Category Archive 'Lebanon'
24 Jan 2010
I would give the following paper by Amichai Cohen, International Law professor at Ono Academic College, Israel, a gentlemanly C.
Armed conflicts of this type have sometimes been termed â€œasymmetricalâ€ â€“- an adjective used principally with reference to the fact that the protagonists are a state, with all its might and force, and an organization with few heavy arms and a limited number of fighters. But such conflicts are also asymmetrical in a more complicated sense: they are fought between a state, in possession of sound reasons for following the laws of armed conflicts (LOAC) or international humanitarian law (IHL), and a high incentive and organizational obligation to do so, on the one hand, and on the other hand, an organization that almost never follows these rules and has very little incentive to do so.
States involved in these conflicts mostly attempt to follow, or are expected by the international community to follow, IHL as detailed in customary international law, in the Geneva Conventions, and in other sources of applicable international law. However, it has become increasingly difficult to abide by these laws, mainly because of the novel nature of the problems that constantly arise. This brief review will only deal with two of the most prominent of such problems:
The first is how to apply the rule forbidding indiscriminate attacks on a civilian population when the enemy deliberately operates from within that environment. Direct attacks against civilians are of course always forbidden. However, what are
the appropriate norms that a state should apply when the only possible way of fighting the enemy involves risking the lives of civilians whom the enemy is using for its own protection?
A second problem arises from the fact that non-state actors are not susceptible to the range of formal and informal sanction which may be used against states. Since international law is not policed effectively, non-state actors may readily assume
that their violations of the laws of war, including those mentioned above, will not be punished by law. For example, they may target civilians of the state actor in the knowledge that there exists very small chance that they will be punished for
doing so by any international judicial body. Consequently, while one side to the conflict behaves in accordance with IHL, the other considers itself to be free of the limitations imposed by these rules.
Read the whole thing.
My criticism is that, although Professor Cohen does a workmanlike academic job of dividing alternative perspectives into models, his fundamental approach is fundamentally far too abstract, unempiric, and ahistoric.
Restricting consideration of the practical responses to terrorism, guerrilla warfare, and violations of the laws and customs of war to a small number of very recent, poorly handled examples which occurred under the leadership of democratic governments, which obviously failed satisfactorily to implement or articulate clear policies, was a fundamental mistake.
The world did not suddenly spring into existence in 1993. “Assymetrical warfare” and the cynical exploitation of the chivalrous instincts and humanitarian values of honorable and civilized armies by outlaws and barbarians has always been part of the human experience. Military commanders from Classical Antiquity down to WWII frequently dealt with decisive effect with the same problems without scandalizing posterity by cruelty and excesses.
Professor Cohen is too satisfied with the classification of perspectives into “models,” and too cautious and timid about identifying explicitly the major and important role played in the fraudulent framing of the issue as presented to the public by dishonest and ideologically biased humanitarian organizations and the media.
05 Aug 2009
Debkafile posts a major intelligence leak.
Russia’s Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) (Russian: Ð¤Ð¡Ð‘, Ð¤ÐµÐ´ÐµÑ€Ð°Ð»ÑŒÐ½Ð°Ñ ÑÐ»ÑƒÐ¶Ð±Ð° Ð±ÐµÐ·Ð¾Ð¿Ð°ÑÐ½Ð¾ÑÑ‚Ð¸ Ð Ð¾ÑÑÐ¸Ð¹ÑÐºÐ¾Ð¹ Ð¤ÐµÐ´ÐµÑ€Ð°Ñ†Ð¸Ð¸; Federalnaya sluzhba bezopasnosti Rossiyskoy Federaciyi), successor to the NKVD and KGB, has been working with Hezbollah to expose and close down Israeli intelligence operations in Lebanon.
As Debka notes, this development marks a new level of intimacy between Russia’s state security service and the Iran-backed terrorist organization.
Western intelligence sources in the Middle East have disclosed to DEBKAfile that a special unit of the Russian Federal Security Service – FSB, commissioned by Hizballah’s special security apparatus earlier this year, was responsible for the massive discovery of alleged Israel spy rings in Lebanon in recent months with the help of super-efficient detection systems.
Those sources report that the FSB and Hizballah have amassed quantities of undisclosed data on Israel’s clandestine operations in Lebanon and are holding it in reserve in order to leak spectaculars discoveries as and when it suits their purpose.
This disclosure, if borne out, would indicate that the Russian agency, which specializes in counterespionage, is engaged for the first time in anti-Israel activity in the service of an Arab terrorist organization. An Israeli security sources describes this turn of events extremely grave. It also cast an ominous slant on Moscow’s deepening strategic involvement in Syria.
