Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Jews’ Mock Invasion of Lebanon

Updated August 26th 2006

Jewish ground incursions pushed gradually into lebanon over the five weeks of the war. First the jews took the border, then moved 1.5 miles into lebanon, then 4 miles, then 8 miles. Whilst they boasted about making territorial progress they never succeeded in subduing the areas they’d occupied. Small scale attacks and minor battles continued to rage even on the border. However, as the un security council got closer to an agreement over the terms of a ceasefire, the jewish army suddenly launched what was called ‘a massive invasion’ of southern lebanon involving thirty thousand soldiers. A large number of paratroopers were airlifted to the litany river to secure the area before moving south. "Under cover of intense artillery fire, IDF forces reached the Litani River, which is some 20 to 30 kilometers inside Lebanon, military officials said Saturday evening. As part of the expanded operation, IAF helicopters dropped a large number of Israeli troops deep inside Lebanese territory on Saturday, in the largest operation of its kind since 1973." (Amos Harel, Yoav Stern and Eli Ashkenazi ‘24 IDF soldiers killed Saturday in south Lebanon’ August 13, 2006).

The strategy behind this seemingly audacious military manoeuvre was to cut off hezbollah warriors in southern lebanon preventing them from being resupplied from the north. Once the jewish army was established along the litani it would then begin to move southwards - acting in accordance with the withdrawal required by the ceasefire agreement. Whilst this retreat was taking place the jewish army was supposed to conduct intensive mopping up exercises across the whole of southern lebanon which would put an end to hezbollah’s rocket attacks on the jos. The jewish army would thus use a un resolution, intended to bring peace in lebanon, to wipe out hezbollah. "Israel has nearly tripled the number of forces in Lebanon as part of its expanded ground war, and expects to fight for another week, despite a United Nations cease-fire resolution, IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz said Saturday. Halutz said IDF troops would stay in Lebanon until an international force arrives. "We have almost tripled our forces that are operating in Lebanon," Halutz told reporters. A top IDF official has said that the army will stop its offensive as soon as it is ordered to do so by the political leadership and later it will begin to retrace its steps to uncover any pockets of resistance that may remain in the area." (Amos Harel, Yoav Stern and Eli Ashkenazi ‘24 IDF soldiers killed Saturday in south Lebanon’ August 13, 2006). The prospects of the jews’ army slaughtering even larger numbers of innocent civilians than its air force, seemed an all too frightening possibility.

However, right from the start this ‘massive military manoeuvre’ didn’t proceed as it had been portrayed in the media. Hezbollah was waiting for the jewish army at the litany river and inflicted heavy casualities. "only hours after their leader, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, warned Israel on Saturday that his men were waiting for them on the banks of the Litani river, the Hizbollah sprang their trap, killing more than 20 Israeli soldiers in less than three hours." (Robert Fisk ‘As the 6am ceasefire takes effect... the real war begins’ August 14 2006).

The jews’ massive invasion didn’t even stop hezbollah from launching its biggest rocket attack on the jos. "despite the IDF's advance, Hezbollah fired some 250 rockets on Israel, the war's heaviest one-day total to date. The strikes killed one person and wounded dozens." (Amos Harel and Aluf Benn ‘IDF troops kill Hezbollah man who opened fire at them’ August 14, 2006). Once again, hezbollah was sending out a message to the world in stark contradiction to the impressions being created by the jewish dominated western media. How was it possible for hezbollah fighters to launch such a large scale attack on the jos when the jews supposedly had southern lebanon under seige? What was going on?

Firstly, it transpired that the jewish army made no real attempt to take control of the litany river to cut off southern lebanon. "IDF sources admitted that in the time remaining until the cease-fire takes effect, the army will only manage to reach the Litani River - which was the goal of the current offensive - in a few places." (Amos Harel and Aluf Benn ‘IDF troops kill Hezbollah man who opened fire at them’ August 14, 2006).

