Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

Caption Of The Day

Posted: 03 Aug 2010 11:23 AM PDT

Hi, I'm From The UN Peacekeeping Force--And I'm Here To Help!

by Daled Amos

Except for the Martyr's Symphony?

Posted: 03 Aug 2010 10:42 AM PDT

The Iranian press has articles from time to time on the doings of orchestras, conductors, and composers. I always wonder whether such stories are mainly for foreign consumption or if the Islamic Republic really likes a nice tune. Here we learn that the Supreme Leader thinks music is "not compatible with the highest values of the sacred regime of the Islamic Republic":

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said today that music is "not compatible" with the values of the Islamic republic, and should not be practised or taught in the country.

In some of the most extreme comments by a senior regime figure since the 1979 revolution, Khamenei said: "Although music is halal, promoting and teaching it is not compatible with the highest values of the sacred regime of the Islamic Republic." [...]

Khamenei has rarely expressed his views on music publicly, but he is believed have played a key role in the crackdown on Iran's music scene following the revolution. When Khamenei was president, he banned western-style music, forcing many stars to go into exile.

Houshang Asadi, a former cellmate of Khamenei before the Islamic Revolution said: "He hated the music from the beginning." [...]

And now his dream of cracking down on it is being realized. Inspiring.

Crossposted on Judeopundit

Israel And Lebanon Exchange Fire

Posted: 03 Aug 2010 05:39 AM PDT

Read Israels initial statement on the incident.

The Muqata was liveblogging the clash, but after about 30 minutes, he is reporting that it appears to be over and is continuing with latest news.

Mortars were exchanged--and YnetNews reports "massive explosions". It quotes Israeli residents in the area who saw Israeli jets flying towards Lebanon and reported that there had been no siren alarm.

Aljazeera is reporting:

"The Israelis fired four rockets that fell near a Lebanese army position in the village of Odaisi and the Lebanese army fired back," a Lebanese security official in the area told the AFP news agency.

The clashes erupted after Israeli soldiers reportedly attempted to uproot trees on the Lebanese side of the border.

Roots of conflict

Rula Amin, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Lebanon, said that "the Israeli army was coming close to the border to try to uproot some trees ... near the villages of Odaisi and Kuferkilla and then some tension erupted".

"The Lebanese army was there, it put itself on high alert," she said.

I'm not sure where the UNIFIL troops were during all this, seeing as how they are supposed to be the buffer in southern Lebanon. It's also not clear how they knew that Israel wanted to uproot trees, just how many trees, or how few trees could be expected to be cut without precipitating a reaction.(see update below)

In other words, the Aljazeera report just sounds odd--especially when in the same report, another reporter is quoted as saying the whole thing was a misunderstanding, based on the IDF approaching the border while still staying on the Israeli side.

The Jerusalem Post also quotes the Lebanese claim that the IDF was attempting to cut down "a tree"--and a second claim that Israel was attempting to install cameras.

Oh and about those UNIFIL troops? According to the YNetNews article:

According to the AFP correspondent, soldiers from the Indonesian contingent of the UNIFIL forces in the area tried to calm the situation, unsuccessfully.

UN peacekeepers in Lebanon called on the Lebanese and Israeli armies to exercise "maximum restraint" following the border incident.

"There's been an exchange of fire between the Lebanese army and the Israeli army along the Blue Line," UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti told Reuters.

"The main priority of the mission at the moment is to restore calm in the area and the Deputy Force Commander Santi Bonfanti is in contact with the LAF (Lebanese Armed Force) and IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) command urging for maximum restraint," Tenenti said.

The YNetNews article concludes that the IDF was in the enclave area in Israeli territory in order to prevent Hezbollah from creating a foothold there--something that the IDF has been doing on a regular basis. It was such a weakness that allowed Hezbollah to cross into Israel and kidnap reserve soldiers Eldad Regev and Udi Goldwasser.

IDF Spokesperson blog defines the area:

The soldiers were on routine activity in Israeli territory, in an area that lies between the "blue line" (the internationally recognized border between Israel and Lebanon) and the security fence, thus within Israeli territory.

Also, according to its report, it was the IDF that was initially fired upon by Lebanon.

UPDATE1: Check out Israellycool, who has 2 photos of UNIFIL standing next to Lebanese soldiers armed with RPG's (at 4:55pm and 4:32pm in the post). Were they shielding them?

UPDATE2: This is what appears to have precipitated the exchange of fire:

According to the caption in the article, it is being assumed that the fence lies exactly on the border between Israel and Lebanon, while according to the IDF Spokesperson blog quoted above the action occurred "in an area that lies between the "blue line" (the internationally recognized border between Israel and Lebanon) and the security fence, thus within Israeli territory."

Based on the YNetNews story I quoted above, the IDF was cutting the trees to keep the area between the fence and the actual border clear to keep Hezbollah for controlling that area and possibly launching another attack to kidnap IDF soldiers.

