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Key Stories on Lebanon & Syria 16 August 2006

Assembled from a variety of sources, including URUK Net, VTJP and Information 
Clearing House

Thursday, August 17, 2006 9:39 AM

<>Electronic Lebanon | 
Newslinks 17/8/06


(update 16.08.06)



(Update: 15.08.06)

<,,-6020569,00.html>Israel Begins 
Giving Positions to U.N.

The Guardian 8/17/2006

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - The Israeli army began handing over positions to the U. 
N. early Thursday, stepping up its withdrawal from southern Lebanon. Hours later
Lebanon's army moved south and began deploying below the Litani River, a senior 
military official said. The rapid developments aimed at ending 34 days of 
fighting came after Lebanon's government agreed to deploy troops near Israel's 
border for the first time in 40 years. A senior official in the Lebanese army 
told The Associated Press around dawn Thursday that Lebanese troops, backed by 
tanks and other armored vehicles, had begun arriving south of the river in line 
with the U. N. cease-fire plan. The official spoke on condition of anonymity 
because he wasn't authorized to discuss troop movements.

<,,1851824,00.html>Emergency meeting to 
decide on force

The Guardian 8/17/2006

The UN is to hold an emergency meeting today of 45 countries that have offered 
troops for a 13,000-strong Lebanon peacekeeping mission, to confirm 
contributions and speed up deployment. Amid confusion over deployment, the 
Israeli army is threatening to stall the withdrawal of its forces from southern 
Lebanon until the UN force is in place. Dan Halutz, Israel's chief of staff, 
said yesterday his troops would stop withdrawing unless the Lebanese army began 
to deploy within days, and his troops could remain in southern Lebanon until a 
multinational force was deployed. He said on Tuesday, as Israeli troops began to
withdraw, that they could be out in 10 days. There have been conflicting 
opinions among potential contributors about the speed of the UN deployment, 
ranging from days to months.

<>Deal: Hezbollah 
will bear arms, but not in public

Ha'aretz 8/17/2006

Hezbollah will retain its weapons in southern Lebanon but its members will not 
bear them in public, according to an agreement reached yesterday after days of 
talks between Hezbollah representatives and the Lebanese government. By the end 
of the week, Israel, which has already considerably reduced its forces in south 
Lebanon, plans to remove the last of its reserve battalions. Contrary to 
reports, the IDF is conducting few sweeps of villages in the area where it took 
control in south Lebanon. Following the Lebanese government's acceptance of its 
army's plans for deployment in the south, the Lebanese army will take up 
positions south of the Litani River after midnight tonight. The Al Jazeera 
network yesterday reported Hezbollah's refusal to accept any  proposal involving
a handover of its weapons to the Lebanese army...

postpones mass burial as army fixes bridges

The Daily Star  8/17/2006

Lebanese hospital workers struggled to deal with an overflowing morgue as more 
bodies were found in the ruins of buildings and other corpses remained 
unclaimed. UN peacekeepers in Lebanon, meanwhile, said they had recorded three 
breaches of the cease-fire over the past 24 hours which left four Hizbullah 
fighters dead. Meanwhile, Lebanese troops worked to rebuild roads and bridges in
the first serious moves to deploy in the South. In the coastal city of Tyre, a 
temporary mass grave was dug in the city for more than 100 civilians, but burial
was postponed so relatives had more time to claim bodies. In the Southern 
village of Srifa, rescue workers pulled 32 bodies from the rubble in the past 
two days, Mayor Afif Najdeh told The Associated Press on  Wednesday.

Residents Return to 'Armageddon'

An Nahar 8/16/2006

Abbas Saadik feared the worst as he headed back to his home in the tiny hilltop 
town of Khiam in southern Lebanon but nothing had prepared him  for the 
devastation he found. "We were expecting damage, but this is  Armageddon. 
There's no other word to describe it," said the young engineer, dumbfounded 
after discovering his family home, windows smashed and walls pocked with holes. 
Yet, compared with some of the town's other residents, he can consider himself 
one of the lucky ones. His neighbor, Nadia Abu Ghaida, 33, has just discovered 
that in her  absence the top floor of her home has disappeared. "I lost one 
floor. I  don't need the staircase anymore," she added.... "It's insane. It 
don't think the Israeli people realize the crimes committed by their  
government... "

<>Frantic search for 

By Thalif Deen, Asia  Times 8/17/2006

NEW YORK - The United Nations is on a global hunt for troops, military equipment
and logistical support to revamp its existing peacekeeping force in Lebanon, 
which has been mandated to monitor the week's  ceasefire between Israel and 
Hezbollah. "We have no formal offers yet," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said 
on Tuesday. "We would like to have  firm commitments of troops as soon as 
possible. "Asked if Secretary General Kofi Annan was concerned that no country 
had so far offered troops following the UN's ceasefire resolution last Friday, 
Dujarric  said: "We do expect a more formal meeting [of troop contributing 
nations] on Thursday, at which point, hopefully, we will get those  offers [of 
troops]. " Annan told Israeli television it would take weeks  or months to 
deploy peacekeepers.

