Saturday, August 05, 2006

Obrador tries to steal what he can’t earn

And the loons at DU are wetting themselves.

Not only will they back any leftist who wants to steal an election, but some of them can’t stop blaming the Diebold voting machines in Mexico – where they use paper ballots. Somehow it’s also George Bush’s fault, and that he controls the MSM. Their constant attacks must be a dagger of the mind tactic, even when they wet their pants at the prospect of successfully engineering what ACORN couldn’t do in the US on 2000 and 2004.

Even better – and ad on the same page advertised 2 (count ‘em) 2 “documentaries” about George Bush Sr. having been behind the assassination of JFK, and George Bush Jr. being behind the left’s beloved John John Jr.’s plane crash by effecting the nighttime environment somehow 18 months before he was elected president. I’m sure the ground of reality has never been so shaky. Of course if you don’t agree, you delusional

I’m going to guess that they don’t call the Kennedys a “dynasty” or anything.

The fuse is lit!

The Euro option: believe in nothing

Signs at left point to Christian, Jewish, and Muslim schools in different directions.
« ...Hey, over there we a blend together!... »
No. Over there you aren’t likely to develop the moral fiber to tolerate anyone else, much less the religious.

The fuse is lit!

Masterminding yet another tragedy

Qana – it’s almost too convenient, too melodramatic. Nearly too perfect not to have been rigged up. Even HRW which has a solid reputation to support Hizballah (Human Rights Watch having pursued SLA officers who were trying to protect their own villages from the Hizballah) studied the attack and revised the death toll down to 28. The press took the local militia at their word, and threw around numbers as high as 80.

Even HRW knows how that kind of exaggeration can spoil a ‘cause’. How can anyone believe that Hizballah loses no guerillas, that the civilian dead can only be women and children. How stupid does Hizballah think that “world” behind the undefined “world opinion” really is?

Now the Libanoscopie website (associated with Revue du Liban, a magazine known for following European public opinion like zombies) even reports the case from another angle, and a patently obvious one. The popularization, near celebration of the deaths of those people in Qana is attributable to the endless duplicitousness of Lebanese politics, and Hizballah in particular.

Our translation:

Lebanon awoke on a new massacre of innocent, the victims are handicapped children who took refuge in a building which was attacked by Israel.

Qana is still a strong symbol of “the Grapes of Wrath” campaign in 1996 bore the brunt of this again.
40 or 50 killed today in Qana in the South Lebanon. Horror.

But why a similar horror, was it an error? A premeditated massacre? A source generally quite well informed tells us:
“Hezbollah was wedged in by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s plan to deploy the Lebanese Army throughout Lebanon and primarily in the south. Thus the Hizballah militia would ber disarmed. They wanted to ruin these negotiations. It put in pace a Machiavellian plan to create an event which would enable him to cancel this project. Knowing very well that Israel doesn’t have the heart to target civilians, militants of Hezbollah installed a base of launching of rockets on the roof of a building in Qana, and ended up crippling children with the firm intention to draw in an Israeli air attack to create a new situation. Using the massacre of these innocents to end the negotiations.”
“they used Qana which was already a symbol of a massacre of innocents to foment a Cana 2”.

Presiding over the room, Nabih Berri announced that the negotiations with American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were suspended until there was an unconditional cease fire. This was first demanded by Hezbollah, so it’s necessary to start again from the very beginning.
It puts into context how facile the affairs of the near east can be. Just as Syria was in all likelihood behind Rafic Hariri’s assassination, they used the oldest trick in the middle eastern book – they used terror, assassination, and the anguished emotions of a population as blackmail.
Even the loony western left get in on the act. They buy whatever it is that those they designate as a victim will tell them. They don’t seem to realize that they aren’t speaking for the victim, they’re providing free propaganda to the real criminals.

It’s the same old game. Israel’s 1982 invasion of southern Lebanon removed the considerable Palestinian influence on Lebanese life. Syria promptly re-armed then to maintain the status quo: chaos, duplicity, fear, terror. Over the decades there has been enough of this world view from the corners of the near east unable to deal with basic morality, modernity, and coexistence to spill out into Asia Minor, Europe, and America.

