Tuesday, August 29, 2006



Israeli newspapers claim that the kidnapping of the two fox news journalists was done by the same group that kidnapped the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. The Hammas political leadership has decided to move Gilad from their hands into a different group, but the original kidnappers want him back. So, they kidnapped two US journalists and released them only in exchange for Gilad Shalit (which selebrated his 20th birthday a few days ago).

LBC (a leading Lebanese TV channel) has released a promo showing a few seconds of Ron Arad (the Israeli pilot that is held in captivity for the past 20 years). The video itself is a small part of a pro-Hezbollah TV show which contains a 70 seconds long video of Ron Arad. Ron looks young and it is believed that his video does not contain any new information on his condition or whereabouts today.

The promo has an emotional impact in Israel. Israeli radio and TV talk about the chance to negotiate his release while he was held by Lebanese (terrorists). Today Ron is believed to to be held by Iran and all negotiation paths have failed.

This all comes only three days before the big demonstration in Tel Aviv for the release of the Israeli soldiers Eldad Regev , Ehud Goldwasser (who were kidnapped on July 12th by Hezbollah) and Gilad Shalit (kinapped by the Hammas on June 20th) .

What all this means is that Israel is sticking its ground not to negotiate their release, and that Hezbollah is under pressure to release them (according to the UN resolution they should have already done that).

Monday, August 21, 2006



The international force that was supposed to deploy in Lebanon is delaying. The Lebanese army does not seem to disarm Hezbollah nor it cannot stop it from rearming itself again. As stratfor indicates, no international force has declared that it is willing to disarm Hezbollah.

Meanwhile in Israel, many journalists and polititians hint that a 2nd round with Hezbollah or Syria is in the near future. It seems that Israel would prefer to increase its military budget on the expense of economical growth, but will not negotiate with Syria at this time. Negotiating with Syria now, would require the Israelies to give more and get in return less, much less. There is no confidence in Israel that the current Syrian government (or the next government to come) will respect a piece agreement. The memories from pre 1967 of Syrian artilery on the Golan Heights bombing the entire Galilei down below, cannot be forgoten.

Meanwhile in the Gazza strip Hammas is gaining confidence. Israeli intelegence reported that the negotiation on a joint Fatah-Hammas has failed and Hammas started hunting down the oposition Fatah members. Hammas has refued to the Egyptian deal in which they will release Gilad shalit and in return Israel would have promisses to release some prisoners. In response to this escelation Israel arested another Hammas official (vice prime minister). Most of the Hammas officials arrested by Israel can face an Israeli trial for terrorist activity they were involved with in the past. The intelegence also reported of a large ammount of explosives and Iranian money moving freely from the Egyptian-Gazza border (that was once in Israeli responsibility, but now is Egyptian responsibility).

Israel cannot afford the West Bank to arm like the southern Lebanon or Gazza, and therfore Olmert's disengagement plan, will be disbanded. In addition Haim Ramon, the polititian behind the West Bank disengagement plan, had to resign from the Ministry of Justice (after one of his former employees complaint to her boss that Haim Ramon hugged and kissed her against her will).

To conclude, at this point in time, it seems that a new arms race has begun.

Saturday, August 19, 2006



The Telegraph published evidence that Syria ,Russia and Iran were involved with supplying weapons for the Hezbollah. One of the last paragraphs quotes Netanyahu:
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Likud Party leader and a rival, said:
"There were many failures - failures on identifying the threat, failures in
preparing to meet the threat, failures in the management of the war, failures in
the management of the home front."
Netanyahu had a leading role as a finance minister in cutting military project budgets (such as the Merkava tank). Israeli newspapers claim that a new tank system that counters the Russian anti-tank missiles has already been developed, but the Israeli government decided not to produce it for the Israeli Defence Force before the US army ordered it ( larger quantities makes each item cheaper to manufacture ).

24-08-2006 update: See a video of this system , and its accomlishments.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Russia (again)

Israel is pressing Russia to implement the agreement it supported in the UN security council. Russia's anti-tank missiles in the hands of Hezbollah, was one of the problems that IDF faced in this war.

Channel 10 reported that an Israeli forign ministry mission to Russia will demand that these missiles will not get into the hands of Hezbollah in the future.

Friday, August 11, 2006


Does the US trusts Israel's jugment ?

According to the NYTimes Israel has asked for more MRLS rockets. Their deadly effect can be used to destroy Hezbollah rocket launchers. The report suggests that if the US approves the shipment, it will demand from Israel guarantees that it will be used with care (not to hurt uninvolved civilians).