approves troop deployment in South today

The Daily Star  8/17/2006

BEIRUT: Lebanon's Premier Fouad Siniora vowed Wednesday that the army  
deployment in the South would end a "mentality of statelets" and make state 
forces the only armed presence in Lebanon, helping protect the country from 
regional conflicts. In a televised speech, Siniora addressed the Lebanese, 
calling on them to rally behind the government  and the army as the sole forces 
in Lebanon.... "You stood together in the face of Israel's murder, so now is not
the time to divide. It is the time to rise to the challenges ahead and to big 
decisions,  together," he said. "There will be a single state... with the sole  
decision-making power, there will be no dual authority," he said... "There will 
be no more mentality of statelets, factional programs.... No one inside this 
country or out has the right to take the people and  the nation to wherever he 
chooses. "

begins pullout from Lebanon

AlJazeera 8/17/2006

Israel will complete withdrawal only after the UN troops arrive -- The Israeli 
military has begun its withdrawal from southern Lebanon,  handing over positions
there to a UN force for the first time. "The  process of transferring authority 
has begun," an army statement said on Thursday. It said that an agreement had 
been reached after a three-way meeting between Israeli and Lebanese officers and
a representative of the Unifil - the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. 
More than 50 per cent of the area Israel holds has been transferred already, the
army said. One area extends north and east of the town of Marjayoun and another 
further west. Under a UN ceasefire agreement that has been in effect since 
Monday morning, Israel was to transfer control of its positions.. to Unifil, 
which would then turn it over to the Lebanese  army.

<>Nasrallah is 
likely to deliver his victory speech in public  in a southern suburb of Beirut

Ma'an News 8/16/2006

Beirut -- Sources close to the secretary general of Hezbollah, Sheikh Hassan 
Nasrallah, have said that he will appear in front of Lebanese residents of 
southern Beirut, where he will pay a visit and meet with people. The source 
reported that Nasrallah is supposed to visit Bint Jbail and deliver a speech to 
thousands of Lebanese citizens and  Hezbollah supporters. That will be the 
"victory celebration". In addition, Nasrallah in his first public appearance 
since war broke out, will meet with the Lebanese president, Emil Lahhud and a 
number of Lebanese leaders, including Nabih Berri. The same source affirmed that
Sheikh Nasrallah insisted on meeting the Lebanese people in public to deliver 
the victory speech as he had done in Bint Jbail in 2000, paying  no attention to
"the Zionist threats. [end]

countries lead way as composition of expanded UNIFIL  starts to take shape

The Daily Star  8/16/2006

Turkey, Italy and Germany were engaged in talks with regional leaders on the 
make-up of a UN peacekeeping force in Southern Lebanon on Tuesday, while Iran 
sent its foreign minister to Arab countries to  discuss the crisis. A day after 
Hizbullah declared "victory" in its  monthlong fight with Israel, the EU said 
the group must "choose between  being a responsible force in Lebanese politics 
or a beachhead for Iran. " During a joint news conference with his Egyptian 
counterpart, Italian  Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema said Italy may dispatch 
"up to one  brigade, or almost 3,000 men. " After giving the first specific 
number for the country's contribution to the planned reinforcement of the UNIFIL
force, D'Alema said that he was unsure whether it would be  necessary to send so
many troops.

Supporters ask Nasrallah to stick to detainee  position

Ma'an News 8/16/2006

Gaza -- The Prisoner's Support Society has, on Wednesday, asked the secretary 
general of Hezbollah to stick to his position about the release of Arab and 
Palestinian prisoners. In a statement that reached Ma'an, the organization 
called on all the national formal Arab institutions to support that position and
protect the prisoners' right to freedom. Nasrallah has stressed the importance 
of a united  Palestinian ­ Lebanese stance, which will support the resistance 
efforts to free all prisoners from Israeli jails. The great experiment of the 
Lebanese resistance, according to the Prisoners' Supporters, was a victory for 
the Palestinian resistance; enough to assure freedom for  the Palestinian and 
the Lebanese prisoners. [end]

members spar over proposed weapons compromise

The Daily Star  8/16/2006

BEIRUT: A compromise agreement currently being hammered out between Hizbullah 
and the Lebanese government is expected to allow the party to keep hidden 
weapons in South Lebanon, the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported Tuesday. 
While Hizbullah would need to keep the weapons it possesses south of the Litani 
River hidden, an agreement for  areas north of the river would be "left to a 
long-term solution," the paper said. If the proposed compromise is accepted by 
Premier Fouad Siniora's Cabinet, it would violate the terms of UN Security 
Council  Resolution 1701. And it is also a violation of the "one weapon" 
principle of Siniora's seven-point plan... the session scheduled for Sunday was 
indefinitely postponed amid reports that Hizbullah ministers would try to pass 
the hidden-weapons compromise despite strong  opposition from some ministers of 
the March 14 Forces.

to meet families of captives

Jerusalem Post  8/16/2006

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan accepted a request from Foreign Minister Tzipi 
Livni on Wednesday to meet with the families of kidnapped soldiers Ehud 
Goldwasser, Eldad Regev and Gilad Shalit and send representatives to try to 
bring about the soldiers' release. Livni came to New York for a 12-hour 
lightening visit in hopes of advancing Israel's interests in talks on 
implementing the cease-fire in Lebanon, expediting the deployment of 
international forces and bringing about  the return of the kidnapped Israeli 
soldiers. "The fact that the kidnapped soldiers have not been released by 
Hizbullah is a clear violation of UN Resolution 1701 and I expect the 
international  community to continue acting to bring about their immediate 
release," Livni told Annan.

<,7340,L-3292238,00.html>Livni in UN: 
Agreement already violated

YNet News 8/16/2006

In meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, foreign minister says fact 
kidnapped soldiers were not released constitutes violation of Resolution 1701; 
Annan promises abducted troops' issue is one of his top priorities, says first 
force of 3,500 troops to be sent to Lebanon  within week -- WASHINGTON ­ Foreign
Minister Tzipi Livni, who met with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York 
on Wednesday evening, said that the fact the abducted Israel Defense Forces 
soldiers have not been released constitutes a violation of Security Council 
Resolution 1701. She added that she expects the international community to work 
for the troops' immediate release. Annan responded positively to Livni's 
proposal that he meet with the families of kidnapped soldiers Ehud  Goldwasser 
and Eldad Regev.