Hizballah needs to be defanged. If the Israelis don’t do it, the Lebanese will be faced with a horrible choice again when it comes to its’ own countrymen: to disarm Hizballah by force themselves, by some magic of political pressure, or to simply hand the conduct on Lebanese life over to them out of fear of another civil war. No-one seems to have had the power or the stomach to challenge this problem to date, so it fell on the Israelis.

Ultimately the existence of Hizballah’s militia is the cause of this war’s civilian deaths. Deaths that could have only been averted if Arab culture would permit itself to grow.

The fuse is lit!

Friday, August 04, 2006

And now for something completely predictable

Normally, satire has a point. Sometimes it fails. Other times the premise and the execution is so poor, you hope that something that isn’t satire is.

Play your cards right, and you’ll never find yourself in a really tough room. Being a lefty means your adoring fans will forgive your humourlessness if, say, you throw them some red meat, or pander to them in some way. It’s much like those people who still call Michael Moore a Documentary Film-maker instead of an economy grade (and size) Leni Riefenstahl - pedantry is common and desperation is king on the protest circuit.

Apparently all those ragheads are the same to Terry.

The fuse is lit!

If you were El Jefe, would you wear a trucker hat?

Too bad no-one can find Waldo Raul. Since everyone knows Castro will live to be 140, maybe some eager beaver though he was having a putsch, and snuffed him in the interest of “the Revolution” (which one, quite curiously, cannot rebel against.)

On the rez they call that some big medicine.

The fuse is lit!

Terror cult clue time

14:50, Walid Shobat on America:
This is the only hope that I have. Where am I going to live? Am I going to live in London? Am I going to live in France?
the fuse is lit!

Alert the gerbils' rights collective!

And those Brits who are permanently worked up about vivisection too, their Snidely Whiplash can be the lovable Steve Bell.

It appeared on the Grauniads Puffington Host knockoff site today. Will we be hearing crickets while waiting for the criticism?

The fuse is lit!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Dey don’t believe da hype!

Not the way the chumps in the yippy-dippy west do. Of that solemn “stabilizing forceTime reports:

It's not only ordinary Iranians who are worried about what the Middle East explosion means for Iran. Even as state infomercials order Iranians to boycott soft drinks, officials in Tehran--pragmatists and conservatives alike--concur that the conflict is bad news for the Iranian regime because it exacerbates the West's image of Tehran as a regional troublemaker.

Mohammad Reza Afshari, 23, a mechanic who works two jobs yet still cannot afford to move out or attend college. The shop where he works abuts a vast mural depicting a female suicide bomber with a baby in her arms, accompanied by the words I LOVE MOTHERHOOD, BUT I LOVE MARTYRDOM MORE. Frustration with such propaganda underpins young people's reactions to the conflict. "Where are the Arabs?" asks Afshari angrily. "They're sitting around, while we're risking our position in the world."

The fuse is lit!

An army of one

One wonders what would drive the mayor of a small town ten klicks north of St. Cyr to start editorializing about international affairs, get worked up about nukes, and wangle a way to be called a “city of peace”.

Why not just do the “aging hippy” thing and pass a bunch of laws?

- Merci à Michel

Feeling disconnected?

Need more proof that the press is drowning in its own crocodile tears? Just pick up an overpriced copy of the Guardian if you cant dial-a-mob in Karachi.

Compare the small demonstrations against the Israel/Hizballah war in Beirut, Cairo, and Tel Aviv with the large ones in Paris and London where the ideology isnt matched by experience and context. Even if they are yelling death to Jews, its still a smaller mob, and frankly you can find people in Beirut who would shout out without a war at a Hizballah family gathering.

(I want you to meet my wife and sister)the fuse is lit!

It's a jungle out there

With thanks to our many fabulous readers out there for their contributions.
the fuse is lit!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Évidemment, ils ne sont pas dignes d'être Qanaisé

One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, so ordain the flippant and Reuters. To the Mainstream Media driving the false creation of “world opinion”, factions killing Iraqis are simply fighting for some kind of freedom – at least from universal concepts of morality from what I can detect.

