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All hell is breaking loose:

A second front was opened on Israel’s northern border Wednesday morning as Hizbullah, under cover of a barrage of Katyusha rockets and mortar shells, kidnapped two IDF soldiers.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared the attack as an “act of war” and not terror. During a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi Wednesday afternoon, he called it an unprovoked assault by a sovereign nation and held Lebanon, where Hizbullah has a minister in the government, fully responsible.

“Israel’s response will be restrained but very, very, very painful,” Olmert added.

That response is underway:

On Lebanese territory the IDF conducted a ground chase after the kidnappers of the two soldiers, who were taken by Hizbullah members during the heavy fire. Simultaneously, the Lebanese territory is being bombed using tanks, shells, planes and missile ships. Hizbullah declared that it people “destroyed” a tank which attempted to cross the border and operate on Lebanese territory.

Reserves are being called up:

As of noon, a full IDF division had already received their “Order 8s” – immediate emergency call-up orders for reservists.

Hezbollah wants thousands of prisoners released:

“Fulfilling its pledge to liberate the (Arab) prisoners and detainees, the Islamic Resistance … captured two Israeli soldiers at the border with occupied Palestine,” the Syrian- and Iranian-backed Hezbollah said in a statement.

We have a two front war in Israel and quick scan of the cable news networks this morning reveal…nothing.

Lebanese Political Journal:

What are the Syrians and Hezbollah thinking? Goad Israel into an attack? Prove that there isn’t much that Israel can do without going into all out offensive war? Get Israel back for Israeli overflights and the 2003 bombing of the Damascus Palestinian refugee camp?

They definitely aren’t winning any support in Lebanon, the West, or the rest of the world.

I’ve been asked a few times to attend rallies in support of the people of Gaza. There’s no way I would go to one of those. If Gazans don’t want to be attacked in a massive Israeli campaign, they’ll return the kidnapped soldier. Nothing better illuminates Palestinian eliminationist ideology than independent Palestinians doing everything in their power to destroy Israel.

Richard Silverstein also points to Syria and Iran:

This could be Israel’s worst nightmare. Now, instead of fighting a one front war in Gaza to free its other IDF kidnap victim, it is now fighting a two front war. In addition, instead of fighting a war against Gaza’s Hamas militants alone, Israel now fights against Hezbollah and its sponsors, Syria and Iran. Part of this is no doubt Bashar Assad’s “payback” for insulting him by having Israeli jets buzz his summer mountain palace in one of Israel’s more bellicose acts of provocation. This new development ratchets up the pressure immensely on the world community to resolve this crisis and to do so soon if possible. The longer it drags on the more likely one of the parties will make a grievous error that could escalate matters out of anyone’s control.

He isn’t alone:

There is a little nagging voice in the back of my mind that is suggesting that there is a huge plan to these seemingly random events of the last two and a half weeks. Forget the rhetoric that the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier was in retailiation for the arrest of two Hamas brothers by the IDF a few days before the kidnapping. There is no way in a 48-72 hour period that a 300 meter tunnel of the size it was could have been dug without the Israeli’s knowing. Little by little to escape detection-absolutely.

So in whose interest does an offensive launched by proxies against Israel reflect?

“The two captives were transferred to a safe place,” it said, without stating what condition the soldiers were in.

It seems unlikely that Israel will restrain the IDF much longer:

From another perspective, though, the opening of a new front somewhat allays the Israeli dilemma. It now seems that the government would quit from acting as though it is walking on eggshells as it has thus far.

There is every indication that Israel is on its way to widely escalate its military actions, both in the north and in the Gaza Strip.

Reaction from world “leaders” is, as you can imagine, focused more on restraing Israel in it’s self-defense efforts than condemnation of terrorist attacks. Nothing new here as Omri Cerent notes:

We eagerly anticipate the UN condemnation of this naked act of war, and are quite sure that all civilized nations will affirm in no uncertain terms the right of any nation-state to defend itself militarily – even the Jewish State.

Actually, that’s a bit of a fib. It’s not even snark any more: just a sad recognition that exactly the opposite will happen. Hezbollah was emboldened precisely because they saw how the world scrambled to make excuses for Hamas when Hamas did the very same thing a few weeks ago. These thugs are fanatics, but they’re not stupid. Israel, too, is beginning to understand that international diplomacy is worse than a shell game: it’s a no-lose proposition for its enemies, tying Israel’s hands with negotiations that are always anticipated and ongoing.