Secondly, the number of troops airlifted to the litani was small. "Despite the month of bombing Israel found that its tanks and infantry met fierce resistance from Hezbollah which inflicted heavy losses and kept most of the Israeli ground troops locked in a region close to the border. Only by airlifting troops with helicopters could Israel expand its presence to the region near the Litani River but not in a sufficient numbers and not with sufficient supplies and equipment to have any hope of both protecting themselves from guerrillas and guarding the river to stop returning civilians." (James Marc Leas ‘How Lebanese Civilians Thwarted Israel's War Plans’ August 25, 2006).

Thirdly, and even more shockingly, it was reported that the jewish army wasn’t going to conduct any mopping up exercises during their withdrawal from lebanon. "The intention is for the forces to move back to a line north of the border with Lebanon within about 10 days, or as soon as the Lebanese Army is ready to begin entering south Lebanon. This means that the IDF will not be conducting searches for Hezbollah fighters or arms caches in the areas that it has captured over the last few days, which the army defined as "the heart of the operational campaign" against Hezbollah." (Amos Harel and Aluf Benn ‘IDF troops kill Hezbollah man who opened fire at them’ August 14, 2006).

Finally, and most shockingly of all, was that once the ceasefire came into operation, the jews started withdrawing their forces from southern lebanon almost immediately, "The army is recommending that once the cease-fire takes effect, Israel should begin withdrawing its forces from Lebanon relatively quickly." (Amos Harel and Aluf Benn ‘IDF troops kill Hezbollah man who opened fire at them’ August 14, 2006); "The Israeli army plans to withdraw from southern Lebanon in as little as seven to 10 days and to hand over some of its forward positions to U.N. troops within 48 hours, Israeli officials said on Tuesday. The expedited timetable reflects growing concerns that Israeli forces will become easy targets for Hizbollah the longer they stay. Uri Bar-Joseph, a professor of international relations at Haifa University, said that with a U.N.-brokered ceasefire in place since Monday, Israel's army had little choice. "We cannot clear this area of Hizbollah fighters and waiting another two or three weeks for an international force will mean more Israeli soldiers will die," he said. Israel had initially said its troops would start pulling out only once an expanded UNIFIL and the Lebanese army began deploying. But the Israeli political source said the army wanted to let reservists go home and avoid unnecessary casualties." (Adam Entous ‘Israel plans to leave Lebanon in under 10 days’ August 15, 2006); "We are hoping the last IDF soldiers will cross the border in a matter of days," Maj. Jonathan Davis of the Israel Defense Forces said in an interview near the border. "We want to do it as quickly and swiftly as possible. As soon as UNIFIL and the Lebanese army are ready to assume responsibility in the area, which we hope is as soon as possible, we will leave."" (Edward Cody and Doug Struck ‘Hezbollah Balks At Withdrawal From the South’ August 16, 2006). By wednesday august 16, 2006 a mere two days after the ceasefire came into effect, the jewish army had virtually disappeared from lebanon. "According to LBC satellite news, most Israeli troops have withdrawn from Lebanon, except for some villages right on the border between the two countries." (Juan Cole ‘Hizbullah Rejects Syrian Position’ August 17, 2006).

The famed jewish army, for decades deemed to be invincible, had basically scarpered out of lebanon. Reporters were having a hard job finding any evidence of it in lebanon. "Israel's mighty army has already retreated from the neighbouring village of Ghandoutiya after losing 40 men in just over 36 hours of fighting. It has not even managed to penetrate the smashed town of Khiam where the Hizbollah were celebrating yesterday afternoon. In Srifa, I stood with Hizbollah men looking at the empty roads to the south and could see all the way to Israel and the settlement of Mizgav Am on the other side of the frontier. This is not the way the war was supposed to have ended for Israel." (Robert Fisk ‘Desert of trapped corpses testifies to Israel's failure’ August 15 2006). Such was the speed of the withdrawal that fisk doubted the size of the invasion force. "Indeed, last night, scarcely any Israeli armour was to be seen inside Lebanon - just one solitary tank could be glimpsed outside Bint Jbeil and the Israelis had retreated even from the "safe" Christian town of Marjayoun. It is now clear that the 30,000-strong Israeli army reported to be racing north to the Litani river never existed. In fact, it is unlikely that there were yesterday more than 1,000 Israeli soldiers left in all of southern Lebanon, although they did become involved in two fire-fights during the morning, hours after the UN-ceasefire went into effect." (Robert Fisk ‘Desert of trapped corpses testifies to Israel's failure’ August 15 2006). Another reporter provided additional evidence, "While Israel claimed to have flooded south Lebanon with 30,000 soldiers in its final offensive, an AP reporter who drove Monday from Tyre to the Israeli border and through several destroyed villages along the frontier saw only one Israeli tank." (Steven R. Hurst ‘Rockets hit Lebanon despite Ceasefire’ August 15, 2006).