<,,1851501,00.html>Israeli troops 'could
be in southern Lebanon for months'

The Guardian  8/16/2006

Israel's military chief today said it could be months before Israeli troops left
southern Lebanon if an international force did not arrive to take their place 
soon. Dan Halutz, the armed forces chief of staff, said the Israel Defence Force
would stay in occupied areas until the 15,000-strong Unifil peacekeeping force 
could come in to prevent  Hizbullah guerrillas from taking control. "The 
deployment of Unifil  troops in south Lebanon is likely to take several months,"
he told a  parliamentary committee. "It is not clear exactly how many. Until 
then,  IDF forces will be forced to stay in the field. "He warned that the 
withdrawal would stop altogether is the Lebanese army was not deployed  to 
control the border region within days.

<>Lebanese Army Considered  
Ineffective Amid Deployment Setbacks

International Middle  East Media Center 8/16/2006

While a continued ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah is reliant on the quick
deployment of a peacekeeping force and the withdrawal of Israeli soldiers, the 
Lebanese army has neither the manpower nor the military resources to manage 
Hezbollah, disarm it or defend itself from possible future Israeli attacks. With
this current dilemma and Israel  Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz¹s 
statement Wednesday that Israeli forces may have to remain in Lebanon until 
Lebanese soldiers  arrive and Hezbollah¹s refusal to disarm, the already tenuous
ceasefire could break any moment. The deployment of an international 
peacekeeping  force depends on Hezbollah¹s disarmament, which is considered the
responsibility of the Lebanese government.

<,,1851746,00.html>After 34 days of war,
Hizbullah turns its attention to  rebuilding southern Lebanon

The Guardian  8/17/2006

15,000 families promised year's rent and furniture · Iran to fund estimated 
$150m reconstruction -- For 34 days they doggedly fought off the mighty Israeli 
army. But as a three-day-old ceasefire gathers traction, Hizbullah's hardened 
fighters are swapping their missile launchers for spades, brooms and briefcases 
of cash. As refugees flood back to their war-ravaged villages, Hizbullah has 
flung itself to the front of the burgeoning reconstruction effort in southern 
Lebanon,  funded with a deluge of petro-dollars from neighbouring Iran. "We want
to bring south Lebanon back to life and rebuild it better than it was  before 
the war," said Nabil Kaouk, Hizbullah's top official in southern Lebanon, 
standing before the group's flattened headquarters building in  Tyre. In nearby 
villages, his supporters were already hard at work.

heart of Beirut is barely beating

The Daily Star  8/17/2006

By Nour Samaha -- Empty streets, darkened restaurants and a lone window cleaner 
shuffling his mop and bucket. This is Downtown Beirut. It once used to be the 
busy hub of Lebanon's capital, the summer playground for both Arabs and 
Europeans alike. Now, it resembles the ghost-town scene  of an old Western film.
"There are a couple of restaurants open, but  all the shops are staying shut," 
said George, who works in the music  store Number One. "This is all because of 
the war, and tourists are not  going to come anymore while we still have 
problems with Israel. "Others are more optimistic. Jihan, the manager of the 
restaurant/cafe Mi-Chaud, said they were opening because it was now business as 
usual in Beirut, and while they may not have many customers, they do expect  to 
start pulling them in soon.

Lebanese Register for Hizbullah Compensation

An Nahar 8/16/2006

Hundreds of people went from one room to another at a makeshift registration 
center in a high school Wednesday, reporting damage to their homes from Israeli 
bombing to Hizbullah agents with pen and notebooks. The officials promised to 
help them rebuild. Tens of thousands of people have returned to their shattered 
villages in eastern and southern Lebanon as well as Beirut's southern suburbs, 
or Dahiyeh, to find their homes either damaged or totally destroyed in a month 
of fighting between Israel and Hizbullah. Hours after a cease-fire went into 
effect Monday, Hizbullah leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, appeared on television
and promised to help Lebanese  rebuild, pledging money for civilians to pay rent
and buy furniture.

Lebanese Businessmen and Politicians Vow to  Rebuild the Country's Destroyed 

An Nahar 8/16/2006

Lebanese businessmen and private companies pledged Wednesday to rebuild 12 of 
the 80 bridges destroyed by Israeli bombardment during the month-long conflict. 
Legislator Bahia Hariri, sister of slain billionaire former Premier Rafik 
Hariri, said her family has committed to rebuilding five bridges in south 
Lebanon, including bridges linking the banks of the Awali River, north of Sidon,
and Zahrani, south of the city. The Hariri group's Geneco company will begin 
work very soon, she said. Parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri will finance
the reconstruction of 4 bridges in the south, whereas his brother Bahaa will 
take charge of works on the Zahrani bridge, the Hariri-owned Future television 
said. Hariri's fortune is estimated at 16 billion  dollars, according to the 
U.S. Fortune magazine.

the war in Lebanon a blueprint for Iran?