CNN is talking now. I wish they weren’t. Miles O’Brien wants to know if Israel referring to this attack as an act of war is “constructive”. As if the problem isn’t that Israeli soldiers were ambushed, injured, and kidnapped. No, it’s Israel’s acknowledgement of the attack that’s destabilizing. What a moron.

Mere Rhetoric’s avalanche of snark (snarkalanche?) is a good read:

Hey, do you think that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is now going to get to write a column for the Washington Post like Hamas Ismail Haniyeh just did? That’s the deal right – kidnap and kill Israeli soldiers, get a column? Or do you think that the WaPo won’t take Nasrallah because his thugs didn’t manage to murder any Israeli soldiers in their attack like Haniyeh’s managed to do? That might be the question: Is Nasrallah not a successful enough terrorist for the Washington Post to turn over column inches to him?

Well Nasrallah does have some fans:

I for one felt proud today, Hassan Nasrullah made me feel proud today, this is the only way, it’s not because we love to kill or we love wars, it’s because we’re facing a terrorist army backed with terrorist international gangs, and in order to negotiate with them, you have to shoot them in the head first.

Awwww. It sounds like someone needs an Inclusive Cirlce of Love.

Blue Crab Boulevard is trendspotting:

This appears to be the new tactic of choice for the terrorists. Kidnap soldiers then gets lots of media attention and mobilize the apologists in the West. I sincerely hope American Leaders in Iraq are warning the troops about this appalling new tactic.

While Kesher Talk ponders the perception of Israeli weakness created by the more bark than bite response to the Shalit kidnapping:

If the operation looked chaotic to me, I should have realized it would look far weaker to Israel’s enemies. And that, indeed, proved to be correct, as now Hezbollah has kidnapped two soldiers from the northern border of Israel, with Lebanon, and has sent a barrage of katyushas and mortars into northern town.

I can’t see that Israel has many options to get the soldiers back, except to bomb some site in Syria; as Sharon’s government did, to much success, several years ago, “to send a message to Syria” to make Hezbollah back off. Syria is controlling these forces. And so, too, is Iran.

James Joyner wonders what can be be achieved:

One wonders, however, what the Israeli exit strategy is here. Total annihilation of Hezbollah and Hamas is impossible without genocide, given how organic they seem to be. Does Israel plan to annex and permanently occupy these terroritories? They’ve tried that without solving the terrorist problem. They also can’t go the route that the U.S. has gone in Iraq: The current governments are, in both cases, the result of the democratic process.

Israel has lived in a more-or-less permanent state of war since 1948. That does not look to change any time soon.

I can’t believe my eyes. National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones is actually (correctly) calling out Iran and Syria:

“We also hold Syria and Iran – which directly support Hezbollah – responsible for this attack and for the ensuing violence,” Jones said. “Hezbollah’s terrorism is not in Lebanon’s interest.

“This attack demonstrates that Hezbollah’s continued impunity to arm itself and carry out operations from Lebanese territory is a direct threat to the security of the Lebanese people and the sovereignty of the Lebanese government,” Jones said.

And there are rumors that Israel will formerly declare war:

One of my sources, Harvey in Efrat, claims to have it from ‘reliable sources’ that Israel is going to declare war tonight. Here’s what Harvey is telling me (for the record, I have known Harvey for 35 years – we were roommates at a youth group convention in 1971, and his sources are generally from within the IDF and are usually reliable)

That war would have to be with Iran and Syria if Israel wants to tackle the primary sources of the problem. I don’t see that happening just yet.

It’s been a few hours since my last update but the situation hasn’t changed much. Israel appears reluctant to single out Iran as the real source of most of it’s problems:

In a sharp departure from Israel’s response to previous Hezbollah attacks, the late-night cabinet session in Tel Aviv unanimously agreed that the Lebanese government should be held responsible for Wednesday’s events. In the past, Israel has generally pointed its finger at Hezbollah’s patrons, Syria and Iran.

“Israel holds the sovereign government of Lebanon as responsible for the action which emanated from its territory and for the safe return of the abducted soldiers,” the government said in a statement issued after the meeting. “Israel must act with appropriate severity in response to this attack and it will do so. Israel will respond in a forthright and severe manner against the perpetrators responsible and will act to prevent future efforts and actions directed against Israel.”