Several mortars landed in the district, some destroying a bank and an apartment building that later collapsed in flames, said Interior Ministry secretary Saadoun Abu al-Ula. The others exploded in the middle of busy streets crowded with traffic.

[ ... ]

The attack was the largest on Karradah, a mixed neighborhood but mostly Shiite, in about a year. The area includes the home of President Jalal Talabani and the head of SCIRI, Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim.

Police Col. Abbas Mohammed Salman put the casualty toll as 31 dead and 153 wounded but said the deaths could rise because many of the injuries were severe.
No kicking and screaming or emoting in the press about who’s to blame because finding America at fault may have even grown stale to CBS, and following the trail back to Iran would be, well, it would be harram in the “world opinion” passion play, and their “stance” on “factual events”.

"Peace" movements are among those who take advantage of this widespread inability to see beyond rhetoric to realities. Few people even seem interested in the actual track record of so-called "peace" movements -- that is, whether such movements actually produce peace or war.

Take the Middle East. People are calling for a cease-fire in the interests of peace. But there have been more cease-fires in the Middle East than anywhere else. If cease-fires actually promoted peace, the Middle East would be the most peaceful region on the face of the earth instead of the most violent.

The fuse is lit!

Stick with me kid, I’ll make you a star

Ultraviolence and molokoko while the press is doing Hizballah’s bidding on the cheap.

The “death trophy” photo from the town of Qana in the south of Lebanon showing the civil defense worker holding an infant’s body by the legs was taken about 7 hours the Israeli aerial attack. Full rigor mortis of the sort that would lend itself it a body being that rigid takes 12 hours. Note the differences in the bodies carried out of the structure.

So too for Kevin Sites’ report of an attack on an ambulance in Lebanon. We are told that it was attacked from the air. Video from the scene shows a 4 storey construction site nearby and a relatively small penetration through the roof of the van and a small explosive force consistent with a RFP designed for concussion. A rocket launched from an aircraft would have penetrated through the vehicle to the floor, detonated on impact with the roadway leaving a crater throwing the vehicle with signs of it on the frame, and charring enough of it to not spare the driver and medical technician in the front seats who escaped with scratches even though the windows were blown out.

Notice anything else from the opening shot? This vehicle was not attacked at the location where the report was taken. It was moved for the convenience of the press. It was loaded onto a truck and transported to Beirut while fuel is becoming scarcer by the day.

We’ll leave it to Uruknet, Indymedia, and Kevin Sites to not notice or mention what’s obvious to anyone looking plainly at it on a television screen.

The fuse is lit!

It’s all about working the war-porn circuit

Which is why a press more interested in making a difference’ than reporting the news would ‘completely ignore the diversity of opinion and the voices of reason, even from Lebanon.
Mr. Nasralla, we understand the necessities of a guerilla war…we understand that you are fighting what you and your people consider a battle of existence…but we are not in the Mekong delta or the jungles of Vietnam…this is Lebanon Mr. Nasralla…the 10452Km2 are totally inhabited…so wherever your people hide, they are endangering HUMANS…
You vowed Jihad on the Israelis…but the whole country has not…you vowed their destruction and care less if in the process you loose your life…but the whole country has not…
When those people stayed in Qana despite the warnings issued by the Israelis to evacuate, they did so because they had put their faith in the men of the resistance…they believed that those men would protect them, would keep them safe from the Israeli enemy…

Alas…they discovered, and it was too late when they did, they discovered that those men who were supposed to protect them, were in fact hiding behind them.
Which takes us back to the BBC’s Fergal Keane.
t's not Keane's fault, in a sense, that modern war, as framed by the television lens, has become first and foremost a human drama, and he a celebrity member of the cast. Of course war is always a human drama as well as a political one, but more than ever the issue is one of coolness and objectivity in the reporting of it. Get the emphasis wrong, and one either sanitises war or one tips over into a simplistic – and exploitative – form of victim journalism.

