Monday, July 31, 2006

So what's next?

More than two weeks passed, Israel's air strike is still engaged harshly in destroying Hezbollah's posts and headquarters, de facto Lebanon's Infrastructure. North of Israel is still facing hundred's of rockets every day. The number of missiles lunched daily didn't decrease over time; it just went further, deeper and increased its range inside the Israel's territories. (July 28, five rockets struck Afula in northern Israel which has been the farthest point Hezbollah rockets has reached since the beginning of July 2006 war). The present situation is just the same as the first day when this war started as long as we don't have a winner either by knock out or by points. Backwards, specifically 17 days ago, to the 12th of July when Hezbollah's guerillas succeeded to capture two Israeli soldiers (Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev) after a remarkable brilliant raid in a cross borders attack, which left the battleground with eight dead soldiers and another twenty-two wounded.
In a trustful and confidential appearance of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah a 46 years old, the chief of Hezbollah resistance group, on television the same night addressed the nation, the western countries, and the government of Israel with one clear
message: "What we did today ... is the only feasible path to free detainees from Israeli jails.", Called the operation the "Loyal Promise" and proposed an "indirect negotiations and an exchange of prisoners" and end this crisis without confrontation. It was obvious that Hezbollah's chief predicted or at least hoped the Israelis' response will be miniature and limited to a few incursions.
On the other side of the chessboard Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert accepted the challenge and was thinking of more than one move ahead in a game Israel did not choose its timing but definitely was enthusiastic and longing for sometime to play it. Sometime that goes back to May 2000 when the Israeli troops unilaterally withdrew from self-proclaimed 'security zone' in south of Lebanon, leaving behind Hezbollah as a strong and yet growing key player in the politics of Lebanon especially in its defense strategy and war declaration solely decision maker. At his press conference early that day Olmert
vowed that "Israel will respond and that it will respond in an unequivocal fashion that will cause those who started this act of war to bear a very painful and far-reaching responsibility for their actions". Later answering a reporter he supplemented: "I want to make it clear: This morning's events were not a terrorist attack but the action of a sovereign state that attacked Israel for no reason and without provocation. The Lebanese government, of which Hezbollah is a member, is trying to undermine regional stability. Lebanon is responsible and Lebanon will bear the consequences of its actions."
The reply of the Lebanese government, which is the third participant in this conflict is in no doubt a "Silent Partner", didn't take much time to be revealed, Prime Minister Fouad Seniora after an emergency cabinet meeting
said: "The government was not aware of and does not take responsibility for, nor endorses what happened on the international borders."
Later on Nasrallah in a taped message broadcasted 14th of July, shortly after his Beirut offices were bombed pledged an
open war with Israel, "You wanted an open war and we are ready for an open war.", and vowed to strike even deeper into Israel with rockets. In another statement dated few years ago, On April 24, 2003, he cited that: "Since May 2000, the resistance has been preparing for war, because Israel wants to avenge its defeat in Lebanon".
So both disputed parties have been preparing for this since May 2000, now they are vis-à-vis, what's next? But before any attempts to predict or figure out, the initial question should be, what were the strategic objectives and aims of those preparations for both sides?
From Israel point of view, the most instantaneous goal is to stop the current rocket attacks, and to do it with the least number of casualties. In addition to some other multiple targets ranging from: "The need to put Hezbollah out of business", as Brigadier-General Ido Nehushtan
told the Associated Press, to Disarming Hezbollah and implementing in a way or another the UN's 1559 act, with the help of major world key players starting with UN itself, the United States, the Arab world leaders (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan..), the European Union and the Russian federation, and teaching the Lebanese government a painful lesson never to be forgotten, and finally to creating a buffer zone in the south of Lebanon; not to forget also the return of its two captives.
As for Hezbollah, the main purpose is to resist and survive and mostly maintain the shelling routine of the missiles on the north of Israel. Also in addition of other secondary objectives, as to pull Israel into a ground confrontation and face counterinsurgency operations in which Hezbollah showed itself to be an innovative and determined ferocious enemy, Overcome in a defensive battle the performance of all Arab armies that fought against Israel and break the quote about its "Invincibility".
If there will be a cease-fire in the present conditions, Hezbollah in no doubt the winner by points, politically and military wise, In Lebanon and the outer world. Israel hasn't completed any of its tasks, it is the LOSER.
But this is not the final result; neither Israel will accept the score, nor the United States. For the first time since 1948 Israel will lose a war, not versus Arab countries united and not against "nuclear" Iran, it will lose against a "Terrorism militant group" (as the American dictionary defines it) which resides in the weakest country in the Arab world, Lebanon, the country on its borders.
Again, the question: "What’s next?" pops up again, so either the IAF (Israeli Air Force) has failed in its mission because it has been misled by the military intelligence about Hezbollah's infrastructure, or the objectives of the air-strikes are something that is not expected anymore. Israel has lost its tactical surprise when it deployed its troops on the borders. And lately most of the Israeli statements and analysis spread in the Media were convinced a mobile ground operation is just a distant option not to be chosen.
Will Israel play its last card and go for an offensive urban operation inside Lebanon, probably approaching to the Litani River? Will it be able to generate a new situation that shifts the balance of powers, thus gives it a comfortable seat on the negotiation table?
The upcoming days might be the most ruthless and brutal nightmare since the beginning of this war. The new question will be: the nightmare of which opponent?

