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Friday, August 04, 2006
Friday deathwatch
Professor Juan Cole posts a link-rich Friday blog entry on the ongoing carnage in Lebanon. A clip:

Hasan Nasrallah issued a videotape on Thursday in which he threatened to send rockets on Tel Aviv if the Israelis bombed Beirut again.

I saw the speech on satellite in Arabic Nasrallah also appealed to the Muslim masses over the heads of their rulers. And, he told the Arab leaders that they are not going to be able to keep their positions in America's "New Middle East." They will be overthrown, he said, and their countries will be reduced to chaos and split up into small postage stamp countries. (He appeared to be reasoning on the basis of what the US has done to Iraq). ...

...Israeli television quoted a high Israeli military official saying in response that if Tel Aviv is hit, all of Lebanese infrastructure will be destroyed. AFP doesn't state the man's name, but he needs to read the Geneva Conventions. If he follows through on this threat, having explicitly made it, I hope that some civilized European country finds a way to try him for war crimes. Hitting non-military infrastructure necessary to civilian life is tantamount to murder.
This on a day when 100 rockets were fired into Israel, killing eight civilians.

Meanwhile in Iraq, the largest demonstration thus far in that country in favor of Hezbollah was held in a stronghold of Moqtada al-Sadr. They were not alone...
In Iran, a predominantly Shiite country that has long been seen as a major financial and material supporter of Hezbollah, a violent riot erupted outside the British Embassy in Tehran.

Now, Shiites in Iraq and Saudi Arabia are hosting pro-Hezbollah rallies. According to ABC, Sunni Muslim demonstrators took to the streets of Damascus, Cairo and Amman. But their numbers were dwarfed by the huge Shiite turnout in Baghdad, organized by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The network reports crowds of al-Sadr supporters from across Iraq's Shiite heartland converged on the capital's Sadr City district, chanting "Death to Israel, Death to America" in the biggest pro-Hezbollah rally since the conflict began July 12.
And according to CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr, a memo from the House of Rumsfeld erroneously described the demonstrations as being, more benignly, "in support of Lebanon," despite the clear preponderance of Hezbollah flags.

"Starving Lebanon"

Israel is today again defending its tactics in its war on Lebanon. This time, they killed a truckload of fruit pickers in the Bekaa Valley, near the crossing to Syria (apparently, those killed were Syrian, which raises a whole new set of troubling possibilities). And they straffed the last available crossings out of Lebanon, hitting a predominantly Christian area unaffiliated with Hezbollah, and effectively cutting off Beirut from not only Hezbollah resupply operations, but also from food and fuel. From CNN:
The airstrikes closed main roadways and four key bridges into Beirut from the north. It was the first time the Israel Defense Forces has hit the area north of the capital during the 24-day conflict.

"Syria is determined to continue rearming Hezbollah and supply it with weaponry used to attack Israel," said an IDF statement. "The IDF is determined to stop this flow of arms to Hezbollah. The attacks on the bridge last night, which connect Syria and Lebanon, were to this end." (Watch how Israeli bombs shredded roads and bridges -- 1:04)

Syria has repeatedly denied supplying weapons to Hezbollah.

Meanwhile, Lebanese President Emile Lahoud accused Israel of "starving" his country, and Christiane Berthiaume of the World Food Program told The Associated Press that Israel had cut "Lebanon's umbilical cord."

"This [road] has been the only way for us to bring in aid. We really need to find other ways to bring relief in," Berthiaume told the AP.

The bridge attacks left three people dead and one missing, according to the Lebanese Red Cross. Two of the victims were in vehicles on the Maameltain bridge in a Christian neighborhood of east Beirut, according to the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp.

And what is the U.N. doing about all of this? Bickering and moaning, and not a whole hell of a lot else. And with Britain's Tony Blair having thoroughly discredited himself as a person of influence in this conflict (earth to Tony: go ahead and go on vacation...) it's down to France, apparently, to come up with a solution. One wonders whether they will talk about Gaza, where the dying also continues, only without the world's sympathy.

Back to Britain: 100,000 protesters are expected in the streets Saturday to demand an end to the carnage in Lebanon. And 100 MPs have signed a petition calling on Useless Tony to man up to GWBush.

If you want to make a donation to help get aid to the children of Lebanon, the Independent UK has launched an appeal with Save The Children. There are numerous groups in the U.S. who are launching aid appeals for Israelis displaced in the north, but this is the first one I've seen designed to help stanch the disproportionate suffering of the people -- and especially the children -- of Lebanon. I guess this is one of those "thank God for Europe" moments...

Other stuff:

Venezuela, which has small but significant Jewish and Arab communities, has recalled its ambassador to Israel in protest over the continued bombing of Lebanon.

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posted by JReid @ 7:09 PM  
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