I weep: Syrian rebels attack Hizbullah camps

February 22, 2013

Okay, maybe not so much weeping as wishing for popcorn.

Syrian rebels have reportedly bombed two compounds operated by the Lebanese terror organization Hezbollah, the main Syrian opposition group announced Thursday.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) claims its forces bombed Hezbollah facilities in Lebanon and Syria, a cross-border raid that indicates the rebels’ desire to increase their attacks on allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“The development may mark a critical turn in Syria’s two-year war, bearing out fears that the increasingly sectarian conflict would spill over across Syria’s borders,” according to the Israel Project (TIP), which first reported on the operation.

Love it! Hot jihadi on jihadi action.

In case you’re wondering why the FSA should attack Hizbullah, who are based in Lebanon, keep in mind that the rebellion against Boy Assad (1) and his murderous clan largely comprises groups belonging to the Sunni side of Islam, while the Assads and their key supporters in Syria are mostly Alawite Muslim, an offshoot of Shia Islam (bad enough in Sunni eyes) that is regarded as borderline heretical by orthodox Muslims. In the decades since the Assads seized power, the Alawis have held the real reins of power in Syria and have not been shy about using overwhelming force to keep them, adding to the religious dislike.

Hizbullah is also a Shiite organization, a creation of Shiite Iran, which is the Assad regime’s major patron. (An important Iranian general was reported killed recently in Syria, probably by rebels.) Syria is crucial to Iran’s struggle against Israel and to be a dominant player in the western Fertile Crescent, allowing Iran to  funnel weapons and money to Hizbullah, its frequent proxy against Israel. (If Israel ever attacks Iran, expect Hizbullah to try to rain hell on northern Israel.) Iran needs a friendly regime in Damascus, or its influence in the area will be severely curtailed. Hence it has sent troops, including snipers, to Syria to support the Assads.

Hizbullah itself realizes the fall of the Assads would weaken its position, perhaps fatally. It is the dominant player in the Lebanese government and functions as a state within the hollow husk of the Lebanese state. It has been heavily armed by Iran via Syria for its jihad against Israel, and Syria has provided a convenient fall-back zone on the occasions the Israelis have struck back.

But all this is in danger if Assad loses: the safe haven will be gone in a fragmented or dominated-by-Sunnis Syria; there will be no easy route for Iranian weapons to reach them, and they will have enemies to their south (Israel) and east, not just the south. The prospect is scary enough that Hizbullah is willing to do damage to its reputation for fighting for the average Muslim by sending forces to aid Assad against the rebels.

Thus you can see why the Sunni rebels in Syria would have no love for Hizbullah: they are Shiites; allies of the hated regime; and tools of the Iranians who prop up Assad and kill Syrians… A conflict was almost inevitable.

But this doesn’t mean the “enemy of our enemy” is also our friend. The FSA is tightly allied with (and perhaps dominated by) the al-Nusrah front, an al-Qaeda aligned organization, many of whose members got their experience fighting us in Iraq. In other words, they are not our BFFs. Whatever “liberal” possibly pro-Western elements there may be in the anti-Assad alliance are, in my estimation, small and weak.

So, what should America do? This may get my “neocon card” revoked, but I don’t think there is much that can be done, particularly after the dithering of the Obama administration over the last couple of years. It’s in our interest to see Iran’s influence in the area damaged and Hizbullah weakened, if only because that would improve the security of our client and ally, Israel. So, the fall of the Assads would be a good thing.

But, not wholly so, if replaced by a Sunni jihadist regime that sees its duty as fighting the Jews, too. And no one sane wants any group affiliated with al Qaeda to have any safe haven. Granted the situation is hell for those trapped in Syria, perhaps the best from an American and Israeli point of view is a continuing war that drains all sides, while trying to cultivate whatever real moderates there are to be ready to exercise influence when the dust settles, and in the meantime doing what we can to make sure the fighting doesn’t spill over into Israel.

Beyond that… Enjoy watching one group of bad guys go after another, and pass the popcorn. smiley popcorn

Footnote:
(1) Let us not forget that, just a few years ago, powerful Democrats, including our current Secretary of State, and their media allies were all Assad’s useful idiots, praising him as a reformer. That’s the Hundred Acre Wood style of diplomacy, for you.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Israel blasts Syrian convoy in Lebanon: was it carrying chemical weapons?

January 30, 2013

If PJM’s Barry Rubin is right, it’s the development many have feared: a desperate, vengeful Bashar Assad giving WMDs to the genocidal jihadists of Hizbullah:

It has been reported that a number of Israeli planes flew over Lebanon and attacked a convoy near the Syrian-Lebanese border. The fact that this comes shortly after Hizballah and Syrian forces had moved in growing numbers toward known chemical-weapons storage areas implies that the Syrian regime was in the act of shipping chemical weapons to the Lebanese Shia Islamist group (which also happens to dominate the Lebanese government and to be involved in a lot of anti-Israel terrorism) Hizballah. This story has not yet been confirmed by Israel.

