First some site news. I added some links to blogs covering this war under the breaking news link. There’s exceptional coverage around the blogosphere but I check the listed sites pretty frequently. I also added links to let you easily add Blogs of War content to Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL, and other portals/RSS readers. You’ll find the buttons on the side bar and feeds page.
Now on to the war stuff. All signs point to intensification of this conflict. The Washington Times is reporting that Israel is in the middle of a 4 stage campaign:
The fierce Israeli attack in Lebanon is part of a carefully orchestrated plan — not yet half-completed — that calls for four stages of mounting intensity, culminating in the movement of ground troops into Lebanon, according to Israeli reports.
This makes sense. Israeli spokemen keep repeating the promise that when the war ends Hezbollah will not be on Israel’s northern border and a ground war is the only way to achieve that goal. Once Israel is satisfied with their sweep I think we’ll see some kind of multinational force move in. Israel is open to the idea:
On Sunday, senior diplomatic officials said
Israel will not rule out an international presence in southern Lebanon to prevent Hizbullah from returning there after the completion of the current military operation.
The official said this would undoubtedly be on the agenda when a high-level delegation headed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s senior adviser V.J. Nambiar and Terje Roed-Larsen arrives on Tuesday.
Tony Blair is also talking up the concept. Like I said I think it’s a good move but a bit early:
“The blunt reality is that this violence is not going to stop unless we create the conditions for the cessation of violence,” Blair said after talks with Annan on the margins of the Group of Eight summit. “The only way is if we have a deployment of international forces that can stop bombardment coming into Israel.”
Rumors of a break in hostilities continue on all sides but I don’t see it happening soon:
Shiite-Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri said a ceasefire between Hezbollah and Israel could be obtained in the next 24 hours through the efforts of a third party.
Berri did not reveal the name of the third side and said, “the entire Middle East region will be in danger if both sides do not agree upon a ceasefire.” Berri said this third party could supervise the exchange of prisoners between the two sides.
Israel doesn’t seem to be thinking ceasefire either and has plowed ahead with strikes on more than 60 targets in Lebanon overnight. Hezbolla officials may not be dying in large numbers in these strikes but a number of them will be homeless for a while:
Israeli warplanes staged successive airstrikes, targeting neighborhoods in the eastern city of Baalbek where Hizbullah officials have residences. Police had no casualty count. Residents reported that the bombardment, up to 12 missiles in six air raids, was the heaviest on the city, famous for its Roman ruins. The missiles started several fires and kicked up black smoke.
Michael Freund brings the history in Finish the job in Lebanon:
Here’s a pop quiz for you.
Who said the following: “We’ll take all the necessary measures to end the Katyushas. The fate and the situation of our residents is at the top of our concerns. Hizbullah has brought a tragedy upon Lebanon … It will cause great damage to Lebanon. If the government of Lebanon wants to ensure its existence, it must remove the hand of terrorist organizations from the trigger.”
If you said Ehud Olmert or even Ehud Barak – nice try, but incorrect.
In fact, the quote dates back to April 12, 1996, and was made by then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres.
He made the remarks after the launch of “Operation Grapes of Wrath”, when Israel launched a major military operation to stop Hizbullah terror attacks against the Jewish state.
If the rocket attacks aren’t halted by this war can there be any hope that they’ll ever stop? And how far will Hezbollah have to be pushed back to spare most Israelis the threat? It looks like they have some pretty capable missiles in reserve:
IDF sources say that use of such weapons will depend on authorization from Iran, which has equipped Hezbollah with long-range missiles and has played a formative role in shaping the character of the current fighting. If the confrontation continues to escalate, as it appeared to have done Sunday, the chances that Nasrallah’s organization will launch such missiles increases.
The army is concerned that Iranian-made Zelzal missiles, whose range is estimated to exceed 200 kilometers, may be used, thus allowing Hezbollah to target the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. Intelligence information suggests that the organization has a limited number of these missiles.
The IDF on Sunday told Israelis from Tel Aviv northward to “be alert.”
I guess the Israelis are trying to prevent an attack on Tel Aviv by letting Iran know that they’ll be held responisible for authorizing the attack. Not a bad move. But does Iran care?
Robert Fisk’s panties are, predictably, in a bunch:
The Israelis were yesterday trumpeting the fact that the missile was made in Iran as proof of Iran’s involvement in the Lebanon war. This was odd reasoning. Since almost all the missiles used to kill the civilians of Lebanon over the past four days were made in Seattle, Duluth and Miami in the United States, their use already suggests to millions of Lebanese that America is behind the bombardment of their country.
Yeah he’s going through panties faster than ever. Not that anyone has cared since 2001.
If you’re interested in Palestinian propaganda you can find on Palestinian Pundit, blog4palestine, and the International Solidarity Movement (oh and CNN…I kid, I kid). I find North Korean propaganda amusing, I guess because it’s over the top and about 50 years behind the times, but the anti-Zionist aggressor crowd alternates between tedious and offensive.
Shifting gears Pamela at Atlas Shrugs posts a great letter from a US Marine:
I just wanted to tell you that we, Marines, SUPPORT Israel in their war against Hamas and Hizbullah. I cannot express to you how many Marines I have talked to or have heard say how proud of Israel they are. I cannot tell you how happy I am that Israel is destroying Hamas and Hizullah. We all CHEER when we watch Lebanon being bombed on TV in the Chow Hall. I hope Israel annihilates Hamas, Hizbullah and Syria. Because the way we see it, that is less Jihadists for us to fight.
I wonder how many politicians around the world privately feel the same?