In fact, does this photo below of UNIFIL apparently waving at the IDF indicate that the cutting of the trees was in fact arranged in advance with UNIFIL?

Another question that needs to be answered is what was Reuters doing on the scene in Lebanon before shots were fired.

UPDATE3: According to IDF Spokesperson--cutting the trees was coordinated with UNIFIL in advance, and the IDF responded to Lebanese fire.

UPDATE4: Israel Matzav is quoting Northern sector commander Gadi Eizencott that the IDF was ambushed.

UPDATE5: Someone finally thinks to talk to UNIFIL, who confirms IDF statements.

More on Memeorandum

by Daled Amos

If ... you must 080310

Posted: 03 Aug 2010 03:54 AM PDT

If you haven't read Andrew Sullivan and the anti-Israel narrative at Yourish; you must.
And no, he can't be bothered to get his facts straight either.

If you haven't read The apocolypse comes ever closer at Just One Minute; you must.
Related: read the BP Shakedown at Baseball Crank.

If you haven't read Does Arab Survey Debunk Domino Theory? at Media Backspin; you must.
That's an implication that I didn't consider but should have.

If you haven't read "A Discussion [About Race] ... Around ... Water Coolers" at the Volokh Consnpiracy ; you must.
From From Rev. Wright to the Sherrod Affair:

Mr. Obama's campaign itself had always been characterized by one too many racial Macaca moments to suggest that the media image of a healer was quite right -- from Rev. Wright, to typical white person, to the clingers of Pennsylvania, to Michelle's various editorials on a downright mean country to never been before proud, etc. I realize to review this well-trodden ground is to earn a bullseye on the left-wing NY-DC list or its successor to come, but the truth is that the administration deliberately gambled that by playing identity politics they could galvanize the base vote (it worked when over 95% of African-Americans voted along racial lines) without offending centrist devotees. But they did not quite comprehend the ugly nature of the genie they had unleashed. And now we are reduced to suicidal calls from the left to appoint more administration officials solely on the basis of race, and to become even more overt in racial referencing.

What if 95% of whites had voted for McCain?

If you haven't read Voters want supersized government to crash diet at the Washington Examiner ; you must.
Republicans are, at least now, making the right moves on this issue.
Both links via Instapundit.

If you haven't read Where's the siege? at Israelly Cool; you must.
Lots of folks need reminders. Here's a confirmation from an unexpected source.

If you haven't read Please remember our daughter today at This Ongoing War; you must.
I'm sorry this is a few days late.

Israel-lebanon border clash

Posted: 03 Aug 2010 03:54 AM PDT

A few weeks ago Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview with the Washington Post:

WP: You have said Israel will hold the government of Lebanon responsible for any Hezbollah provocation. What does that mean?

Barak: It means that unlike what happened in 2006 where under request from the administration, [Secretary of State] Condoleezza [Rice] called at the time [Prime Minister] Olmert and asked him not to touch the precious government of Siniora, and we didn't. I think that they're responsible for what happens and if it happens that Hezbollah will shoot into Tel Aviv, we will not run after each Hezbollah terrorist or launcher of some rocket in all Lebanon. We'll see the government of Lebanon responsible for what happens, and for what happens within its government, its body politic, and its arsenal of munitions. And we will see it as a legitimate to hit any target that belongs to the Lebanese state, not just to the Hezbollah. And somehow, we are not looking for it. I am not threatening. We are not interested in such a deterioration. But being surrounded by so many proxies that operate not just under immediate threat under them, but probably activated by other players for external reasons, we cannot accept this abnormality and I believe that no other sovereign would have accepted it.

The latest AP report on today's fighting in nortern Israel has this observation:

Tuesday's fighting did not appear to involve Hezbollah fighters.

Was Barak's comment based on intelligence indicating greater cooperation between the Lebanese army and Hezbollah? If so the absence of Hezbollah terrorists doesn't matter much.

Daled Amos has more, including wondering what UNIFIL was doing while all this was going on?

The Muqata is live-blogging. More at Israelly Cool too.

Zabla it ain't

Posted: 03 Aug 2010 03:54 AM PDT

There's a concept in Jewish law of "zeh borer lo echad" or "each one chooses one." In Hebrew, the term is shortened to its acronym, "zabla." When two litigants have a court case requiring three judges, each litigant chooses a judge and the two judges then choose a third judge to hear the case.

The UN seems to have adopted a similar approach in the makeup of the flotilla inquiry.

The panel will be led by a former New Zealand prime minister, Geoffrey Palmer, with the departing president of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe, as his deputy. Israel and Turkey are expected to nominate one member each within the coming days. Its report is due by next February.

This is contrast to the UN "Human Rights" Council that has initiated its own inquiry.

