Remember the Shaba Farms? One of Hizballah's grievances. Hizballah is packing up.
Hizbullah has dismantled 14 outposts on the Israel-Lebanon border near the Shaba Farms, Lebanese security sources said Monday.Several commenters have wondered if the Lebanese Army was serious. The test was a deployment along the Syrian border. I think we may have an answer.
Reportedly, the group evacuated the posts using trucks to carry artillery, other weapons and military equipment, while bulldozers blocked access to tunnels and bunkers.
Witnesses said that the vehicles laden with weapons and other military equipment were headed northward.
A French news agency reported that the Lebanese army had deployed troops along the border with Syria and that its soldiers had blocked routes used by weapons smugglers.
But wait. More surprises in store. Lebanon demands disarmament of Palestinians.
The Lebanese government demanded from Palestinians in refugee camps in the Litani area to disarm in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 1701, senior Fatah operative in Lebanon, Monir Al-Makdah, reported on Monday morning.Right of return to where? Lebanon? What exactly does the right of return (no such right exists - it is a figment of the fevered Palestinian imagination) to Israel have to do with Lebanese security?
Reportedly, Lebanese Prime Minister Faud Saniora made the request to Fatah representative in Lebanon Abbas Za'aki.
Al-Makdah rejected the demand in an interview with Jordanian newspaper Al-Dostur, saying that the Security Council resolution was illegal since it did not include the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
It is looking like Lebanon may get a real government courtesy of Israel.
Who would have ever suspected those UN resolutions for Lebanon, 1701 and 1559, would get enforced by the Lebanese Government?
One final question. If Hizballah won, why are they packing up? If they are politically stronger why is the admittedly weak Lebanese government pushing them around?
My guess? Iran has decided that the support of the shia in Lebanon is not worth the cost.
It may also have someting to do with US Rep. Tom Lantos' (D-Calif.) demands.
American aid to Lebanon should be held up until the country agrees to allow international forces to patrol its border with Syria, US Representative Tom Lantos of California said Sunday in Jerusalem.Given the way these things work in the ME, I'd have to say that Uncle Sam's bankroll is bigger than Iran's. At least if you are counting bankable notes.
Lantos, a Holocaust survivor on his 68th visit to Israel, also said he planned to file bipartisan legislation for Israel to receive reconstruction aid.
"It would be singularly unfair and inequitable in the wake of this disaster to have aid flow to one party, which basically allowed the provocation, but not to the other victims," he said. "Lebanon will get help from Europe, the Arab world and the United States. And unless the United States provides some aid to Israel, Israel will not receive aid."
Update: 28 Aug '06 1559z
Here is an interesting update on bunker busting in Lebanon. It appears that the bunkers were connected by telephone wires. Which is why jamming the radios did not prevent Hizbollah from communicating. The really interesting part is news from the North Bekaa.
Lieutenant Colonel Emanuel Moreno was killed two days earlier during an elite unit operation in the town of Baalbek in the eastern sector.It looks like Israel is clearing out the Bekaa Valley without much of a fight. The strategy Israel is using appears to be even better that the one I envisioned in Tactics, Strategy, Grand Strategy. I had assumed a major battle to accomplish the purpose of disarming Hizballah and straining Syria. Here Israel is doing it without much of a fight. Hizballah must be way more seriously damaged than they are admitting.
According to the IDF, the operation was aimed at preventing the smuggling of arms from Iran and Syria to Hizbullah. Army sources stated that the operation's goals "have been achieved."
The army also claimed that the operation did nor constitute a violation of the ceasefire agreement, as the IDF said it reserves the right to prevent arms smuggling to the terror group.
Speaking of admissions. Nasserallah has this to say.
During the interview, Nasrallah said he did not expect a second round in the war with Israel, but in the same breath added that his organization was reserving the "right to resistance" as long as IDF soldiers continue to remain on Lebanese territory.Funny thing is the "resistance" is not resisting much these days. Well Nasserallah is basically a peaceful guy and refuses to be provoked. Ya, right, whatever.
"I won't send calming messages to anyone," he said. Despite the remark, there was a lowering of tones compared to comments made in previous speeches, according to which his organization would continue to fight IDF soldiers, but would only cease firing Katyusha rockets at Israel in case of a ceasefire.
"The open war with Israel ended on August 14, but Israel is continuing its acts of provocations to drag us into the confrontation," said Nasrallah.
I'm still not clear on one minor point though. Who won?
I couldn't resist adding this bit of humor.
"If we respond to the provocations we'll be considered the party that violated the international agreement, something which might cause a meeting around a second decision, which president Bush is working for and which is tied to the disarmament of Hizbullah. We have been restrained and we will not be provoked, especially as Resolution 1701 gives Israel the right to defend itself – something we opposed."Yeah. A real shame. Israel has the right to defend itself.
Of course it looks like no one will disarm Hizballah. They are packing up their gear on their own for a one way trip to Syria. Next time I don't think they will get off so easy.
Nasserallah could do stand up if his current career has no future. Of course if he has no future he will not be doing stand up. He will be doing lie down.
"This is our policy – to refrain from displaying weapons. If the Lebanese army notices any gunman – it is it's natural right to expropriate the weapons," said Nasrallah.He is packing up his shit and hightailing it from Dodge. The new Hizballah in Syria? Looks like it might be the old one from Lebanon. Somewhat the worse for wear.
Nasrallah's comments match Israeli beliefs that Hizbullah's political stance has been harmed following the war.
Update: 28 Aug '06 2142z
Clayton Cramer links.