Over the weekend of 12-13 August the jos had launched what threatened to be a horrendously bloody ground war and yet, within minutes of the ceasefire coming into operation in the early hours of Monday morning, the jews stopped fighting and retreated. At the same time, tens of thousands of lebanese citizens started heading back home to the devastation of southern lebanon. They would have made such a decision only if hezbollah had told them it was safe to return. Hezbollah knew the jewish army had been defeated in lebanon and weren’t going to prolong the war. "The very speed at which the refugees started to return, within hours of the start of the ceasefire, is itself important. It is highly unlikely that this was a spontaneous development and much more likely that, at least informally, the Hizbollah leadership encouraged it. From the Hizbollah perspective, this had a dual benefit: it was a palpable demonstration of its own perceived victory, and it conveyed a message of confidence that it considered the region safe for people to return." (Paul Rogers ‘A phoenix from Lebanon’s ruins’ August 17, 2006). (1)

During the five weeks of the war, the jews had realized beyond doubt that they could not remove hezbollah fighters even from the border let alone the whole of southern lebanon. "The town of Bint Jbeil, for example, right next to the border, was taken by the army three times, and the Hizbullah fighters remained there to the end. If we had occupied 20 towns and villages like this one, the soldiers and the tanks would have been exposed in twenty places to the mortal attacks of the guerillas with their highly effective anti-tank weapons." (Uri Avnery ‘The Thirty Three Day War: From Mania to Depression’ August 17, 2006). If the jews had launched a massive invasion in the way they publicly outlined, their withdrawal southwards would have left them dangerously exposed to hezbollah warriors. They might have ended up suffering an ignominious retreat under fire.

So what was the jewish army actually trying to do by launching this last minute offensive? One commentator believes that hezbollah had been so successful that the jos was forced into a full scale invasion in order to try and win a small victory to cover their abject defeat. "Israel's sudden push to the Litani River is a blatant act of political desperation intended to conceal the humiliating defeat the IDF has suffered at the hands of Hezbollah." (Mike Whitney ‘The Litani Gambit’ August 14, 2006).

Whitney’s argument fails because there was no mass invasion. Most of the small number of troops who’d been dropped off close to the litany river were airlifted out of the country after short clashes with hezbollah whilst the main bulk of the jewish army, close to the jewish border, took a short walk out of the country. The "full scale invasion" turned out to be just a mock invasion - a public relations’ gimmick designed to provide ehud olmert with the chance to declare he’d won the war because the jewish army had supposedly fought its way to the litany – a victory which would maintain the illusion of the jews’ military invincibility. "If so, why was it decided, at the last moment, to carry out this operation (a land offensive) after all - well after the UN had already called for an end to hostilities? The horrific answer: it was a cynical - not to say vile - exercise of the failed trio. Olmert, Peretz and Halutz wanted to create "a picture of victory", as was openly stated in the media. On this altar the lives of 33 soldiers (including a young woman) were sacrificed. The aim was to photograph the victorious soldiers on the bank of the Litani. The operation could only last 48 hours, when the cease-fire would come into force. In spite of the fact that the army used helicopters to land the troops, the aim was not attained. At no point did the army reach the Litani. This time, when the cease-fire took effect, all the units taking part had reached villages on the way to the river. There they became sitting ducks, surrounded by Hizbullah fighters, without secure supply lines. From that moment on, the army had only one aim: to get them out of there as quickly as possible, regardless of who might take their place." (Uri Avnery ‘The Thirty Three Day War: From Mania to Depression’ August 17, 2006).