Pascal Assaf
29 July 2006


  1. it is undoubtedly a new game in the south where the israelis got only few cards left to use at the time hezbollah still has the upper hand in the ground operations and hitting deeper israel anytime soon. As for israeli tactics, i truly believe they r running on empty since only the ground operation is left; any incursion deep inside the lebanese territory proves to be fruitless in reaching their targets or even imposing a new formula in the conflict. By that, i fear a demolition of many southern villages and towns as a revenge for theur humiliating defeat as well as a last resort to snatch up a "winning" card in the negotiations after the cease-fire. a big question lies behind the 2km dimilitarized zone proposed by israel.

  2. I agree with what you said, at this point Hezbollah has more advantage than Israel, especially now with the Qana Massacre and the Human rights claiming that it "was" an act of crime, even if Israel had warned the civilians, it doesnt mean it is an excuse for what their done. Right now the ball is in the Israeli court, they should choose what to do next carefully.
    After doing something like this, I assume no reason will prevent them from continuing the nightmare, I think they're lost once in 2000, and they're not ready to lose again...

    Alla yestour

  3. Wake up people. Dont you live in this world?

    Before the 1990s the west (U.S) was fighting 2 wars: The war on Communism and the Arab israeli war.
    In both wars, they were killing civilians and imposing their hatred on weak nations while nobody cared as the U.S was the super power.
    From 1990-2001 after the Soviet Union collapsed, they had only one front. Their major focus was to depress the arab world to control oil and keep israel safe. They did not work on peace in the region. All the actions taken by the west were self interested and selfish to guarantee a constant supply of oil at moderate prices.

    After September 11th tragic terrorist attacks, they found another reason to impose their power over the east. They used a variable definition of "Terrorim" and started killing people in that name.
    As usual, Israel took advantage of that and started killing us with a green light from the west.
    When the west open one front and find that they did not succeed in reducing the so called terrorim, they open another one to try to claim some victory to convice the "general public" that they are doing something.
    It was our turn this time. My theory is as follows.
    Although i hate the serian regime and what they did to lebanon but the truth must be said.

    1- Israel killed Rafik Hariri to kick syria out of lebanon.
    2- By doing that, it partially isolated Hizbullah.
    3- They waited for the right moment (the kidnapping of the 2 soldiers) to strike against lebanon. As it was stated in the Israely media, this attack was planned a long time ago.
    4- They could not have done that if syria was still in lebnon.
    5- Not that i was not happy for syria levaing lebanon but i beleive this is what happened.

    Going back to the current situation:

    It is pretty clear that israel is using its classic strategy of "burned land" in the south. They plan on destroying everything there to try and claim some kind of victory to confront their people. As usual, the west is waiting for such a victory. They dont care whether our children die or not.
    As stated by the british media, Tony blair is a pupet articulated by President Bush. Therefore, the decision to end this war is in the hands of the Americans.