Sadly, the latter is happening to the BBC. Without doubt it has succumbed to the pressures to emotionalise events in Lebanon: dumbing down almost, it seems to me, to the level of EastEnders.
He was so busy emoting in his first report from Qana, that as he mentioned that the residents had neither the cars of the busses to get away, the image panned across a car and a bus (!) next to the collapsed structure that became the new vessel of hope for those ‘trying to make a difference’. the fuse is lit!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Visit to Saint Denis's Mumia Abu-Jamal Street

Paying a visit to Saint Denis, la Baf members stroll down Rue Mumia Abu-Jamal

Euro-thought: since they won’t hit back, we’ll make it the victim’s fault

Pancho falls for fake ‘resistance’.

The fuse is lit!

The Banality of Bureaucracy: Organizational Failure in Iraq

The following was one of Christian Isely's last dispatches from Baghdad. (Note that it is neither against America nor against her leaders or their strategy, and certainly not against her soldiers, and not even against the politicians, but — as its title says explicitly — against the mindset of the bureaucrats.)

Baghdad — June 18, 2006

There are many reasons for the continued violence and tragedy in Iraq, some of which falls on Iraqi and foreign shoulders but much of which lies on our own. There has been a great deal written already about policy errors (too few troops, disbanding of the Iraqi army, etc) to failings in the reconstruction effort (lack of financial controls, poorly written contracts, etc). However, there has also been another significant factor detrimental to success in Iraq, organizational failure on the part of the US government. It is certainly a less simple or sexy explanation for the ongoing tribulations we are putting ourselves through in Iraq but this does not make it any less valid or tragic.

Organizational Confusion and Inter-Agency Rivalry

From the beginning, organizational chaos seemed to plague the mission. Witness the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) set up in early 2003 headed by retired General Jay Garner to manage the affairs of a liberated Iraq. It was subsequently transformed into the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), headed by L. Paul Bremer III. Debate still rages today about the perceived failings of ORHA and its transformation into the CPA and the reasons for the change. However, both of these organizations answered to the DOD so this represented largely an in-house rearranging of affairs.

The real organizational test came later when the CPA turned into the US Embassy and the DOD relinquished a great deal of control to the DOS during the granting of sovereignty to Iraq on June 28, 2004. This turnover in organizations required a great deal of transitioning. CPA staff went from being DOD employees to DOS employees overnight. The Project and Contracting Office (PCO), the temporary DOD organization set up to award and supervise infrastructure reconstruction projects then became the Program Management Office (PMO) and answered to the newly created Iraq Reconstruction Management Office (IRMO), a temporary organization set up by DOS, which was set up to manage all of the supplemental funding (about $18.5 billion) allocated by congress for the rebuilding of Iraq.

After sovereignty, the Coalition’s Senior Advisors to the Iraqi Ministers under Bremer now became Senior Consultants under IRMO. In theory, each Senior Consultant was to be responsible for overseeing the reconstruction of their designated purview. For instance, the Senior Consultant for Electricity would oversee all projects concerning the generation, transmission, and distribution of electrical power. In practice, there was more confusion for there was another large government agency also involved in reconstruction, the long standing US Agency for International Development (USAID). USAID also had their share of the supplemental budget and their own slate of projects and programs throughout Iraq ranging from work on power generation to water sanitation. In theory, USAID was supposed to answer to IRMO Senior Consultants but in practice they answered to no one despite the fact that they seemed to be working on many of the same types of projects. This kind of organizational rivalry is simple to understand. IRMO, as a temporary creation, was performing a role normally allocated to USAID. The unfortunate result of this rivalry has been a lack of coordination on both a macro and micro scale. For instance, NGOs with contracts under IRMO have received training assistance from USAID but this IRMO only found out via the NGOs themselves. Such work would have been far more effective had both organizations simply communicated.

Other instances involve conflicting messages from different US government representatives. USAID tells the Iraqi government or Iraqi institutions to do one thing when IRMO or DOS tells them to do something else. Naturally, the Iraqis themselves are a bitconfused when different representatives of the US government turn up demanding that they perform conflicting actions. Naturally, the inability of the US government to coordinate its own agencies and organizations has allowed the Iraqi clients to play off US government actors against each other.

