, who believes that the massive use of tanks in a mountainous region was a mistake given the deadly efficacy of Russian anti-tank missiles.