The US knows Israel is under presuure to stop Hezbollah's rocket launchers, and the question is whether US trusts the Israel to use the MLRS rockets only in cases in which civilians will not be harmed.

Update: CNN filmed a burned lebannese that was hurt from a faulty cluster bomb (probably MLRS) when returning to south lebanon. CNN did not confirm the man's claims, but that does not change the effect these pictured had on most viewers. The NYTimes article was probably leaked on purpose, to prevent these kind of news to harm the Bush administration.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Negotiating under fire

The Israeli government is expected to instruct (tonight or tomorrow) the military to go deeper into Lebanon. This comes after the short range Katyusha rockets keep falling on Israeli cities. The longer range missiles are being handled (relativly) well with air force bomings, and commando raids.

Israel knows that the negotiation on the disarment of the Hezbollah is coming, and that its ability to launch rockets on Israel gives it a stronger hand in the negotiation.

09-aug-2006 Update: As expected, Israeli Defence Force got from the government green light to start preparing for a deeper invasion into Lebanon. One thing was odd, that the army presented only one plan (and not several) to the goverment, practically saying take-it-or-leave-it.

19-aug-2006 Update : The Israeli government has delayed the deeper invasion only after the cease fire negotiation has complete (The gun is always more effective before it fires). However, we now know that the operation goal was mainly to boost the morale, and to show that after 30 days of fighting the army advanced more than a few killometers. In practice, since the time was short (about 3 days) before the cease fire started, the army hasted, and the Hezbollah easily spotted the tanks and fired anti-tank missiles. 35 soldiers were killed in 3 days, which is one third of the total soldiers killed in this war. The lebanese government did not wait for the international UM force and sent 15,000 troops to the south. This means that the Israeli troops that advanced will quickly retreat back as the Lebanese army takes control of southern Lebanon. The main question is : how much control ?

Sunday, August 06, 2006


1st UN resolution - The Draft

Yesterday, the French and the US has agreed on a draft for the 1st UN security council resolution. This draft describes the cease fire agreement, the disarming of Hezbollah, but does not cover the deployment of the military force that will replace the Israeli army in southern Lebanon. The French, insisted, not to send any soldier until they have assurances that the fighting is over.

The Lebanese are not satisfied with the draft and will demand to include assurances that their interests will not be forgotten (such as a condition in which the Israeli forces retreat from Lebanon). Saudi Arabia has already called for an Arab conference to backup the Lebanese government proposal. It is very likely that the Lebanese demands will be taken into consideration in the final resolution.

Hezbollah can easily jeopardize this agreement by not disarming. They will use the temporary Israel army in Lebanon as an excuse to "resist the occupation", and practically delay the arrival of the French forces forever. In this scenario, Hezbollah will loose political points in Lebanon. Yes, Hezbollah are ready to fight forever, but it is not for Lebanon's best interest.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Olmert's slip of the tongue

Olmert said in an interview today that the war in Lebanon will enable the disengagement from the west bank (Palestinian territories). Making a statement on a controversial issue hurts the unanimous consensus around his leadership in this war and its goals, and it is unlikely he said it on purpose.

If indeed this is a slip of the tongue, then Olmert actually meant what he said. One of Olmert's concern is that after the disengagement, Palestinian rockets will cover all Israeli major cities. It is now clear that if the missiles from Lebanon and Gaza will not cease after the war, then the disengagement from the west bank will not take place.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Halutz and the hospital

Reports from Friday claim that Dan Halutz Israel defense Force's chief of staff did not feel well, because of fatigue. Today, 4 days later, Channel 10 reporter hinted that his deputy Moshe Kaplinski is taking more decisions than before. Moshe Kaplinski knows the ground forces better than Dan Halutz, and is very familiar with Lebanon territory.

The defense minister was reported to add Gabi Ashkenzazi a few weeks ago to his advisory staff. Gabi also has personal expirience with Lebanon territory.

Together with the reserve divisions that will be entering Lebanon soon, IDF is expected to drive hezbollah away from the Israeli border.

The US is using delay tactics in the UN, which gives IDF a little more time. However, the main question remains - who will "replace" the Israeli army once it pulls out ofLebanon. Will an internation force be willing to enter "Hezbollah" land ? If these forces will mainly include European soldiers, then I expect Israel will be given even more time, to make their job easier.

update 8-aug-2006: Haluz decided that Moshe Kaplinski will (practically) be replacing the northern ground forces commander (Udi Adam).

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