I can understand the reluctance. It’s a difficult problem and the only solution appears to be a war that nobody wants to fight. So instead we look for easy targets. Targets relevant to the war on terror but not the ultimate source of the problem. If the nations willing to confront radical Islam adopt this strategy with Iran as the ultimate target it could work. I thought that’s what we were doing in Afghanistan and Iraq. These days I’m not so sure.

That’s it for this post.

Related:
Wikipedia – Hezbollah

Also Blogging:
Israpunidt
Pajamas Media
IRIS Blog
GOP Vixen
Israel Matzav
Morning Coffee
The Muqata
The Human Province
Lebanon an Irish Experience through the bottom of a glass
The Syria News Wire
Jerusalem is the Place to Be
Media Backspin
Assorted Babble
Hot Air
Michelle Malkin
Darleen’s Place
The Moderate Voice
Protein Wisdom
Euphoric Reality
Meryl Yourish



25 Comments

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  9. ProIsraeli American

    This act by Lebanon should absolutely be considered an act of war. I just read a blog from another post moments ago, about the Arabs breaking down into factions and trying to cloud the fact that the masterminds is still their government who refuses to stop these groups. If they will not stop them, then I believe it is up to the victim country and its allies to defend and end the on-going war that these groups continue to conduct.

    But don’t just attack the groups, attack the country. The hell with this care of civilian life, it’s their civilians that are their militants. Finish this war by destroying their government, destroy their will, and destroy any hope they have left to wage war. People are sick of this tit-for tat back and forth battling, they want war, show them war and destroy them.

  10. John

    It’s completely an act of self respect, anybody who’s decent enough can look at Gaza and see what Israel is doing there, only today Israel slaughtered about 35 civilians including children inside their beds, what do you expcet from Hezbollah and Palestinians to do? applause? Of course they’ll defend themselves, it a human nature, but the western media will twist the facts and will propagandize that Israeli is the victim here, such a racist world! two Israeli soldiers caused this much attention, but tens of thousands of Palestinians don’t worth even mentioning, shame on you all!

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  12. M. Simon

    John,

    Those children’s deaths are the responsibility of those who use human shields to protect their fighters. If you are having a war council send the kids elsewhere.

    Completely avoidable had Shalit been returned already.

    I want to see no more destruction or loss of life. Return all captured soldiers to Israel.

    Just think. If Japan had surrendered even a few weeks earlier it could have avoided Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    The deaths are the responsibility of those who started and prolonged the war.

    Attacking into Israel from Gaza was an act of war. Same for the dituation in Lebanon.

    The general rule is: if you can’t stand the results of war don’t start one.

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  14. M. Simon

    John,

    The price of Palestinian self respect is 35 dead children. So far.

    However, it appears that that amount of self respect is insufficient for them. They should tell the Israelis exactly how much self respect they want. I’m sure something could be worked out.

    Or they could return the captives if they do not wish to earn any more self respect.

  15. JR (John Roberts)

    John,

    Have you forgotten that Palestinians voted Hamas into office? If I recall, Hamas is a terrorist organization, and is really not too interested in diplomacy. Where are the schools? How are they improving the economy? The answer is; they are not. It’s the same tired jihad rhetoric filled with hate. It is business as usual for these people. Now they have a caveat which allows them to identify themselves as “politicians”.

    Clearly, the voting population exercised poor judgment by voting these people into office. The Palestinians chose their leaders and will live with the consequences. This is called accountability and responsibility.

  16. Steve Schippert

    Outstanding roundup, John.

    I’ve been fielding questions today, online & off, about whether or not Syrian troops will move. I worked hard to stop laughing. Israel dispatched of Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Jordan in six days forty years ago. Since then, Israel has perfected its military while ther rest…well.

    Israel is done. No more games. No one wants to be in front of this wrecking ball. Too many misread the Israeli flight over Assad’s cabana on the beach as less significant than it was.

    This morning, any doubts are gone, and with the US officially holding Iran & Syria responsible for Hizballah, Assad is quietly practicing the word “Uncle”.

    Assad has always been willing to fight Israel right down to the last Palestinian and Hizballah terrorist. Meshaal confidently sends his to their deaths from comfortable Damascus.

    I believe they are staying up a little later tonight in Damascus.