It was generally assumed until now that new electronic devices supplied by France to the Lebanese army were instrumental in uncovering the suspected Israeli spy rings. It now transpires that the Lebanese army was not directly involved; it only detained the suspects handed over by the Shiite Hizballah.
Those same sources disclosed that FSB agents, by blanketing every corner of Lebanon with their sophisticated surveillance systems, were able to detect the spy rings one by one and additionally hack into Israeli intelligence data bases.
04 Jan 2009
Israeli Intelligence mouthpiece DEBKAfile succeeded in restoring service today after a period of outage.
DEBKAfile’s two sites in English and Hebrew came under a massive cyber attack on our servers at the moment Israeli ground forces crossed into the Gaza Strip Saturday night, Jan. 3. The attackers tried and failed to block and replace our content. We did our utmost to restore service as quickly as possible and return to full operation.
DEBKAfile wasn’t the first site hit.
Computerworld reports earlier activity aimed at Israeli business and web domains:
The conflict raging in Gaza between Israel and Palestine has spilled over to the Internet.
Since Saturday (12/27), thousands of Web pages have been defaced by hacking groups operating out of Morocco, Lebanon, Turkey and Iran, said Gary Warner, director of research in computer forensics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The defacements have primarily affected small businesses and vanity Web pages hosted on Israel’s .il Internet domain space. One such site was that of Israel’s Galoz Electronics Ltd. On Wednesday, the hacked Web site read “RitualistaS GrouP Hacked your System! ! ! The world isn’t insurance! ! ! For a better world.”
Other attackers have placed more incendiary messages condemning the U.S. and Israel and adding graphic photographs of the violence. Warner said he has seen no evidence that any Israeli government site has been hit by these attacks, although they have been targeted.
10 Jul 2008
Memri quotes an article in the Syrian government daily Teshreen, in which the former Syrian information minister Dr. Mahdi Dakhlallah asks some of the right questions.
In the early 60s, if a person took a taxi in Kuwait or in one of the tiny Gulf states, he would hear on the radio a Syrian, Lebanese, or Egyptian song. Today, if one takes a taxi in Damascus, Cairo, or Beirut, he will hear a song from the Gulf [states]. How did this come about? …
Why has the Arab cultural and media [primacy] passed from the Nile, Syria, and Mesopotamia to the tiny Gulf states?
Why are books published in 50,000 copies in Kuwait, but in [only] 3,000 copies in Damascus?
Why are state-of-the-art satellite stations being set up in Qatar and Dubai, but not in Beirut, Damascus, or Cairo?
Why is the city planning in the Gulf states perfect, while Beirut, Damascus, and Cairo look like large villages or regions that are chaotic and far from perfect?
Why are the streets of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, and Manama sparkling clean despite the water shortage, while in the streets and on the pavements of Beirut, Damascus, and Cairo one can find anything but hygiene? …
Why have the Gulf states managed to adapt themselves to the technological and social reality of modern times, while at the same time preserving their traditional Arab culture (e.g. dress), while Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt have adopted only trousers, shirts, and ties? …
I believe that our problem – whether in Syria, Lebanon, or Egypt – is that we have forfeited the wisdom of desert nomads, without having caught up with the rational and modern ways of the West.”
Syria and Egypt became National Socialist dictatorships, devoted to militarism and a futile quest for grandeur with dirigist, and therefore stagnant, economies. Syria destroyed Lebanon with help from Iran.
The rulers of the Gulf States devoted themselves to falconry, coursing, and hedonism, presiding over more open economies largely operated by guest workers.
The road to Progress seems everywhere to lead through the Palace of Consumerist Pleasure. Militarist statism does not make you rich, happy, or wise.
14 Nov 2007
Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball report in Newsweek:
A former FBI agent who pleaded guilty Tuesday to fraudulently obtaining U.S. citizenship and then improperly accessing sensitive computer information about Hizbollah was working until about a year ago as a CIA spy assigned to Middle East operations, Newsweek has learned.
The stunning case of Nada Nadim Prouty, a 37-year-old Lebanese native who is related to a suspected Hizbollah money launderer, appears to raise a nightmarish question for U.S. intelligence agencies: Could one of the world’s most notorious terrorist groups have infiltrated the U.S. government?
“I’m beginning to think it’s possible that Hizbollah put a mole in our government,” said Richard Clarke, the former White House counter-terrorism chief under Presidents Clinton and, until 2002, Bush. “It’s mind-blowing.”
A U.S. official familiar with the case said Tuesday that the government’s investigation has uncovered no evidence so far that Prouty, who was employed by the CIA until last week, had compromised any undercover operations or passed along sensitive intelligence information to Hizbollah operatives. After joining the CIA in June 2003, Prouty was an undercover officer for the agency’s National Clandestine Service, the espionage division, working on Middle East-related cases. She was reassigned to a less sensitive position about a year ago, after she first came under suspicion, officials said.