Mission Confusion

However, the mistakes made from the lack of coordination between IRMO and USAID pale in comparison to other problems. That rivalry is between two organizations charged with the task of reconstruction so it is at least a road to hell paved with good intentions. Although the US mission in Iraq is currently perceived to have as its mission the reconstruction, stabilization, and establishment of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law in Iraq, in actuality the mission has become less focused. DOD, DOS, and USAID are not the only US government agencies represented in Iraq. The Departments of Justice, Commerce, and Homeland Security also have staff in Baghdad nominally serving the overall mission but also serving the goals and objectives of their home departments. One of the more glaring examples of agencies serving at cross purpose is the presence of the USDA. Quite simply, their primary job is to promote American agriculture exports to Iraq. While DOS and DOD are trying to promote the development of the agriculture sector in Iraq, one of Iraq’s most promising avenues for job creation and economic growth, USDA is seeking to promote the sale of American fertilizers, chicken feed, and other products which if successful would hinder the their domestic development and the associated jobs that would be created. Our brave soldiers are not sacrificing their lives so corporate American agro-business can earn higher profits by supplanting local Iraqi producers.

Quality of Personnel

The US Mission faces a devastating lack of talented man power. Since the invasion, it has always been difficult to recruit enough talented people to carry out this massive undertaking. Despite this problem, many talented and driven individuals participated in the US Mission and there are still some outstanding individuals who have continued to serve over here, even a few left over from CPA days. However, for the most part, the quality of personnel has declined significantly since DOS took charge. Under DOD many functions of the CPA were carried out by the military, DOD civilians, and detailees from other agencies including DOS. These civilians were individuals that originally expressed a great interest in coming to Baghdad. However, after DOS took command, many Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) were needed to staff what was now the largest embassy in the world. Sadly, few hastened to come. Most of those who did come came only so that they could hasten on to the next posting of their choosing whether it be Rome, London, or some other nice location. Very few have experience in the Arab world or know even the slightest Arabic. In recognition that not enough FSOs and other government employees were signing up for positions in Iraq, the government recently raised hazard and post differential rates for all government employees in theater essentially giving everyone a 20% raise.

Perhaps one reason for the lack of interest on the part of FSOs is the desire to avoid any sense of failure. The invasion was a DOD affair and DOS inherited many of the problems it created. The future of the US Mission in Iraq is certainly up in the air. Success is not a given. Failure is a strong possibility. Many FSOs have likely stayed away after judging that participation in this endeavor to be a risk to their careers.

In IRMO, most of the staff is made up of temporary contractors to DOS otherwise known as 3161s, a special category of personnel created after the launching of the War on Terror when it was realized that DOS did not have the means of fully staffing the reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. 3161s get many of the typical government benefits afforded to government employees but not all. They are not eligible for employment with the DOS beyond theater and they cannot attain tenure unlike the FSOs. In theory, they are supposed to be the best and brightest experts in their field, brought to Iraq to provide specific advice related to their previous professional experience. Almost all of the Senior Consultants with IRMO are 3161s. Unfortunately, all 3161s are subject to pay-caps like other government workers. This effectively hinders the recruitment of private sector experts. However, in some circumstances 3161s have come aboard that have actually sacrificed higher incomes elsewhere in order to serve the cause and their country.

Recruitment is a major problem for IRMO. In most cases, it takes DOS at least 3 months to send out offer letters. This does not include any time for the necessary security clearance. This length of time is not surprising to those who work for the government. It is a shame that the hiring process for Iraq has not been prioritized and streamlined.