By Jim Quilty, The  Daily Star 8/17/2006

Investigative journalist contends Us colluded in air attacks -- BEIRUT: This 
week, Seymour Hersh, one of America's most-respected investigative journalists, 
published a piece in The New Yorker asserting that the higher echelons of the 
White House and Pentagon colluded with the Israeli military in formulating a 
plan to attack Lebanon - well in advance of Hizbullah's 12 July kidnap of two 
Israeli soldiers. Vice President Dick Cheney supported Israeli plans to attack 
Lebanon, Hersh contends, after Israel's military command encouraged him to view 
it both as a blueprint for a massive US air attack upon Iran and a pre-emptive 
strike against Hizbullah's capacity to respond to such an attack... The major 
ramifications of Hersh's claims apply to America and Iran. Clearly, though, his 
assertions will have an impact in  Lebanon as well... -- See also: 
<>Watching  Lebanon: 
Washington¹s interests in Israel¹s war and 
<>The  Iran Plans

stream back to South - with army to follow

The Daily Star  8/16/2006

Plans to deploy troops in South Lebanon gathered pace on Tuesday as a fragile 
cease-fire held and thousands of displaced Lebanese civilians jammed bombed-out 
roads in the hope of returning home. The Lebanese Army will begin its deployment
south of the Litani River on Thursday in line with a UN-brokered truce that 
halted fighting between Israel and Hizbullah, a senior political source said on 
Tuesday. The source said the 15,000-strong force had started to assemble at 
various army bases. The arrival of Lebanese and UN troops in the war-battered 
South is seen as a key step toward easing fears that the truce that took effect 
Monday could unravel at any time and trigger renewed battles. ... the Israeli 
Army said it killed at least three Hizbullah fighters and that a dozen rockets 
targeted Israeli positions in the region but that  soldiers did not return fire.

task of searching the rubble begins

The Daily Star  8/16/2006

BEIRUT: The Lebanese Civil Defense pulled over 10 bodies from the rubble in the 
Dahiyeh Tuesday as witnesses claimed they still heard screams from under the 
demolished buildings. The Lebanese Red Cross confirmed that another 61 bodies 
had been found in the South and 18  people had been injured in rubble-related 
accident. "I'm looking for my  friend," said 15-year old Ali Serhan, scrunching 
his nose because of the putrid smell of dust, rubbish and rotting bodies, as he 
stood outside Mojamaa al-Hassan, a compound of eight buildings where his  friend
used to live. "I haven't seen him since the start of the war. Before, we used to
sit and play games right here and go to the barber  shop so we could look nice. 
"So far, all Serhan had found was a soccer  ball and a Koran.

volunteers decided to continue relief efforts for at  least another week

The Daily Star  8/17/2006

Even though a UN-brokered cease-fire came into force on August 14, thus allowing
many displaced families to return to their homes, the AUB Volunteer Relief team 
has decided to go on with its effort for the next week or two. The AUB team, 
which consists of both a public health and a medical arm, was set up in the 
second week of the war, in response to rising humanitarian need. The team sought
to provide displaced families  with basic health and hygiene needs. "We've 
decided to keep on visiting  the displaced centers for another week or so," said
Dr. Iman Nuwayhid,  who is leading the public health arm of the AUB volunteer 
team. "We  don't want anyone to fall through the cracks. "

<,7340,L-3292234,00.html>IDF commander: Olmert
ordered us to stop

YNet News 8/16/2006

Ynet correspondent joins paratroopers for 48 hours on Lebanese soil, provides an
account of operation that was stopped after Hizbullah hit chopper; did 
hesitation and panic led to loss of momentum? Could it be done differently? -- 
Last Saturday at dusk, the huge transport helicopters began landing at a field 
somewhere in northern Israel. The dozens of Blackhawk choppers were organized in
one row, their engines working, clouds of dust rising from the ground and 
painted red by the setting sun's rays. The nearby area where troops were 
gathered looked like a central bus station. Hundreds of regular and reserve 
paratroopers applied black, brown, and green camouflage face paint on  each 
other, while sharing macabre jokes and exchanging friendly slaps.

general arrested for drinking tea with IDF

Jerusalem Post  8/16/2006

A Lebanese general was ordered arrested Wednesday for appearing in a videotape 
drinking tea with IDF soldiers who had occupied his south Lebanon barracks 
during their incursion of the country. Adnan Daoud was summoned and ordered held
for questioning, Interior Minister Ahmed Fatfat said in a statement. Daoud is 
commanding officer of the 1,000-strong joint police-army force that had 
positions in southern Lebanon and was based in Marjayoun. IDF troops seized the 
barracks there last week and held him and 350 soldiers for a day before allowing
them to leave the occupied zone. The Lebanese garrison, which is lightly armed, 
did not resist the Israeli force which moved in armor  into the base.

Bishops call for single national leadership

The Daily Star  8/17/2006

BEIRUT: Criticizing what it called a divided national decision-making  process, 
the Council of Maronite Bishops said Wednesday that "it is  impossible to 
continue like this. " "Decisions have to be taken by one leader, one leader 
represented by the government who has won the confidence of Parliament and is 
elected by the people, otherwise the  country is doomed to suffer catastrophes,"
said Monsignor Youssef Tawq, spokesman for Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros 
Sfeir. In a statement released following an extraordinary meeting chaired by 
Sfeir in Bkirki, the council said the cease-fire in the Israeli-Lebanese 
conflict - which has destroyed much of Lebanon's infrastructure as well as 
devastated thousands of homes and displaced hundreds of thousands of  citizens -
has been welcomed by the Lebanese.