During the 2006 Israel-Hizballah war, Israel frequently hit convoys delivering weapons to Lebanon the moment they crossed the Syria-Lebanon border, showing a very strong intelligence capacity on such events.

The Israeli position has been that it will not allow any transfer of advanced weapons by the Syrian regime to either Hizballah or radical Lebanese Sunni groups. Israel had previously made this point clear through public statements to the Syrian government. It has not been explicitly reported whether the weapons on the convoy were chemical ones.

While Israel isn’t commenting officially, a retired general gave what may be an oblique confirmation:

But Brigadier General Amnon Sofrin, a retired army intelligence officer and former head of intelligence for the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, gave a press conference in which he made the following points.

 “I think that if we have solid evidence shared by our own partners all over the world, that chemical warheads are being transferred from Syria to Lebanon, to Hezbollah, I think that no one will condemn Israel for trying to prevent it.”

This should be read as explaining that Israel notified the United States and others of its intelligence information prior to the attack.

Given relations between the Obama administration and the Israeli government, you can bet Jerusalem was not asking for permission, either.

Rubin speculates that these may also have been Russian surface-to-air missiles, meant to shoot down Israeli recon drones so they couldn’t spot later transfers of chemical weapons.  Regardless, this is ominous news. The common wisdom has been that the Assad regime is either doomed or will soon be reduced to a small rump state in the mountains. The question, then, is what becomes of the chemical weapons they’re known to have? (Including those that may have been smuggled from Saddam’s Iraq as it fell?)

The danger is not just that these would be given to Hizbullah in some last act of revenge, though that would be a potential nightmare for Israel. There is also the grave risk that these weapons could fall into the hands of al Qaeda-aligned Syrian rebels, who might then pass them along al Qaeda Central.

And you just know whom Zawahiri would love to unleash these on, if he could get his mitts on them.

This is a good moment to remember that we are still at war, that there are still very determined people on a religious mission to see us dead or subjugated.  They take this very seriously, and so should we.

And I hope, behind the empty brags of having al Qaeda “on the run,” so does President Obama.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


A Mideast crisis by September?

May 24, 2011

And it’s not the one you’re probably thinking of, a unilateral declaration of statehood by the Fatah-Hamas Palestinian administration. Rather, analyst Barry Rubin has in mind the Egyptian elections scheduled for that month, elections that will very likely bring to power an anti-American, anti-Israeli, Islamist government — a situation made much worse thanks to Obama administration ineptitude and a failure to recognize even now what the dangers are.

Rubin’s articles are worth reading “cover to cover,” but let me cite a portion in which he asks what our “leaders” will say when the near-inevitable happens and Obama’s Mideast policy collapses:

Imagine the day after that election. What will the mass media say? What will the American politicians say?

–That they were wrong about the Egyptian revolution and the Muslim Brotherhood?

–That by helping to bring down the old regime, U.S. policy foisted a disaster on the region and on its own interests?

–That by celebrating how great the “Arab Spring” is and refusing to acknowledge the real threats and problems, Obama made catastrophic errors.

–That his policy has led to many advances for America’s enemies?

–That Israel is in a far worse strategic situation and certainly can’t and shouldn’t make any more concessions?

–That the Islamists are emboldened and thus both Hamas and the radicals who run Fatah are taking an even harder line?

–That the loss of faith in America by its Arab allies is now undeniably clear and they are scrambling to make their own deals with Iran and other extremists?

–That there is a real possibility of a war in which Egypt either joins directly or backs Hamas? Imagine, Egypt stays “neutral” but nobody stops thousands of Egyptian volunteers from crossing into Gaza to fight or even across the Egypt-Israel border to launch terror attacks?

–What will the Obama Administration do if in practice Egypt tears up the Israel-Egypt peace treaty even if it pretends that it isn’t doing so?

–People are insisting that if Hamas in practice becomes part of the Palestinian Authority that the United States, and certainly Congress, will cut off aid. But what will happen when the Obama Administration does everything possible to prevent an aid cut-off and nothing possible to pressure the PA into changing its policy or behavior?

These are not speculations. These things WILL happen. Nobody in the United States or Europe is seriously discussing these scenarios and what should be done about them.

As I said, that’s not the half of it; Lebanon is increasingly under Hizbullah’s dominance (and thus becoming a satrapy of Syria and Iran), Assad is showing he will kill however many it takes to stay in power in Syria, and Iran marches on to nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. And all of this has been made worse by bumbling US policies since Obama took over.

Yet he and his administration (and his defenders in the media) show no sign that they understand what is happening, continuing instead to pretend that territorial concessions will solve anything.