DOS has also proved ineffective with regard to staffing decisions. IRMO Ministry of Interior has been a particular failure. In 2005, it was determined that the functions of IRMO Ministry of Interior would be handed over largely for the US military to handle. Were these staff members relieved of their largely redundant positions? In fact, they were simply moved over to newly invented positions within the growing IRMO bureaucracy. New deputy positions were created as was the Office of Strategic Planning. IRMO has grown top heavy and layers of bureaucracy have only been added, never taken away. Additionally, these layers are made up largely of dead wood cleared from somewhere else, people who perhaps have no prospects outside of Iraq, people who receive reasonably sized paychecks for sitting at a desk in Baghdad. Worse than simply take up space, they actually provide negative value. A person’s job may be justified by having them “collect and process information” or by “clearing official memos and requests”. The heads of the organization are further removed from the experts advising the Iraqi government.

In short, as the premium talent with the greatest institutional knowledge and Iraq experience has left and have not been replaced, the dead wood and rent seekers have either stayed in place or taken up new levels in the growing administrative bureaucracy.

The Big Picture

Taken individually, organizational confusion, inter-agency rivalry, mission confusion, recruitment problems, and suffocating bureaucracy are obstacles to be overcome. Taken together, they can prove deadly to success. Maybe on the face of it, none of this seems so terrible. After all, most of the evidence provided comes largely from a few organizations within the US Mission. However, the organizations covered herein are responsible for a great deal of the US Mission in Iraq. The amount of projects and the allocated funding that falls under IRMO and USAID is truly immense. Their inability to effectively carry out the reconstruction effort is a major threat to the overall mission. Additionally, that these problems are allowed to fester and grow reflects upon the entire Embassy, especially the leadership. If mission leadership cannot bring IRMO, USAID, or DOS to task, what does that say about its ability to do so elsewhere with regard to all the other components of the US Mission?

Fortunately, the Administration has already begun to fix some of the problem by bringing USAID under closer control by DOS. However, this in itself will not be sufficient. Organizational chaos is not the only cause of our problems in Iraq but it is probably the most pervasive. Policy decisions that are deemed to be mistakes can be corrected or their negative effects can at least be partly mitigated later.

Organizational reform, on the other hand, is perhaps more difficult. We can start by remembering what we are really supposed to be accomplishing in Iraq. When the mission is clear, we can begin to address the other problems so commonplace to government organizations elsewhere. Perhaps only then will our brave soldiers and volunteers have not sacrificed in vain.

Separated at birth?

"It was clear that we could never accept a destabilisation of Lebanon, which could lead to a destabilisation of the region," Douste-Blazy told a news conference in Beirut.
"In the region there is of course a country such as Iran -- a great country, a great people and a great civilization which is respected and which plays a stabilizing role in the region," he told a news conference.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Brussels sprouts a crop of mainly faux Lebanese

Since when do Lebanese people wear Palestinian Kaffiyas and wave Palestinian and green slaughterhouse sword flags? They weren’t even seen in the lame and thinly attended Hizballah organized pro-Syrian Cedar Revolution counter-demonstrations in 2005. They’re clearly taking their cues from the “peace” movement of the natives.

Alva has photos from Brussels on the Názory-Opinion blog and posted here Note the Iranian and Communist Party flags as well.

The fuse is lit!

“It is the Syrians, however, who feed Mr. Jumblatt's anxieties.”

"At first they said they wanted to create a buffer zone of 20 kilometers to put in an international force. But what does that mean when Hezbollah can fire rockets over your back? Now there is a new formula: the demilitarization of the South."
The Beirut Daily Star’s opinion editor and Reason Magazine contributing editor Michael Young writes of his recent interview with Lebanese Druze leader and Progressive Socialist Parliamentarian Walid Jumblatt.
There is a strong desire for retribution in the Shiite community. Quite a few politicians, including Mr. Jumblatt, have implied that Hezbollah's abduction of two Israelis soldiers was irresponsible, which many of the group's faithful deem to be a stab in the back. This prompted Mr. Nasrallah to declare, ominously, in an Al Jazeera interview last week: "If we succeed in achieving the victory . . . we will never forget all those who supported us. . . . As for those who sinned against us . . . those who let us down, and those who conspired against us . . . this will be left for a day to settle accounts. We might be tolerant with them and we might not."