<,7340,L-3292282,00.html>Iranian leader: 
Hizbullah resistance a victory for Islam

YNet News 8/17/2006

In message to Hizbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei 
says 'you have ridiculed myth that Zionist army is invincible' -- Iran's supreme
leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a message to Hizbullah leader Sheik Hassan 
Nasrallah , described the group's  resistance against Israel 's military 
onslaught a "victory" for Islam. "Your unprecedented holy war and steadfastness 
are beyond the limits of  my description. It's a divine victory. It is a victory
of Islam," Khamenei said in the message read by an announcer on Hizbullah's 
al-Manar television. Hizbullah is heavily financed and backed by Iran's  Shiite 
Muslim theocracy. "... With God's help you were able to prove that military 
superiority is not (measured) in the number (of  soldiers), planes, warships and
tanks... "

<,7340,L-3292216,00.html>Peres: Abducted 
troops alive

YNet News 8/16/2006

Vice premier: According to various sources, two kidnapped IDF soldiers  in good 
condition -- WASHINGTON ­ Vice Premier Shimon Peres, who is currently in 
Washington to meet with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, told journalists
that as far as he knows the two soldiers kidnapped by Hizbullah, Ehud Goldwasser
and Gilad Regev, are still alive. Peres said that as far as he knew, the 
abductees are alive and well and added that he is basing his assessment on 
several sources. Speakingto correspondents at the US capital, Peres said the 
responsibility for the soldiers' well being and their unconditional release lies
with the government of Lebanon, in accordance with UN  Security Council 
Resolution 1701.

names their new-born Nasrallah in honor of Lebanese  resistance movement 
Hezbollah leader

Palestine News  Network 8/16/2006

A northern West Bank Qalqilia family named their first born Nasrallah this 
morning. The baby is named in honor of the Lebanese resistance movement 
Hezbollah Secretary General, Hassan Nasrallah. He has taken on legendary status 
as of late for refusing to back down from fighting back, both physically and in 
speech, against the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon and the major attacks
that began on 12 July. The  baby¹s father told PNN Wednesday, ³My wife saw the 
birth of our son in  a dream and in that dream his name was Nasrallah. ²His 
parents are aware that baby Nasrallah may face additional problems in the future
with Israeli soldiers for carrying the name of targeted man. However  the father
said, ³This will not stop us. There are so many children with names in honor of 
Yasser Arafat, Saddam Hussein, Ahmed Yassin,  Abdel Azziz Rantisi... "

Peretz popularity plummets

Jerusalem Post  8/16/2006

The approval ratings of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir 
Peretz have fallen to their lowest depths since they took office 100 days ago 
this week, according to polls published in three Hebrew dailies on Wednesday. 
Olmert and Peretz's popularity rose during the  month-long war in Lebanon, 
primarily due to what is called the "rally  around the flag effect. " But that 
support proved temporary as their numbers fell lower than they were before the 
war began. A Smith Research poll published in the business daily Globes found 
that 62 percent felt that Olmert did not handle the war properly and only 34% 
said he handled it well, compared to 73% who praised his performance a week ago.
A Dahaf Institute poll in Yediot Aharonot found 47% approved  of Olmert's 
performance and 51% disapproved.

<,,1851810,00.html>Anger at ceasefire 
sparks inquiry

The Guardian  8/17/2006

The Israeli defence minister, Amir Peretz, yesterday appointed a former army 
chief to head an inquiry into Israel's conduct of the 34-day fight against 
Hizbullah in Lebanon. The inquiry followed opinion polls that showed many 
Israelis deeply unhappy with the government's handling of the conflict. A 
majority - 57%, according to the mass-circulation daily Yedioth Aronoth - want 
Mr Peretz to resign. Some 41% believe the prime minister, Ehud Olmert, should 
quit. The committee, made up of business executives and retired generals, would 
also look into the army's preparedness ahead of the fighting, officials said. It
is expected to report within three weeks. But the move fell short of meeting 
growing demands for a commission to probe the government's and the military's  
conduct during the conflict.

<>Defense Minister: 
IDF didn't warn me of missile threat in the  north

Ha'aretz 8/17/2006

When Defense Minister Amir Peretz took office four months ago, Hezbollah and the
missile threat were at the bottom of the priority list senior IDF officers 
presented him, Peretz says. In private conversations over the past few days, 
Peretz said officers did not tell him there was a strategic threat to Israel, 
and did not present him  with all relevant information about the missile threat.
"Conclusions should not be drawn regarding individuals while the battle is still
being fought," Peretz said in these conversations, leading listeners to believe 
he is waiting for Chief of Staff Dan Halutz to resign. Halutz has admitted to 
selling his stock portfolio hours after Hezbollah  kidnapped two Israeli 
soldiers, triggering the month-long war.

<,7340,L-3292254,00.html>Peretz's commission 
of inquiry slammed

YNet News 8/16/2006

'Failure to claim responsibility' -- Politicians attack defense minister's 
decision to appoint former IDF chief of staff as head of investigation committee
into war in Lebanon, after he consulted with him regarding strategic and 
military moves -- Shortly after the publication that former IDF Chief of Staff 
Amnon Lipkin-Shahak will chair a commission of inquiry into the army's conduct 
before and during the war against Hizbullah , political sources began 
criticizing the move. Since Defense Minister Amir Peretz often consulted with 
Shahak during the fighting, many critics of the committee said it was 
inappropriate to appoint Shahak to the head of a committee to  investigate the 
Israel Defense Forces' management of the war.

demand urgent clean-up of oil spill

The Daily Star  8/16/2006

BEIRUT: Since the Israeli bombardment started a month ago, Mustafa Asmar, a 
43-year-old fisherman, has not been out to sea. Although the cease-fire went 
into effect on Monday, Asmar is still out of work because more than 300 tons of 
heavy fuel oil pollutes the small Delieh  port where he docks his boats with 
other fishermen. "I hope the oil  will be cleaned as soon as possible so I can 
go back to the sea," Asmar said, adding that during the war it was too dangerous
to work because of the sea blockade. Activists and volunteers from Green Line, 
an environmental NGO, said Tuesday that they would start clean-up  operations on
the Ramlet al-Baida beach on Thursday. "It is imperative  that clean-up 
operations start immediately," said Wael Hmaidan, a Green  Line member, during a
press conference in Delieh.