It is a shocking conclusion but the jewish army had been dealt a crushing defeat by hezbollah. "Speaking at a journalists' conference in Damascus on Tuesday, Syrian President Bashar Assad said. "Today after almost five weeks, Israel is struggling to occupy a few hundred meters here and there" in southern Lebanon, while in a 1982 invasion, Beirut was surrounded within seven days, Assad said."" (Joel Greenberg ‘Israel, Hezbollah debate war's success, victor’ August 15, 2006).

The jews’ last minute invasion of lebanon was a military catastrophe. Their small scale incursions into lebanon at the start of the war indicated all too clearly that a ground invasion would be a military disaster, "This operation (the land offensive), which was planned and which the army spent years training for, was not carried out earlier, because it was clear that it would not bring any meaningful gains but would be costly in lives. The army would, indeed, have occupied wide areas, but without being able to dislodge the Hizbullah fighters from them." (Uri Avnery ‘The Thirty Three Day War: From Mania to Depression’ August 17, 2006). The only land invasion that was feasible was a gimmick which could be protected from any military disaster by the un ceasefire.

The jews’ war strategy had been a military catastrophe. When they failed to provoke a civil war they had no other strategy to fall back upon to achieve their ever more grandiose war objectives. It needs to be emphasized that the jews spent nearly three years preparing for this war. They knew from their last occupation of lebanon that hezbollah was a formidable fighting force which employed specific military tactics. And yet the jews never employed any special counter-tactics to eradicate hezbollah. Within a month of starting the war they’d run out of contingency plans so the only option left was to scarper to safety. Such was the military catastrophe that it gave the impression that the jews hadn’t made any preparation for the war, which was after all their war of choice, but had attacked lebanon simply out of blind rage because olmert had been angered by nasrullah’s taunts. "The real cause of the latest Lebanon war, wrote (Haaretz columnist Doron) Rosenblum, was not seizure of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbullah, but an earlier TV speech by Hezbullah’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, that provoked Israel’s leaders to fury and an act of supreme folly. Nasrallah taunted Israel’s new triumvirate of PM Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, sneering they were "small" compared to Ariel Sharon. "Adding fuel to the fire," wrote Rosenblum, "Nasrallah emphasized the 'small' with his fingers."" (Eric Margolis ‘A Foolhardy War, Unleashed by Fools’ August 09,2006).

After the war was over, "a senior commander" in the jos’s military put his spin on the events – not surprisingly, blaming jewish politicians for the disaster. "The army asked the government for a five-day ground operation to reach the Litani River and was ready on Monday, Aug. 7, the commander said. "The government asked us to wait because of the negotiations, and we waited Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and most of Friday," he said. Only then, when the negotiations at the United Nations were going against Israel, did Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz order the expanded ground operation, which had only been approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday, Aug. 9." (Stephen Erlanger ‘Israel Committed to Block Arms and Kill Nasrallah’ August 20, 2006). A five day operation would have been even more of a bloody disaster, and an even bigger defeat, than one lasting two days - but this is the last thing a jewish military leader is willing to admit.

The war against lebanon was also a political disaster for the jos. It pathologically implemented a long term plan for a nasty, vicious bombing campaign against lebanese civilians. Its psychoticly violent attacks shocked substantial sections of the western public. It has consolidated global opinion against the jos and even america. The jos showed itself to be utterly cowardly for its aerial attacks, its deliberate targeting of innocent civilians, and its attempt to resuscitate the lebanese civil war that, a couple of decades earlier, had torn the country apart. It launched a ground invasion only when it knew it could extricate itself from any significant counter-attack because of the ceasefire. The only things the jewish military are good at are killing innocent civilians, murdering women and children, and getting other people to fight their filthy racist wars. "Lebanon, which has never fought Israel and has 40 daily newspapers, 42 colleges and universities and hundreds of different banks, is being destroyed by our planes and cannon and nobody is taking into account the amount of hatred we are sowing. In international public opinion, Israel has been turned into a monster, and that still hasn't been calculated into the debit column of this war. Israel is badly stained, a moral stain that can't be easily and quickly removed. And only we don't want to see it." (Gideon Levy ‘Days of darkness’ July 31, 2006). The racist jos has shown itself to be not merely beyond contempt but militarily vulnerable. This can only be good for the sake of peace and justice in the middle east and around the rest of the world.