What does Mr. Jumblatt think of that threat, obviously directed against him and his political comrades? "Nasrallah was talking in the name of the Syrian regime. He thinks he's a demigod. Like [Iran's President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad he's waiting for the 12th Imam, the Mehdi. This aspect of Shiite religious mobilization can be frightening."
Hizballah, he says, must be disarmed. These are hard words to say right now. No Arab leader, let alone the Lebanese government held hostage in the grips of Hizballah can openly criticize them in this “resistance” that they’ve initiated at the expense of the population.
Mr. Jumblatt is dubious. "Rice didn't clarify how the international force would deploy. As I've told the Americans: As long as Syria can send weapons to Hezbollah, there will be no change in the situation. Not with this regime in Damascus. We need a force that can cover all of Lebanon, like in Kosovo. Monitor the Syrian border, then talk."

If Hezbollah refuses to disarm (and it does), "then we enter a phase of all-out war, endless war, with the possibility that this will weaken the Lebanese state. Let us also remember that the Syrians a few days ago promised the Americans they would help them fight al Qaeda. This was, in fact, a backhanded warning that Syria could use al Qaeda to kill innocents in Lebanon."
In it he stands steadfast in the longstanding Druze tradition of finding a way to coexist in a cold peace at the very least, and protecting itself as a minority surrounded by otherwise hostile factions. The first leader of Lebanon prior to the post-Ottoman age, as well as a passionate guarantor of the protection of the Christians was a Druze Emir without who there may not be a notion of a Lebanon that lives to this day.

Having recently both called the men of the south “our brothers” and as we see in an interview with Al-Arabiya Television (20 July) [video courtesy of MEMRI] he walks a tenuous and complicated line in the duplicitous world of Lebanese politics. In it he criticizes Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah of the obvious: he committed a nation to war. Jumblatt states clearly that he finds their handler and go-between Syria complicit. It needs to be understood that his relationship with Syria is a bitter and detailed as any in the region. His leadership of the Druze community began with the murder of his own father which was directed by Hafez Assad in 1977.

Unlike virtually every faction in the Lebanese zeitgeist, Jumblatt is certainly no-body’s fool. As for why Hizballah would do this now, one doesn’t need to be a cynic to see that they have to lose when people are free to function without having the rug pulled out from under them.the fuse is lit!

How you get to Qana: Cowards operating among civilians.

Mr Egeland blasted Hezbollah as "cowards" for operating among civilians.

"When I was in Lebanon, in the Hezbollah heartland, I said Hezbollah must stop this cowardly blending in among women and children," he said.

The fuse is lit!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

How you get to Qana: Hezbollah waging war in suburbia

The Melbourne man who smuggled the shots out of Beirut and did not wish to be named said he was less than 400m from the block when it was obliterated.

"Hezbollah came in to launch their rockets, then within minutes the area was blasted by Israeli jets," he said.

"Until the Hezbollah fighters arrived, it had not been touched by the Israelis. Then it was totally devastated.

The fuse is lit!

Death to Israel, Viva Mexico, etc., etc.

The sanity of mobs is unquestionable.

"L'islam n'est pas votre ennemie" and other things no same person could believe were on the banners in a rally in Paris which had all the signs of being organized by Hizballah politicos. A few “I know I haven’t lived there but I swear I’m still really American” types showed up as well.

Carine has the scoop. Images are from yesterday. Another one took place at Trocadero today. I’m sure it was illuminating and thickly populated by ‘aboriginal’ crazies too this time.

The fuse is lit!

How you get to Qana: Why did this image need to be smuggled out?

Dressed in civilian clothing so they can quickly disappear, the militants carrying automatic assault rifles and ride in on trucks mounted with cannon.

The photographs, from the Christian area of Wadi Chahrour in the east of Beirut, were taken by a visiting journalist and smuggled out by a friend.

The fuse is lit!

Europa Europa

Olmert depicted as a prison guard.

Note that this was published on 10 July – before the cross-border kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hizballah, but after Hizballah started its’ artillery campaign.

Forget the ideology for a second and think about how this reflects on the critic.

The fuse is lit!