    So effectively, whether 10,000 people die in lebanon they dont care. They simply want to score something against the so called "terrorism".
    As for the 2 mile buffer zone, it is crap. In 1982 Israel said that they will simply occupy lebanon for 1 week. Unfortunately, its occupation lasted for 18 years. In 2006 they say that they will occupy lebanon untill the Multi-national foce goes to the south (around 2-3weeks or so). This means they could stay there for 36-54 years.

    They destory Ghaza completely and nobody cared. Why should the world care about lebanon? What a said world we live in :(.

    The West must enfore peace in the region instead of enforcing violence. As if the stroy started 2 weeks ago when the 2 soldiers were kidnaped. How could they impose pease when Isreal is recruting all the Jews from around the world back to the promissed land. This land cannot fit these people unless they take more land from the poor palestinians. Maybe the plan is to use Our beloved South of Lebanon to refuge some plastinians there. What is behind this war is not clear for now.
    What is clear is that they plan on destroying HIzbullah to claim some victory against terrorism. While doing that, they destroy all our infrastructure and factories to get us back 30 years.

    No one can eliminate Hizbullah. What the west doens not understand is that they are lebanese people. They market in their media as if HIzbulla infiltrated into lebanon from the middle of nowhere in the 1980s and started to conduct these operations. If they can kill the 1 million cheeits in lebanon then they will succeed. Other than that, it is all a matter of terminating the lebanese people.

    If they elimintate Hizbulla from the 2 mile buffer zone what then?. The reistance claims to have rockets that reach 100 miles. So what is the purpose behind that? I dont know.

    The lebanese people will never accept Multi-national soldiers to behave like the serians did in lebanon. This is what israel is counting on. They want to replace the serian Troops with some other nations allied to israel. In all cases, our "ASS" is being kicked. Shame on this world.

    Nice website LILO :).

  4. I read all your comments, they are all good ones. I especially congratulate Pascal (sorry for writing your name like this, but I have to) for the way he exposed the facts, and concluded the questions.
    Few things I have to say based on Edgar's comment:
    It is possible that Israel was behind Hariri's assassination, what supports this theory is the incidents that happened after that in the Christian regions of mount Lebanon, I cite 14 blasts that targeted many eminent Christian (sorry for pointing to it) figures, probably to prepare or launch a confessional war, like the former civil war.
    They are using the same tactics right now, especially when they target only the major Chiit cities: Dahye, Baalbek, Tyr, Nabatye, Bint jbeil; they push them to think the same way Christians did previously: "Why are we the only ones who have to pay?"
    Same focusing on one confessional group, waiting for a precise result, which is starting to emerge. what they want most is watching Lebanon being torned out once again from inside out. The only answer for the moment is to stay united, work on the social problems, and put accusations apart.

  5. dear edgar,

    it sounds u believe israel killed rafic hariri as wi2am wahhab and assem kanso do believe as well.LOL. it is true they benefited of his assasination but hezbollah did many operations in the south after april 2005 but israel didn;t retaliate much on these operations. maybe the time has come to do some flexing for their muscles in the hope of shpwing iran what they can do, and reap some benefits for their security as well.

  6. Hi Bach :),

    First of all i dont like wi2am wahhab and assem kanso. Whenever they talk i shut down the TV. Simply because they talk crap (no offense).

    I watched Kalam El nass last week-the session about different young guys from diffent groups. What these guys said was very shocking and discouraging in the following sense. Most young guys simply dont express themselves but whatever party they think they belong to. Unfortunately, their affeliation is not to Lebanon but to the group they belong to. I bet they never thought deeply into the situation and they simply make comments based on whatever different leaders say-thus driven by emoitions and not by reason.
    -I beleive we are in a situation of "Sourd-muet".
    I am not defending Hizbullah because i think they are part of the problem. This government and other parties are responsible as well. (it is taken as given that isreal is the most responsible so i am not mentioning that).
    It is important to talk about the past because it could held predict the future.
    - Before this war, all parties gathered in the national dialogue which was a Ziad Rahbani play. Everybody knew that they will not reach a concensus on anything but yet they met. Each was doing his self interest and the interest of his group
    -Hizbulla claims that they did the last operation to free the 3 prisonners in israel. My big question is, why didnt the government seek to do that through diplomatic means? The same thing for the prisonners in syria. No real efforts were made in both cases.
    -I beleive that Hizbullah should have joined the army into a division called "the resistence division" or liwa' al mukawama". This could have avoided the country many problems.
    -Unfortunately they did not want to do that.
    -AFter the war. Now everyone is united against israel. The next question would be: What will happen after the war? regardless of who is the victorious because we are in a lose-lose situation.
    -I beleive that what happened before the war will carry on afterwards. Each leader will seek his self interests. I am not talking about a relegious war because it will never happen. The problem now is worse if our leaders dont wake up.
    - Battles of ideas are worse that milittary battles in a segregated country like lebanon. The government has been paralized since it was established and i think it will remain in this situation if nothing is done soon.