<>Amid  the bombs, unity 
is forged

By Herbert Docena,  Asia Times 8/17/2006

BEIRUT - Hussein Choumer hangs around one corner in the district of Haret Hreik 
in the southern suburbs of Beirut. Around him are mountains of rubble, the 
remains of over 100 mostly 10-storey residential buildings flattened by Israeli 
missiles now turned monuments of destruction. Books, towels, washing machines, 
and mattresses are strewn on the streets, covered with a thick film of powdered 
concrete and ash. The last page in a calendar shows the day it all started: July
12; the hands of the clock in one shop is stuck at 12:25. The air is redolent  
with the strange mix of filth and gunpowder.

Hussein, his  wife, and three children used to live here. His house is gone. And
yet, "I consider my loss as nothing," Hussein says. "What matters is that our 
brothers are in southern Lebanon fighting. And as they fight,  they're giving me
back my home." Two hours later, a volley of Israeli  bunker-buster bombs once 
again hit the neighborhood.

Sixty of the thousands of families who lost their homes in these suburbs have 
camped out in a school in central Beirut. Outside, a large picture of 
Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah hangs at the center of a clothesline over 
the narrow street. The atmosphere inside is anything but despondent. Over a 
hundred children are running around the small  courtyard playing. In a little 
while, they burst into a chant "We love  Nasrallah!" The adults follow. These 
families have just lost  everything. They're having the time of their lives.

With over 1,400 dead, more than 3,000 wounded, over a million displaced, and  
entire districts and villages in ruins, Lebanon marked the "cessation  of 
hostilities" on Monday with a heady mix of awe and anxiety,  lamentation and 

<,,1851814,00.html>Hizbullah  has 
achieved what Arab states only dreamed of

By David Hirst, The  Guardian 8/17/2006

The sixth Arab-Israeli war, as some have called it, has ended in the first  real
setback for Israel's deterrent power

There was nothing new about the broad objective behind Israel's war on Lebanon: 
through the destruction of Hizbullah it was to wreak fundamental change in a 
strategic, political and military environment that it had come to regard as 
menacing to its future. Nothing new about its methods either: the use of massive
violence not merely against its military adversary but against the civilians and
the infrastructure of the country in which it operates. Or about its official 
justification:  seizing upon one single act of "terrorist" violence from the 
other side  as the opportunity to strike at the whole "terrorist" organisation 
that was responsible for it. Or about the international support, even outright 
collaboration, it enjoyed, although in the case of the US and Britain this 
support was unprecedented in its partisan degree and in  the perception of the 
vast dimensions, nature and menace of the "enemy" against which Israel was 
waging war. For Condoleezza Rice the "root  causes" of the Lebanese crisis lay 
not on the Israeli side but in the  wider Arab and Muslim world: Hizbullah was 
but the cutting edge of "global terror", of the Islamic fanaticism that nurtured
it, and of those states, Iran and Syria, that succour these forces for their own
purposes, whether inspired by ideology or realpolitik.

Nor was there anything fundamentally unexpected about the Israeli campaign. For 
it grew out of very nature and dynamics of the Arab-Israeli conflict. For all 
the peace-seeking diplomacy it also engenders, that conflict remains what it was
from the outset, one in which violence is always the ultimate arbiter. Ever 
since the 70s, when the Arab states lost the will and ability to fight classical
wars, most of the violence has been confined to the main protagonists - Israelis
and Palestinians. Basically, Israel seeks through violence to preserve all the 
gains, at Palestinian expense, that violence secured it in the first place, or 
at least as much of them as is consistent with its view of what would constitute
a reasonable peaceful settlement. The Palestinians use violence in repeated 
attempts to wrest back enough of what they have lost, or simply to cause 
sufficient pain and alarm to make possible what, in their view, that settlement 
should entail. Most of the time violence has been low-level and attritional, but
every now and then it  escalates into something much larger.

A SCORE CARD Tony Sayegh
Israeli Objective--------------------- Score (0-10)
1) Kill Hasan Nasrallah -----------------------------------------0
2) Prevent Missile Firing On Israel, In Retaliation--------------0
3) Occupy The Area South Of The Litani---------------------------0
4) Push Hizbullah North Of The Litani----------------------------0
5) Turn The Lebanese And The Arabs Against Hizbullah-------------0
6) Destroy The Military Capability Of Hizbullah------------------0
7) Disarm Hizbullah----------------------------------------------0Š

Read the full article: 

Will Mossad Ignite a War with Syria by Killing Fouad Siniora? John Brown, Savage

Since the sham cease-fire took hold in Southern Lebanon two days ago ­ a 
ceasefire in which the UN allows Apartheid Israel to freely blockade, murder and
pillage the same Lebanese whose land it occupies while crying about Hizbullah¹s 
arms ­ the Zionist propaganda site DEBKA has written several articles suggesting
that an attempt on the life of Lebanon¹s Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora, is 
imminent. As one would predict from suc! h a propaganda outfit, DEBKA claims to 
have anonymous sources who assert that Syria will carry out the assassination. 
But in the wake of a great victory for the Resistance that has rendered ³the 
Middle East they (the Americans) aspire toŠ an illusion,² in the words of 
President Bashar Assad, such an attack makes no sense from Syria¹s perspective. 
With Lebanon¹s pro-West Prime Minister already emaciated by the failed Zionist 
invasion, Syria has nothing to gain by assassinating himŠ

Read the full article: 

Israel to Lebanese: don¹t return to your homes. Lenin¹s Tomb

Israel¹s latest leaflets: ³We warn you not to head to the southern regions 
before the deployment of the forces that are supposed to safeguard your 
security,² said leaflets dropped by Israeli aircraft in south Lebanon on 
Tuesday. Nevertheless: Despite the warning, Thousands of vehicles jammed the 
bombed-out coastal highway linking Beirut to the south from the early hours of 
Tuesday as thousands of displaced people headed home. Because what! are the 
Israelis going to do?Š

Read the full article: 

Operation ³Change of Location²?