Read the whole thing. It does not sound good at all.
11 Feb 2007
Six US helicopters have been shot down in Iraq during the last three weeks causing some of us to wonder what is producing this recent string of successes for our adversaries.
The not-necessarily-reliable Mossad-mouthpiece Depkafile claims to know the answer.
DEBKAfile’s sources in Tehran and Kurdistan disclose that, last month, two Iranian QW-1 and SA-7 missile consignments reached Iraqi insurgents allied with al Qaeda and one, radical Shiite Moqtada Sadr’s Shiite militia, the Mehdi Army. Israeli sources report the same anti-air weapons were delivered at about the same time to Hizballah units in Lebanon including the south.
Our military sources add that Iran’s arms industry has succeeded in replicating a quality version of the Chinese QW-1 and improved its electronics. It is 1.447meters long and packs 16.5 kilos of explosives. The IDF estimates that the first of these missiles used experimentally by Hizballah caused an Israeli helicopter to explode during take-off near the Litani River in the Lebanon War last summer.
Iranian markings have been erased from the equipment going into Iraq and Lebanon to suggest they were bought on the black market. Dated Soviet-era models of the SA-7 were indeed bought by Iran on Far East black markets and supplied to Iraqi insurgents and also pro-Tehran governors in western Afghanistan. Iran is preparing the ground for a Shiite insurgency against NATO forces there.
According to our sources, all three consignments to Iraq went through the North Iraqi Kurdistani town of Suleimaniya not far from the Iranian border. An Iranian clandestine center operates there like “the liaison center” the Americans raided in another Kurdish town, Irbil, last month. The Suleimaniya center operates with permission from Iraqi’s Kurdish president Jalal Talabani.
They weapons were smuggled in concealed compartments of trucks transporting building materials and iron from Iran for a Kurdish building company. After unloading their legitimate freight, the trucks drove on south up to the regional border where Iraqi insurgents off-loaded the missiles to their vehicles and distributed them to their networks in Baqouba, Ramadi and Tikrit — north of Baghdad and Hilla to the south.
In January, two-man teams of Iraqi insurgents and Hizballah operatives were trained in the use of the new weapons against American and Israeli helicopters as instructors for missile crews in Iraq and Lebanon. One crewman was taught to locate the target and help the second to aim. The training facilities were set up in Kermanshah and Qasr-e Shirin close to the Iraqi border.
Tehran is stepping up its provocations in reprisal for the US president George W. Bush’s directive to US forces to capture or kill Iranian agents, America’s refusal to release the Revolutionary Guards officers captured in Irbil and finally by the seizure last week of an Iranian diplomat in Baghdad.
Depkafile could be tellling the truth.
25 Aug 2006
DEBKAfile reports that American experts are currently in Israel looking at the Israeli EW experience during the fighting with Hezbollah.
The American EW experts are interested in four areas. 1. The Israeli EW systems’ failure to block Hizballah’s command and communications and the links between the Lebanese command and the Syria-based Iranian headquarters. 2. How Iranian technicians helped Hizballah eavesdrop on Israel’s communications networks and mobile telephones, including Israeli soldiers’ conversations from inside Lebanon. 3. How Iranian EW installed in Lebanese army coastal radar stations blocked the Barak anti-missile missiles aboard Israeli warships, allowing Hizballah to hit the Israeli corvette Hanith. 4. Why Israeli EW was unable to jam the military systems at the Iranian embassy in Beirut, which hosted the underground war room out of which Hassan Nasrallah and his top commanders, including Imad Mughniyeh, functioned.
Until the watershed date of July 12, 2006, when the Hizballah triggered the Lebanon War, Israel was accounted an important world power in the development of electronic warfare systems — so much so that a symbiotic relationship evolved for the research and development of many US and Israeli electronic warfare systems, in which a mix of complementary American and Israeli devices and methods were invested.
In combat against Hizballah, both were not only found wanting, but had been actively neutralized, so that none performed the functions for which they were designed. This poses both the US and Israel with a serious problem in a further round of the Lebanon war and any military clash with Iran.
DEBKAfile’s military sources add: Both intelligence services underestimated the tremendous effort Iran invested in state of the art electronic warfare gadgetry designed to disable American military operations in Iraq and IDF functions in Israel and Lebanon. Israel’s electronic warfare units were taken by surprise by the sophisticated protective mechanisms attached to Hizballah’s communications networks, which were discovered to be connected by optical fibers which are not susceptible to electronic jamming.
American and Israeli experts realize now that they overlooked the key feature of the naval exercise Iran staged in the Persian Gulf last April: Iran’s leap ahead in electronic warfare. They dismissed most the weapons systems as old-fashioned. But among them were the C-802 cruise missile and several electronic warfare systems, both of which turned up in the Lebanon war with deadly effect.
