August 01, 2006
Baalbek (Updated: 2 Aug)
The madness continues.
Sats (Arab and Euro) are reporting Israel is attempting an air-mobile operation in Baalbek (Mid-Lebanon, Beqaa).
The sole value in this entire madness is a near perfect illustration of tactical considerations, poor leadership and domestic politics getting the better of cold-blooded rational calculation of state interest.
[Update: watching Hezbullah spokesman on al Jazeerah, I found it interesting that in ranting on about Arab occupied lands he finessed the issue of Israel - i.e. cited Golan, Chebaa, Gaza, but not Israel qua Israel. Artful that was. Added further, caught on BBC World Service interview w Leb rep, who ostentatiously refused to take a bait to whinge on about Syria but was highly US critical]
I see that the Israeli spin to the American media is reported as fact:
Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz, chief of the Israeli army’s general staff, told reporters this afternoon that the raid targeted a "remote logistics base" near Baalbek, a Hezbollah stronghold 80 miles from the Israeli border, where "some of their leaders" were meeting.
He said the base was in "what Hezbollah called a hospital," which he said was built by Iran and managed by Iranians. “They are using civilian facilities to hide,’’ he said in a briefing at a small army base near the northern Israeli town of Beit Hillel, as outgoing artillery fire banged behind him.
Queer that, others called it a Hospital as well.
Opting for the sceptic's read, it was an airmobile op against what Israel at least thought were Hezbullah cadres in a hospital (which got the fuck banged out of it in the process, thus the spin).
In the end, a smart game given the ultimate audience in the US, rather like the spin on Qana, where (again almost exclusively in the US) the spin re 'human shields' or even Hezbullah blowing up the building to cause civilian casualties deliberately was bought hook-line-and sinker.
One should note that a mirror image exists on the other side of the conflict, so readers should not think I am particularly offended.
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Meanwhile in Washington, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on the PBS "NewsHour" that she saw a cease-fire in Lebanon coming in a matter of "days, not weeks."
Serious divergence when one looks at Israeli troop deployment vs. Rice's statements.
"To bring ground forces into Lebanon is not something easy for our government," said one Israeli government official. "The government had to prepare public opinion in Israel."
What you described as maximalist rhetoric earlier.
Posted by: eerie at August 1, 2006 11:15 PM
The mirror-image counter-spin coming from the other side being that Israel merely captured civilians who had names that happened to be similar to Hezbollah leaders such as "Hassan Dib Nasrallah," a local grocer, and "Bilal Hassan Nasrallah." Haven't seen this story anywhere in the Western media, seems only the Arab sats are willing to bite on it.
Now it would be pretty hard to not recognize the real Hassan Nasrallah given that his picture is everywhere, but for humor's sake I can certainly imagine an over-eager local informant telling Israeli agents that "There are Hassan Nasrallah's in the Baalbek hospital!"
Posted by: Djuha at August 3, 2006 12:54 PM
it is funny, the hassan nasrallah captured by israeli commandos thing was a nice interesting part of his speech, and then talking about him being a hostage as well, but i dont see that in the news... is it because they dont have full translations of his speech, perhaps?
Posted by: lisa at August 4, 2006 02:31 PM