How Reports of the July 12th Capture of IDF Soldiers Soon Shifted From Lebanon 
to Israel


A team of Israeli lawyers is now suing the Lebanese government for starting the 
war. The case, to be filed in US civil court, will sue for compensation and 
damages incurred by Israeli residents and businesses as a result of the war. 
Attorneys Yehudah Talmon, Yoram Dantziger and Nitzah Libai claim the Lebanese 
government violated international law because it didn¹t stop He! zbollah¹s casus
belli cross-border raid against Israel. Israel¹s justification for its 
Œself-defense¹ attack on Lebanon, and the placement of the original 
³provocation² will take on new legal significance in coming months. Who 
infiltrated whom, and on what territory did the initial capture of the IDF 
soldiers occur? Differing press accounts stating that the capture occurred in 
Lebanon- not Israel- are now widely known: most frequently cited are AFP, 
Hindustan Times, Deutsch Press Agency, Asia Times, Bahrain News Agency and 
Voltairenet. Others reflect changes of direction in the recording of basic 

Read the full article: 

Finally, an American news source pays attention to the victims of the Israeli 
war of aggression on Lebanon

The Angry Arab News Service

Finally, an American news source pays attention to the victims of the Israeli 
war of aggression on Lebanon: ³Israeli zoo animals show signs of stress² Š

Read the full article: 

Rules for reporting on the war Stephen Gowans

ŠStill, the deception, helped along by the frequent invoking of the red herring 
of Israel¹s right to self defense, is that Hezbollah is attacking Israel. Sure, 
Israel has a right to self defense, but what does that have to do with this war?
Nazi Germany had a right to self defense too, but that didn¹t include invading 
Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, the Soviet Union and on and on. The 
standard operating procedure, where Israel is concerned, is to turn the ! truth 
on its head. And the chief truth inverter is the Western media. Rule #1. The 
³who started it?² rule. It is always the Arabs who attack first, and always 
Israel that retaliates in self defense. The current Israeli assault on Gaza is 
attributed to the capture (called a kidnapping) of corporal Gilad Shalit, by a 
group of Palestinians who tunnelled under the border and attacked an Israeli 
watchtower. But the day before Shalit¹s capture, Israeli forces crossed into 
Gaza and captured (that¹s captured, not kidnapped) a Palestinian doctor and his 
brother. Israel has kidnapped 64 Hamas members, including cabinet ministers, 
mayors and legislators. And that¹s just the tip of the iceberg. Rule #2. The 
terrorism rule. When Arabs kill Israelis, it¹s called terrorism. Rule #3. The 
self defense rule. When Israelis kill Arabs, it¹s called self defense. Rule # 4.
The reaction of the international community rule. When Israel kills too many 
civilians all at once, the West calls for restr! aint. Israel pledges it will 
take care to limit civilian casua! lties, t hen goes about its merry way, 
blasting apart civilians, blaming the deaths on the militants. ³We had to take 
out the civilians. They were in the way. But we didn¹t mean to²Š

Read the full article: 

Hezbollah¹s Victory and the Coming Shock and Awe of Iran Kurt Nimmo

It is said the United States has ³scaled-back² its ³expectations² now that the 
United Nations has declared a ³ceasefire² in Lebanon. ³The U.N. agreement is 
only the most recent example in which Bush¹s second-term doctrine of spreading 
freedom has run into the realities of international and domestic politics,² 
notes the Baltimore Sun. Actually, Bush¹s doctrine, which has nothing to do with
democracy as most people understand the word, ran into the! reality of 
Hezbollah, the most effective resistance movement in the world. Israel¹s defeat 
at the hands of the Shia resistance group, forged and tempered into steel hard 
resolve over many years by the experience of a brutal Israeli occupation, has 
dashed the ³expectations² of the neocons, who are cut from the same cloth as the
Jabotinksyite fascists in Israel. Consumed with racist hubris, both the Israelis
and the American neocons expected a decisive victory over Hezbollah. But it 
didn¹t work out that wayŠ

Read the full article: 

Cheney orchestrated Israel¹s losing war Michael Carmichael,

Dick Cheney orchestrated Israel¹s losing war against Hizbullah by authorizing 
George Bush and Condoleezza Rice to encourage Ehud Olmert to launch the war 
against Lebanon as a prelude to America¹s forthcoming war against Iran. 
Following briefings from top Israeli military officials, Cheney approved plans 
for an air war against Lebanon as a preliminary move to disarm Hizbullah in 
advance of America¹s broader military objective ­ to launch! an air war against 
Iran. Had the US launched its war against Iran without Olmert¹s intervention in 
Lebanon, Hizbullah would have been free to attack Israel. Cheney¹s plan was 
designed to disarm Hizbullah, but it was based on what now appears to have been 
a false assumption ­ that Israel would win their war in LebanonŠ