12 Aug 2006
It appears to have been Charles Johnson who came across in a discussion on Lightstalkers.org, a photography forum, of the testimony of a first-hand witness of an exceptionally revolting form of photo fraud.
–spellings as found–
i have been working in lebanon since all this started, and seeing the behavior of many of the lebanese wire service photographers has been a bit unsettling. while hajj has garnered a lot of attention for his doctoring of images digitally, whether guilty or not, i have been witness to the daily practice of directed shots, one case where a group of wire photogs were coreographing the unearthing of bodies, directing emergency workers here and there, asking them to position bodies just so, even remove bodies that have already been put in graves so that they can photograph them in peoples arms. these photographers have come away with powerful shots, that required no manipulation digitally, but instead, manipulation on a human level, and this itself is a bigger ethical problem.
by Bryan Denton Fri Aug 11 07:36:08 UTC 2006 | Beirut, Lebanon
11 Aug 2006
Matthew Sheffield has compiled a nice collection of links to exposés of faked photojournalism from Lebanon.
Be sure to catch the German television news magazine Zapp’s video of Green Helmet guy acting as director.
09 Aug 2006
Thane Rosenbaum, in the Wall Street Journal, begins coming to his senses.
Many Jews are in my position — the children and grandchildren of labor leaders, socialists, pacifists, humanitarians, antiwar protestors — instinctively leaning left, rejecting war, unwilling to demonize, and insisting that violence only breeds more violence. Most of all we share the profound belief that killing, humiliation and the infliction of unnecessary pain are not Jewish attributes.
However, the world as we know it today — post-Holocaust, post-9/11, post-sanity — is not cooperating. Given the realities of the new Middle East, perhaps it is time for a reality check. For this reason, many Jewish liberals are surrendering to the mindset that there are no solutions other than to allow Israel to defend itself — with whatever means necessary. Unfortunately, the inevitability of Israel coincides with the inevitability of anti-Semitism.
This is what more politically conservative Jews and hardcore Zionists maintained from the outset. And it was this nightmare that the Jewish left always refused to imagine. So we lay awake at night, afraid to sleep. Surely the Arabs were tired, too. Surely they would want to improve their societies and educate their children rather than strap bombs on to them.
If the Palestinians didn’t want that for themselves, if building a nation was not their priority, then peace in exchange for territories was nothing but a pipe dream. It was all wish-fulfillment, morally and practically necessary, yet ultimately motivated by a weary Israeli society — the harsh reality of Arab animus, the spiritual toll that the occupation had taken on a Jewish state battered by negative world opinion.
The Jewish left is now in shambles. Peace Now advocates have lost their momentum, and, in some sense, their moral clarity. Opinion polls in Israel are showing near unanimous support for stronger incursions into Lebanon. And until kidnapped soldiers are returned and acts of terror curtailed, any further conversations about the future of the West Bank have been set aside.
Not unlike the deep divisions between the values of red- and blue-state America, world Jewry is being forced to reconsider all of its underlying assumptions about peace in the Middle East. The recent disastrous events in Lebanon and Gaza have inadvertently created a newly united Jewish consciousness — bringing right and left together into one deeply cynical red state.
08 Aug 2006
Brave insurgent defending burning Lebanon against Israeli warplanes.
But, oops! he’s really posing in front of burning garbage at the local dump.
Thomas S., an Allahpundit reader catches US News falling for a faked photo.
Michelle Malkin covers this one, and another new one which appears to incorporate an underwear model as victim.
And be sure not to miss Michelle’s latest video on the Reuters photos: Picture Kill. It offers another excellent Malkin-special summary.
08 Aug 2006
In a related inside look at the Chinese strategic viewpoint, Confidential Reporter posted on Sunday:
China Confidential has learned that Beijing remains confident that Hezbollah will prevail–politically, if not militarily–in the current conflict, strengthening Iran’s regional influence and prestige. People’s Liberation Army analysts contend that Hezbollah cannot be truly defeated and disarmed without World War II-style flattening of the 20 or more Lebanese villages in which Hezbollah hides and houses its Iranian-supplied missiles. An aerial bombardment of this magnitude would almost certainly result in massive civilian casualties–which increasingly isolated Israel can’t afford.
Therefore, PLA strategists are said to argue, Israel is restrained by sensitivity to world opinion from militarily crushing its enemy.
The analysis conforms with PLA theories of “unrestricted warfare,” including terrorism, information war, and “lawfare,” which in principle make it possible for smaller, technologically disadvantaged forces to fight–and defeat–great powers.
There is obviously a great deal of validity to the Chinese analysis.