The Hippocratic Oath is often paraphrased by “First do no harm.” Someone should whisper those words to President Obama before it’s too late.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Sunday Night Linkapalooza

May 15, 2011

Sorry for the non-posting this weekend, folks. Yesterday was a busy one, and today was spent enjoying a beautiful if windy day by the sea in the People’s Republic of Santa Monica(1). But, we do have some links of interest. Enjoy:

Border Security and Terrorism:

Our porous southern border (I’d call operational control over only 873 miles of a 2,000 mile border “porous,” wouldn’t you?) isn’t just a swinging door for migrants seeking work or drug smugglers looking to sell their poison. Verum Serum posts an interview a San Diego station did with an undercover agent about Hizbullah’s presence in Mexico and its growing cooperation with the drug cartels. Meanwhile, Fausta updates us on Iranian training camps in northern South America, again financed through the drug trade.

Comforting, no?

Man-Caused Global Warming Can Hurt You:

Not the phenomenon itself, which is either nonexistent or so insignificant as to be barely measurable. No, what will hurt you is the belief among policymakers that they have to do something to solve a problem that exists only in their own minds. The latest example comes from Britain, where an historic agreement was reached at the price of, as James Delingpole puts it, destroying Britain. Pirate’s Cove catches a whiff of fascism. Anthony Watts suggests we pray for Britain; that may not be inappropriate, as the government seems set on a course of taking the nation back to the Dark Ages — as in lights out.

By the way, an Australian scientist who used to be in the “climate alarmist” camp has broken with the Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming and said the science behind it is garbage(2).

Israel and the Unending Middle East Peace Process:

Israel turned 63 this weekend. While the civilized world celebrates the birth of one of the most humane and ethical nations on Earth, Palestinians and other Arabs commemorate the occasion by calling it the “nakba,” the catastrophe, blaming Israel for the fact they shot themselves in the foot in 1948 and continue to do so to this day. The day was marked by mass-marches and border crossings, which may signal a new form of intifada.

Meanwhile, former Senator George Mitchell is resigning as President Obama’s special envoy to the region, a tacit admission of failure. Walter Russell Mead (always worth reading) takes this occasion to criticize the administration for its toxic mixture of arrogance and inexperience. Here’s a sample quote:

Let us hope that things change, but the bitter truth is that so far President Obama has the worst Middle East peace policy since US presidents first took a direct interest in the peace process back in the Nixon Administration.  No one has tried harder and accomplished less than President Obama.  After two years of high profile White House activism neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians think that this President can help them; neither side feels much need to work with Washington at this point.

An American president reduced to a nonentity in one of the most volatile regions of the world, one crucial to our security. Great.

Liberal Fascism Watch:

Finally, Bill Clinton says there should be a government agency to fight rumors and falsehoods on the Internet. Because Bill Clinton has always been a warrior for the truth. (Oh, stop laughing.) I mean, this would never be used to quash criticism of politicians, would it?

And we’re running a sale on the Brooklyn Bridge today, too.

Enjoy what’s left of your weekend, folks.

(1) Also known as “Berkeley South.”

(2) I might have editorialized a bit, there. Maybe.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hizbullah: the boys in Brazil

April 6, 2011

It’s been noted before by myself and others that our porous southern border poses not only a problem of illegal immigration, but an avenue of opportunity for terrorists trying to get into the United States.  Hamas has been trying to set up operations in Mexico, Hizbullah has become involved in the Colombian drug trade, and an Iranian book celebrating suicide bombers was found in the Arizona desert, probably not dropped by a Mexican looking for day-work in Phoenix.

Now comes word via a Brazilian periodical that al Qaeda operatives are in Brazil, plotting and organizing:

Al Qaeda operatives are in Brazil planning attacks, raising money and recruiting followers, a leading news magazine reported Saturday, renewing concerns about the nation serving as a hide-out for Islamic militants.

Veja magazine, in its online edition, reported that at least 20 people affiliated with al Qaeda as well as the Lebanese Shi’ite Muslim group Hezbollah, the Palestinian group Hamas and two other organizations have been hiding out in the South American country.

The magazine said these operatives have been raising money and working to incite attacks abroad. The magazine cited Brazilian police and U.S. government reports, but did not give details on specific targets or operations.