    - I am an independed thinker and dont belong to any of these crappy parties in Lebanon.
    - As for the theory i proposed earlier. I still beleive that israel killed Rafik Hariri and other christian members. When their plan for creating a civil war did not succeed, they moved to the military actions against us.

    GOD Bless Lebanon and the Lebanese people.


  7. Nice analysis, good Work, i liked the series of questions the start and the end. and it seems the nightmare has started. we'll wait and see for the answers of the last question you posed.

  8. I see this blog has been active lately, especially with the long comments of Edgard.
    Some good points were discussed here. i am not gonna reply to everyone, but i have a small comment to post.

    The problem my dear Edgard lays here, we (as arabs) have never defined our enemies, nor our partners. We have never worked united for the sake of our nation. We were always afraid of each other, The big fish will always eat the small fish, and the small fish always needed someone to protect it, sometimes it relied on another Arab country or on a foreign country, and sometimes on Israel itself.
    What we can do best when we (or any part of the arab world) are in trouble, is sing, write poetry and moan. We were and still are afraid of the Big monster outside, we live in the conspiracy theory. There must be always someone who is stronger than us, controlling our destiny and the world. we are always the pawn on the chess board.
    My friend , it is not Israel and not even the United States that are stronger than us, it is just we under estimate our existence, our patriotisme and our faith in the Arab community. that's why we enjoy to play the Weak.

    it is hilarious but true.

    Imagine, if we all gather on the borders of the occupied lands and Cry, just cry we can sink all the israelis.

  9. well, I think when people maybe stop thinking of themselves as victims they might reach somewhere.
    It is true that because we let everyone in the world think we are weak that until now we haven't been able to decide upon our own destiny, however note that a lot of people really still follow leaders, and there is just too many leaders, while I believe one thing should lead us all and it is the well being of our country, not selfishness, not presidency and not prejudice.

  10. I think the only good thing that israel can do to lebanon is to kill our crappy leaders that conquoured us for the past 20 years. Insteady of killing these innocent people they should bomb the parlement when all 130 ministers are gathered. Probably they should also invite many people that are no longer in the parliment.
    As long as these people remain in power we will never unite. The turth of the matter is that these people like nabhi berri, walid jumblat, michelle Aoun, Franjieh,.....never learn from their mistakes. They inherit their powers to their chirldren who rule after them and unfortunately they transfer to them the same mistakes. (like father like son)
    -What is keeping us from being united?

    Simply these leaders are puppets in the hands of other countries and in the hands of their religion (christians or muslims).

    The only way to unite is by following other countries like turkey and Separating Religion from the State. I dont want the president to be Maronite if is not a true leader that care about the whole country and not his self interest or the interest of other country. The same for other positions.

    We keep flatering Lebanon that it is the only country with many religions......... In fact the only curse for lebanon is this issue.

    I respect all religions as long as they do not interfer into politics.
    We will never move forward untill " Men of GOD (preachers and Sheik) worry only about peoples' faith and religions and not about politics.

    - IF we go back into history. What created the dis-unity in the church and the Muslim Religion? The answer politics.

    These two can never unite. Why? SImply because politics is the WORD of the devil whereas Religion is the WORD of GOD.

    -Honesly guys. In the past 20 years we keep seeing the same people talking and ruling the country. What makes things worse is that those who destroyed the country in the civil war are now heroes and talking about the future. The same people are still in power. What a bright future awaists us.