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Candide Recommends: Friday, August 4, 2006
From Zero to Quagmire in 24 Days
It's morning again in Beirut
  • Nasrallah’s Tel-Aviv Threat: “ If you strike Beirut , the Islamic resistance will strike Tel Aviv and it is able to do so,” Nasrallah said in a taped television statement after Israeli planes dropped leaflets on the southern suburbs of Beirut , telling residents to expect more bombing of the devastated Hizbullah stronghold. But what has the Israeli air force been doing all these weeks, if not striking Beirut —and beyond? The Bombardments are again targeting the Christian heartland: The Beirut Daily Star: “The targeted Christian areas in Mount Lebanon had up to now been  largely spared by the Israeli attacks. Hundreds of thousands of  people displaced from Beirut, its suburbs and the south of the  country have sought refuge in Mount Lebanon. […]Israeli jets struck two bridges on the coast road 20 kilometres  (12 miles) north of Beirut, including a main bridge near the “Casino  du Liban”, police said. Moments later, they completely destroyed Fidar bridge in the  village of Halat and the Madfun main bridge linking northern Lebanon  with the rest of the country, they said.”
  • No Friday Prayers in Baghdad: "MORE than 100,000 white-clad Shiites marched through Baghdad on Friday at a noisy rally in support of Lebanon's Hezbollah militia, as US commanders warned of a slide towards civil war," reports The Australian. "Demonstrators bearing yellow Hezbollah flags, white shrouds and portraits of the Shiite group's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, thronged a kilometre-long street in the teeming Sadr City district of the Iraqi capital. The rally came at the urging of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and loudly denounced Israel and its ally the United States." See also Al-Jazeera's take.
  • But the war isn’t going well for Israel in the south, says the Washington Post: “A new wave of Hezbollah rockets killed eight Israeli civilians Thursday, and four soldiers died in ground combat in southern Lebanon, Israel’s highest daily death toll in the three-week-old war. Israeli jets blasted targets in Beirut for the first time in almost a week. Israeli dorces appeared to be struggling in efforts to control villages and towns across the Lebanese border and push deeper into the country, according to U.N. observers in Lebanon. Most of the day’s fighting took place within two miles of the frontier and sometimes only a few hundred yards from it.”
  • Israel admits failure: “The Israeli military began preparing to reoccupy southern Lebanon on Thursday, and Israeli officials conceded that their three-week bombing campaign has had no significant impact on Hezbollah’s ability to fire short-range rockets into northern Israel,” McClatchy reports. “Since Hezbollah sparked the conflict, 68 Israelis have been killed. Nearly two-thirds of those killed have been Israeli soldiers. In response, Israel unleashed a massive air campaign that’s killed some 900 Lebanese, most of them civilians.” Still, that only suggests Israel is getting ready to push deeper into Lebanon in its fatal nostalgia for a repeat of 1982.
  • Human Rights Watch calls Israel’s attacks on Lebanon war crimes: “The Israeli government claims that it targets only Hezbollah, and that fighters from the group are using civilians as human shields, thereby placing them at risk.  Human Rights Watch found no cases in which Hezbollah deliberately used civilians as shields to protect them from retaliatory IDF attack.  Hezbollah occasionally did store weapons in or near civilian homes and fighters placed rocket launchers within populated areas or near U.N. observers, which are serious violations of the laws of war because they violate the duty to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties.  However, those cases do not justify the IDF’s extensive use of indiscriminate force which has cost so many civilian lives.  In none of the cases of civilian deaths documented in this report is there evidence to suggest that Hezbollah forces or weapons were in or near the area that the IDF targeted during or just prior to the attack. By consistently failing to distinguish between combatants and civilians, Israel has violated one of the most fundamental tenets of the laws of war: the duty to carry out attacks on only military targets.  The pattern of attacks during the Israeli offensive in Lebanon suggests that the failures cannot be explained or dismissed as mere accidents; the extent of the pattern and the seriousness of the consequences indicate the commission of war crimes.” The full report…
  • And in Iraq, Thomas Friedman the jingoist, three years too late, says it's "Time for Plan B": “It is now obvious that we are not midwifing democracy in Iraq. We are baby-sitting a civil war.” It is now obvious? (see above).


In Other Worlds

  • If Madonna can get them all to agree in Rome, maybe she can do the same in Jerusalem? “Rome’s Catholic, Muslim and Jewish leaders have united to condemn pop star Madonna’s decision to stage a mock crucifixion when she performs in the Italian capital on Sunday, a stone’s throw away from Vatican City,” The Age reports. “The lapsed-Catholic diva’s latest irreverent performance sees her wearing a fake crown of thorns and descending on a suspended, glittery cross as part of her worldwide “Confessions Tour”.
  • Adding insult to expulsion: “President Bush’s cheeky, newsless visit to the White House briefing room yesterday was an appropriate sendoff for a press corps that has been unable to get much if any advantage from its physical proximity to Bush’s inner sanctum,” writes Dan Froomkin in the Washington Post. “And whether journalists are caged in a centrally-located pen—or in one a little further away—doesn’t really matter so long as this White House continues to treat the establishment press with thinly-disguised contempt. The spin, the secrets, the non-answers and the unprecedented lack of access are an insult not only to journalists, but to the public that depends on us to fully inform them about what’s really going on in the White House.” See the transcript of Bush’s insults…
  • You can serve in the US military. But your wife and children will be deported: “ A U.S. Army soldier whose wife has been arrested and deported to Ghana now faces the possibility of having his two adopted sons kicked out of the country as well,” Stars and Stripes reports from Germany. “German police arrested Isaac Senahey, 17, on Wednesday and are searching for Foster Tawiah, 17, who went missing the same day. The two teens are the adopted children of Spc. Maxwell Dapaah, 33, a member of the 205 th Military Intelligence Brigade, who is a citizen of Ghana and moved to the U.S. in May 2002 before enlisting in the Army two months later. Dapaah’s wife, Salomey Agyeiwah, was arrested on May 22 after German and Army authorities raided and searched Dapaah’s residence in the Hainerberg housing area. Agyeiwah was deported June 2 after the Army stripped her and the two boys of their Status of Forces Agreement protections. It was the same day Dapaah returned from his deployment to Iraq. German police have charged all three Ghanaians of being in the country illegally.”
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