"The mandate of the probe violates due process and objectivity by presuming Israeli guilt from the outset," said Hillel Neuer, UN Watch executive director. "It's another example of what former UN rights chief Mary Robinson recently described as the unfortunate and regrettable practice by the council to adopt resolutions guided not by human rights but by politics."[See Note 1]

According to Neuer, "by declaring Israel guilty before any facts were even collected, the resolution taints the mission with prejudicial bias, and contravenes the UN's own Declaration on Fact Finding, which requires objectivity and impartiality."

"It speaks volumes that Khaled Mashaal, the leader of the Hamas terrorist group, asked for this probe--literally for the council to create 'another Goldstone report'--while the Palestinian Authority actually opposed it," said Neuer.

Ha'aretz offers an analysis of the UN's flotilla probe, With UN flotilla probe, Ban ki-Moon is trying to stay relevant.

One would have thought that if he wanted to be relevant, the Secretary General could have taken up knitting, but Daled Amos) supposes that the only crises in the world are caused by Israel.

For some reason Israel has agreed to participate in the UN's probe. Like Solomonia, I can't see any good coming of this. The Washington Post reports,

An Israeli official said Israel's decision to participate was driven in large part by its desire to repair ties with Turkey, an important Israeli ally in the Middle East. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.

A statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Turkey hoped the results of the inquiry would "help entrench the culture of respect for international law and prevent the recurrence of similar violations."

The Israeli navy's dramatic attempt to intercept the Turkish ship carrying aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip turned deadly after Israeli commandos faced resistance from some activists.

The reporter must be kidding. "[F]aced resistance?" They were attacked and shot at and injured before they fired back.

The New York Times reports:

Israel had been adamant that it would not accept any international investigation into the May 31 raid, and the panel seemed to fulfill its conditions. The Israeli government stressed the idea that the panel would merely review the results that the government had already produced. Indeed, while the United Nations referred to it as a "panel of inquiry," the official Israeli government statement mentioned only a "panel" that would "receive reports on the Israeli investigation."

"Israel has nothing to hide," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. "The opposite is true. It is in the national interest of the state of Israel to ensure that the factual truth of the overall flotilla events comes to light."

Turkey emphasized that the importance was to get the panel in place and then see where it led. The Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying the panel should operate according to the demands of the Security Council for a credible and transparent investigation.

"We hope the results of this investigation would make important contributions to the establishment of respect in international law, help prevention of similar violations, as much as they would assist building tranquility and peace," the statement said.

Turkey is not interested in seeing where the inquiry, would lead. Read the Turkish statement. Its goal is to prevent "similar violations." In other words, "similar Israeli violations." Turkey's goal is to convict Israel.

Unsurprisingly, the editors of the New York Times support Israel's decision.

After resisting cooperation with the United Nations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel showed good sense when he said Monday that "Israel has nothing to hide" and that it is in Israel's "national interest to ensure that the factual truth about the entire flotilla incident is revealed to the whole world." Turkey also welcomed the investigation and promised to cooperate.

This is a leap of faith for Israel, whose enemies have sometimes used the United Nations as an anti-Israel cudgel. The four-member panel will include Geoffrey Palmer, a former prime minister of New Zealand; the outgoing president of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe; and an Israeli and a Turk, who must be of high caliber and committed to an honest outcome.

Unfortunately, it is not clear that the panel's mandate is sufficiently broad enough to fulfill the Security Council's June 1 call for a "prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards."

"[S]ometimes use the United Nations as an anti-Israel cudgel?!?" What understatement. Who knew that they had a sense of humor? Of course the problem isn't the mandate. Videos taken - some by the terrorists on the Mavi Marmara - and accounts given, show that the soldiers were attacked and that they didn't use firearms until they were endangered. Surely the editors on the New York Times are aware of this; if they're not they shouldn't be commenting on the news.

Israel Matzav thinks that Netanyahu agreed to the probe for American diplomatic support.

Was the price for Obama backing Netanyahu on direct talks with the 'Palestinians'? If so, it was way, way too high.

JoshuaPundit writes about the risk Netanyahu is taking:

Netanyahu probably went along went along with this because he felt that he had more to gain than to lose in terms of American good will. That was a mistake of historic proportions.

What he has done, for the first time ever, is to subject the actions of the armed forces of a democratic state under attack by a terrorist entity to the jurisdiction of the UN.

I don't buy that the reason agreed to cooperate with the UN inquiry is to mend fences with Turkey. Turkey under its current government is allied with Iran. That's not going to change.

The most likely reason, from what I can tell is that Netanyahu seeks to shortcircuit the UNHRC inquiry. We'll see if he's successful, and how high the price is.

Finally, after President Obama's positive meeting with Netanyahu, he has now done two things to hurt Israel. One has been to raise the diplomatic stature of the Palestinian Authority. The second was that the administration appears to have been the player that pushed Israeli participation. At some point Netanyahu really has to say "no" to the President and accept the fallout of finally defying him.

Crossposted on Yourish.

1 comment:

Soccer Uniforms said...

Everything is really wonderful here, you have done very comprehensive work, thanks for sharing and thanks for the links as well that you have shared in your post.