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  20. Harold J Macek

    For over fifty years the pals have been murdering jewish citizens–enough is enough…the jews should just run all the pals into the sea, and be done with them. Some 50 years ago, I remember pals sniping at the jewish kids school buses…that should of told us what kind of people these pals are..lebbenon kicked them out as did syria,,jordan don’t want them,,nor does egypt..so–who is giving the pals money??? Our friends the french?? Why is it the pals have no schools for thier kids??? Does anyone remember when the pals hired a guy from egypt to lead them in a war to eliminate the jews..They hired a terrorist to lead them in thier quest to eliminate all jews.. An egytptian terrorist??? Who–our president gave credibility to by meeting with hom here in the USA? President Carter…but–was referred to as the pal “president”..what a laugh that was..

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  22. larry

    I support the jews….why?, because most of them are more like humans, educated, unlike the arab animals. They defend themselves and their kind in line with what God commands that thou shalt not kill……. that declares that killing just because you do not like your fellow human is sin!!!….They know the True and only God! And God gives them superior fire power for their defence to put the arabs into their doom of hell..ever wonder why they are doomed?…..
    Why do the arabs think they can conquer the world as stupid as they are? They may have a few successes but they are doomed…. They are nothing but scum bag animals with wayward brains. Will they never get it? Thank the Real God, Christ, that we are superior than the arab animals and can eventially anilate the slime bags before they have the chance to get rid of us. We and the Jews believe in peace but the arabs are jealous and they only know that killing others is the way to try to upgrade themselves….What a terrible bunch of humans that turned away from the creator…..And they had the same chance to reconize the Real God just as Christians have…where did they fall off the wagon?….. What really bugs me is that God created all of us with the “free will” they were given by God….with this “free will” they turned to satan and another simple minded humans like mohammad worship and believe the way to salvation is to kill those that do not believe in islam. …Mad! What a loss of potentially God saved sinners……. Mohamad was not a prophet but just another early camel riding simi-human arab satan lover following the terriorist. Give Him a chance and God helps us that believe in the only true God and not some moon god with star daughters (the cresent moon and the stars enclosed represents this trash worshiping idol) like the islams/muslims believe in. And they believe killing fellow humans is the answer for those that do not fall for their false idol worships. Oh yes, the Jews worshiped golden cows for a while until they wised up…!..Some of the Romans worshiped physical idols before Christ showed them the way…are the arabs not capable of believing spiritually and not in some physical thing that fades away or is destroyed ……What God…. believes that killing what He created is the way to get rid of those that do not believe in their Idols…such as mohamad..What a bunch of dumb ASSes..God can get rid of the non-believers His own way…It is not for humans to do His work for HIM!. Surely He could do this for Himself if he wanted to…. since He created all of us anyway!
    They have learned nothing from history nor have they learned any thing from Christ. So much for the “free will” that by self conviction they turned to satan and his followers like mohamed…….as He says many will try to enter the gates of Heaven but few will be selected ..and the rest …. go to HELL..and that lets out the Hezbalah as well as the rest of the camel riding satan scum bag arabs that do not believe in God…satan is their God…and they think it is their commission to kill what God has created….duh…talk about stupid..just like satan……..I feel so sorry for those that turned to satan rather than God. Hell is for eternity…..Fire from a rocket burns only for a second….hell burns for islam scum bags for an eternity ………may God help them……….

  23. Bill

    This is a perfect example as to why unsettled countries should not be allowed to amsass weapons of war. these unsettled regimes then give weapons to terrorists groups who can use them whenever they want to. Lebanon is being held hostage by Syria and Iran, and not by Israel. lebanon is the recipient of the poor decisions made by the Hizballows acts of aggression.
    MaY God Bless Israel.

    i respect the Israel army and government.

  24. wahid

    Where is the balance in the slanted reporting of this one sided war?, the israeli army chaps that were captured, where were they captured? was it not inside Lebanon, they chased Hbl resistance fighter inside Lebanon, the resistance has every right has every right to capture or kill enemy combantant, i’m not supporting terrorism, the resistance has the right to defend their country.
    Israel has a lot of Lebanese in Jails all over the country, all Hbl is asking for is prisoner swap, All those prisoners were captured on cross border raid by Israel, do the swap and current hostilities will be over.
    Do we really want an answer to the question, “WHY DO THEY HATE US”, The answer is in laser guided missile we just rushed to Irael to kill more innocent lebanese civilians.

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