This isn’t the first word we’ve had of Islamic jihadists in South America, of course. As the article mentions, the United States has long believed that the lawless area where the Brazilian, Paraguayan, and Argentine borders meet harbored terrorists and Iranian agents. But this latest news from Brazil is a salutary reminder that our enemies are not just in the Hindu Kush: they are much closer, they are making plans, and we are a very likely target. (Though not the only one…)

via Fausta, who provides links to articles about the activities of Hamas and Hizbullah in the land of the samba, too.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Hizbullah takes over Lebanon

January 25, 2011

Or maybe that should read “Iran takes over Lebanon,” since the Shiite terror organization is a creation of and cats-paw for Tehran. Regardless, that possible war I wrote about a few days ago just took a big step closer to reality:

Saad Hariri, whose government was toppled after the Shiite movement Hezbollah and its allies withdrew this month, declared the appointment of a new prime minister chosen by Hezbollah a “coup d’etat” on Tuesday, as angry protesters took to the streets, burning tires and attacking the office of one of Mr. Hariri’s foes.

The escalating demonstrations deepened one of the worst crises in years in Lebanon, a small Mediterranean country where confrontations often serve as an arena for regional and international disputes. It has pitted Hezbollah and its allies, backed by Iran and Syria, against Mr. Hariri and his supporters, backed by the United States and France.

After days of political wrangling, the candidate supported by Hezbollah and its allies, Najib Miqati, a billionaire and former prime minister, won 68 seats in Lebanon’s 128-member parliament, enough to name the next government in a country as divided as it is diverse. His elevation was a clear victory for Hezbollah, which has ruled out Mr. Hariri’s return to power, and marked the culmination of what was already accepted as a fact of life here: that Hezbollah is the country’s pre-eminent military and political force.

So far, the crisis has played out according to the rules of Lebanon’s parliamentary system, and both Mr. Miqati and Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, went to great lengths to offer a conciliatory message and portray Mr. Miqati as a consensus choice.

“My hand is extended to all Lebanese, Muslims and Christians, to build, not to destroy, to talk, not to quarrel,” Mr. Miqati said Tuesday after President Michel Suleiman named him as the prime minister-designate. “Let’s learn from the lessons of the past.”

Mr. Nasrallah promised that the government “is not led by Hezbollah.”

Bear in mind that Hariri’s father, then-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, was murdered by a car bomb a bomb his car drove over. A sealed indictment filed by UN investigators is expected, when unveiled, to name Hizbullah as the assassins. That was the motive for this move, regardless of what they say publicly. With Hariri’s son tossed out and control of the government in Nasrallah’s hands (If you believe Miqati and Nasrallah’s protestations otherwise, I have a bridge for sale, cheap.), what slim chance existed for an accounting just died.

And, now that Hizbullah controls the Lebanese state and its resources*, any actions they take against Israel will mean the entire country is fair game when Israel strikes back. Israel was actually quite restrained in their war with Hizbullah in 2006, generally avoiding areas not controlled by the organization in order not to harm the existing government, with whom they could work. There will be no such need for restraint next time, and, given that Hizbullah is dedicated to Israel’s destruction, I guarantee there will be a next time.

*Think about it. Iranian Revolutionary Guard operatives traveling under Lebanese passports with diplomatic immunity and avoiding sanctions. What could go wrong?

via Legal Insurrection

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The next war in Lebanon will be a big one

January 21, 2011

The Lebanese government collapsed last week when the ministers belonging to Hizbullah, the Shiite terrorist organization founded by Iran and patronized by Syria (itself an Iranian client), withdrew from the Cabinet of Prime Minister Saad Hariri in what amounts to a soft coup. Regardless of the publicly stated reasons given by Hizbullah, the real reason is to create a crisis to distract from looming indictments that will, when unsealed,  likely accuse the organization of assassinating PM Hariri’s father, then-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Michael Totten reports today that the government crisis in Lebanon has taken a turn for the worse, as Druze leader Walid Jumblatt has endorsed Hizbullah and the Syrian regime, likely to protect himself and his people. This renders a Hizbullah takeover all but inevitable, which, Totten believes, makes a war that will devastate Lebanon much more likely:

Everybody in Lebanon needs to understand something: Israel is more likely than ever to target the entire country during the next round of conflict. Not since 1948 has Israel fought a war against the Lebanese government; its wars in Lebanon have always been waged against terrorist organizations that were beyond the control of the state.

But if Hezbollah leads the government, the government will be a legitimate target. That’s how it works. Regime-change in Lebanon would have been an insane policy with Hariri’s March 14 coalition in charge, but it won’t be if Hezbollah is calling the shots.

The next war will almost certainly be bloodier than the last.

And why is that war inevitable, in my estimation? Because Hizbullah has never, ever been just about “justice” for the Shiites of Lebanon, who were traditionally among the country’s lower classes. Since its foundation by Iran, Hizbullah has been dedicated fanatically to jihad and the destruction of Israel. If they showed almost no restraint before, what makes anyone think they will in the future, once they control the levers of government and the country becomes an Iranian satrapy in all but name? The entire Lebanese state will be bent towards jihad against Israel — and against us. (See also)

If I lived in Lebanon, I would seriously consider taking the next plane out and never coming back.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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