Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Israel/Lebanon War Updates

Updated throughout the day.

- I'm late in posting these today. Sorry.

- 7:18 pm ET: CNN reports that Israeli tanks are moving into Gaza refugee camps. BBC reports.

- Bush is racheting up his anti-Syria rhetoric:

"Syria is trying to get back into Lebanon it looks like to me."

"We passed United Nations resolution 1559 and finally this young democracy or this democracy became whole by getting Syria out.

"And there are suspicions that the instability created by the Hezbollah attacks will cause some in Lebanon to invite Syria back in."

Mr Bush said the root cause of the instability was "terrorism and terrorist attacks on a democratic country," in apparent reference to Israel.

Isn't Lebanon a democratic country too or did I miss something?

- The UN is calling for an immediate ceasefire again and is pulling non-essential staff out of Lebanon.

- Ehud Barak just told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that he believes the current mission will take 'one or two weeks'. Hmmm. Is that why the US is standing by and doing nothing?

- White House automaton press secretary Tony Snow faced some tough questions from the press gallery on Tuesday and accused Helen Thomas of 'hectoring' and presenting the Hezbollah view. Crooks and Liars has the video.

- Here's one of the prime reasons a ceasefire should have been accepted, but this plays right into the Bush administration's hands. Looks like they'll get their war with Iran after all:

Iran's Hizbollah says ready to attack US, Israel
Tue Jul 18, 2006 2:09pm ET

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's Hizbollah, which claims links to the Lebanese group of the same name, said on Tuesday it stood ready to attack Israeli and U.S. interests worldwide.

"We have 2,000 volunteers who have registered since last year," said Iranian Hizbollah's spokesman Mojtaba Bigdeli, speaking by telephone from the central seminary city of Qom.

"They have been trained and they can become fully armed. We are ready to dispatch them to every corner of the world to jeopardise Israel and America's interests. We are only waiting for the Supreme Leader's green light to take action. If America wants to ignite World War Three ... we welcome it," he said.

Looks like the National Review's was wrong, wrong, wrong when he said, 'The U.S.A. is not threatened with destruction by jihadists.' Then again, Derbyshire also believes that Egypt and Saudi Arabia are not 'consequential nations'. He might want to rethink that the next time he gasses up his car, but that would probably make his head hurt.

- According to the Financial Times, 'Lebanon puts cost of Israeli raids up to $2bn'. Now, with Bush's constant gentle nudging of Israel not to bring down the Lebanese government, it seems that such a financial crisis may do just that. Governments don't just fall because their members are direct victims of military attacks. There are many more factors that contribute to governmental powerlessness.

- One blogger's take on the situation: 'Israel: The Unifier of Shi’a and Sunni'

- If the Bush administration is so concerned about the fragility of Lebanon's democracy, why did Condoleeza Rice snub Lebanon's democratically elected president when she was in Beirut this past February?

- CNN reports that the State Department will not charge American evacuees for flights out of Lebanon and the US administration is receiving major criticism for its slow evacuation response including protest rallies in America by some who want immediate action.

- Israeli ground troops have moved into Southern Lebanon.

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