It is still difficult to believe that hezbollah inflicted a catastrophic defeat on the world’s fourth most powerful military. The common view before the war was that, "Israel has all the military muscle it needs to defeat Hamas and Hezbollah. If and when it achieves these goals, an outside interlocutor will have to broker a cease-fire between the belligerents, assist the Lebanese army in disarming Hezbollah ..." (Leon Hadar ‘Let Mideast be EU's problem’ July 21, 2006). The jewish army scarpered out of lebanon before hezbollah inflicted on it even greater casualties. If the jewish army had not used the ceasefire to defend itself, it would have had to endure another ignominious retreat like the one it suffered in 2000.

Jewish politicians in the jos are currently being condemned by the jewish military for agreeing to a ceasefire supposedly preventing the army from doing what it had to do in lebanon to win the war. The reality is, however, that the ceasefire prevented the jewish army from suffering even greater losses than it did. The ceasefire did not stop the jewish military from winning - it prevented the jewish military from suffering an even more ignominious disaster. After a life time of ignoring un resolutions, the jews suddenly started insisting that everyone obeyed every last detail of resolution 1701 in order to extricate its army from the mess it had gotten itself into. "A striking aspect of the Israeli reaction was that the Olmert administration put aside the country's traditionally deep suspicion of the United Nations by embracing the notion of a UN intervention force. The contempt with which Israel has treated Unifil in the past thirty years makes this switch of attitude little short of astonishing." (Paul Rogers ‘A phoenix from Lebanon’s ruins’ August 17, 2006). The jewish army lays in ruins exactly like much of southern lebanon. The words of ashraf isma’il turned out to be prophetic. "For all of these reasons, Israeli attempts to impose terms on Lebanon, or to redraw the political map of Lebanon, or even to impose a NATO force upon Southern Lebanon, are not militarily feasible nor politically achievable, and if attempted, will prove ultimately unsustainable. As will soon be demonstrated by events on the ground, Israel will not be able to destroy or even disarm Hizballah. Neither will Hamas, Hizballah, Lebanon, or Syria permit Israel or America to dictate terms to them. Consequently, if Israel lingers too long in Southern Lebanon, its presence will be paid for at such a high cost, that it will be forced to withdraw in ignominy, as it has so many times in the past." (Ashraf Isma’il ‘Why Israel is Losing’ July 25, 2006).

Note (1) James marc leas presents an interesting, and plausible, variant on the explanation presented above. In effect, he believes that lebanese civilians helped bring the war to an end by returning so quickly to southern lebanon against the threats of the jewish army. "The devastating bombing of houses, apartment buildings, power plants, fuel storage, roads, and bridges as far away as Beirut, and the killing of over one thousand civilians, was seen as intentionally directed toward civilians throughout Lebanon. Its purpose appears to have been to demonstrate such a level of ruthlessness as to discourage villagers from returning to their homes in southern Lebanon once the expected UN cease fire was finally imposed. Perhaps it was the inspiring ability of Hezbollah to withstand the bombing and continue to resist. Perhaps tens of thousands of civilians just knew that if they hesitated after the cease fire, like the Palestinians, they would become long term refugees. Whatever the reason, despite the pulverizing bombardment for 33 days, amazingly the civilian population was not so shocked and awed that they were immobilized. By the tens of thousands a flood of Lebanese civilians boldly took to the roads in an enormous act of civil disobedience to the occupying Israeli troops." (James Marc Leas ‘How Lebanese Civilians Thwarted Israel's War Plans’ August 25, 2006).

Whilst this hypothesis is plausible it is not wholly so. It suggests that hezbollah allowed citizens to return when there was a chance they would be attacked by the jewish army. It suggests the jewish army was still intent on remaining in lebanon protected by the ceasefire – the great fear about the first draft of the un resolution was that it legitimized the jos’s occupation of lebanon. Neither of these implications are true. Hezbollah knew it had defeated the jos militarily and that the jewish army was in full retreat so it was safe for its citizens to return.


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