Read the full article: 

A thousand PR experts can¹t turn failure into victory¹
The Truth Will Set You Free

Taken alone, the statement is true enough. But, who said it ­ and in what 
context? [Israeli] MK Aryeh Eldad responded to the ceasefire which took effect 
this morning: ³With the ceasefire taking effect, the government of Israel has 
gone on a public relations offensive, but a thousand public relations experts 
cannot turn failure into victory. To him, a ceasefire is not a genuine effort at
peaceful resolution for the sake of ! ending bloodshed, but rather a tactical 
public relations stunt calculated to polish a victory that, in his mind, does 
not existŠ

Read the full article: 

Israelis Plan to Steal Lebanese Food Kurt Nimmo

From the military of the only democracy in the Middle East: ³If our fighters 
deep in Lebanese territory are left without food our water, I believe they can 
break into local Lebanese stores to solve that problem,² Brigadier General Avi 
Mizrahi, the head of the Israel Occupation Forces logistics branch, informs 
Haaretz. ³If what they need to do is take water from the stores, they can take.²
Of course, this is nothing new, as the Israelis have stolen from Arabs for dec! 
ades, regardless of what was supposedly inscribed on the stone tablets Moses 
brought down from Mount SinaiŠ

Read the full article: 

In the face of Bush¹s lies, it¹s left to Assad to tell the truth By Robert Fisk

In the sparse Baathist drawing rooms of Damascus, reality often seems a long way
away. But it was a sign of the times that President Bashar al-Assad was able to 
bring the great and the good of Damascus to their feet by the simple token of 
telling the truth ­ which no other Arab leader has chosen to do these past five 
weeks: that the Lebanese Hizbollah guerrilla army has, in effect, won this round
of their war with Israel.


Olmert may not survive this disastrous war By Gwynne Dyer

The ceasefire in southern Lebanon will not hold. Israel will probably lose more 
soldiers killed in combat in the next month than in the past month (119). Ehud 
Olmert will probably no longer be prime minister of Israel by the end of this 
year. And it is all too likely that Binyamin Netanyahu will take his place.


The Israeli debacle will affect the whole region By Ilan Pappe

We should expect more bloodshed and more aggressive policies ­ if not 
immediately against Syria and Iran, then against the Palestinians.


Lebanese deaths, and Israeli war crimes, kept off the balance sheet By Jonathan 
Cook in Nazareth

During Israel¹s war against the people of Lebanon, our media, politicians and 
diplomats have colluded with the aggressors by distracting us with 
irrelevancies, by concocting controversies, and by framing the language of 
diplomacy. In the fragile truce that is currently holding while Lebanon waits 
for Israel to withdraw, we are simply getting more of the same.


Lebanon digs mass grave for war dead:

Hospital officials in the southern city of Tyre said up to 126 bodies would be 
buried together near an army barracks unless relatives claimed them. Seventy-two
corpses were buried there on July 21 to clear overflowing hospital morgues.


Lebanon government compromise would allow Hezbollah to keep hidden weapons in 
south :

A compromise agreement now being hammered out between Hezbollah and the Lebanese
government would allow the Shi¹ite guerillas to keep hidden weapons in south 
Lebanon, the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported on Tuesday.


Bolton casts doubt on Lebanon force:

The Pentagon has sent a single military planner to the United Nations to begin 
preparations for an enhanced Lebanese peacekeeping force, a top official said. 
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton suggested to reporters Tuesday
that other nations are not eager to commit troops to the 15,000-man force.


Hizbollah defiance of Israel emboldens US foes:

By surviving a ferocious month-long conflict with Israel, Hizbollah has foiled 
U.S.-Israeli hopes of destroying the Lebanese Shi¹ite Muslim group and 
emboldened its allies in Iran and Syria.


Israel humbled by arms from Iran:

Abandoned Hizbollah positions in Lebanon yesterday revealed conclusive evidence 
that Syria ­ and almost certainly Iran ­ provided the anti-tank missiles that 
have blunted the power of Israel¹s once invincible armour.


A dummy run against Hezbollah:

The intended plan was to coordinate an air campaign with Israel. An anonymous 
source close to the US Air Force told Hersh, ³The big question for our air force
was how to hit a series of hard targets in Iran successfully.² Hersh states, 
³And so the air force went to the Israelis with some new tactics and said to 
them, ŒLet¹s concentrate on the bombing and share what we have on Iran and what 
you have on Lebanon.¹


³Star Wars² agency helps Israel on rocket threat:

³We have been working with the Israelis Š as they go through with development of
their own indigenous capabilities for that threat,² Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry 
Obering told reporters after a speech at a missile-defense conference here.


Peretz: We should create conditions for talks with Syria :

³Every war creates an opportunity for a new political process. and I am sure 
that our enemies understand today they cannot defeat us by force,² Peretz said.


Interview with Imad Moustapha, Syrian Ambassador to the U.S.:

Imad Moustapha, Syrian Ambassador to the U.S. discusses his recent op-ed (Syria 
Wants to Talk, But Bush Won¹t Answer the Phone) in which he says that Syria is 
interested in engaging the U.S. in talks about Israel-Lebanon.

Real Video


Church body condemns Israel :

Israel¹s assault on Lebanon was planned before Hezbollah attacked and was aimed 
at driving a wedge between the different faiths in the country, a delegation 
from the World Council of Churches says.


Blair¹s Middle East policy has driven me to return my MBE :

I accepted my honour on behalf of Palestinian and Lebanese colleagues. I have 
now sent it back, also in their name


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