July 2006 Archives
July 31, 2006
New York Times Reporter Thom Shanker, writing in a July 30, 2006 report, said "Pound for pound and pounding for pounding, the Israeli military is one of the world's finest. But Hezbollah, with the discipline and ferocity of its fighters and its ability to field advanced weaponry, has taken Israel by surprise."
"Now that surprise has rocketed back to Washington and across the U.S. military," Shanker wrote..
"U.S. officials worry that they are not prepared, either, for Hezbollah's style of warfare - a kind that pits finders against hiders and favors the hiders."
For more, see "New enemy gains on the Pentagon."
Haaretz Correspondent Ze'ev Schiff, writing in a July 31, 2006 post at Haaretz.com, says "Even though the [Israeli] prime minister (Ehud Olmert) announced that Israel will continue its attacks against Hezbollah, even after the sad incident at Qana, and will not accept the demand for an immediate, unconditional cease-fire - he did accede to the American request to limit air-force operations in the area of Beirut. This will be done on condition that Hezbollah will not expand its attacks against other towns in Israel, as its leader, Nasrallah, has recently threatened."
July 27, 2006
Dr. Mai Yamani, Research Fellow in the Middle East Program at The Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in London, raises important questions in a July 26, 2006 article in The Daily Star of Lebanon. "Is the Sunni-Shiite divide in the Middle East now deeper than the antagonism between Israel and the Arabs?" she asks.
"You might think so given the response of some Arab governments to Hizbullah's decision to attack Israel," she says in answering the question. "Even as Israeli bombs fell on Beirut and Tyre, Saudi Arabia, perhaps the most conservative Arab Muslim state of all, openly condemned the actions of the Hizbullah in instigating conflict with Israel. Never before in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict has a state that considers itself a leader of the Arab Muslim peoples come down on Israel's side so openly."
"Moreover," Yamani adds, "Saudi Arabia's breach with Hizbullah is not a one-time occurrence. Egypt and Jordan have also roundly condemned Hizbullah and its leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, for their adventurism."
"What is behind this stunning development?" asks the author of "Cradle of Islam: The Hijaz and the Quest for an Arabian Identity and other books on Islam and the Middle East.
"Are we seeing a fundamental shift in relations between Arab nationalism and Islamic sectarianism? Is Saudi Arabia's Sunni government more concerned and frightened by Shiite Islam than it is committed to Arab unity and the Palestinian cause?"
The Saudi-born scholar says "Arab denunciations of Hizbullah suggest that the Muslim sectarian divide, already evident in the daily violence in Iraq, is deepening and intensifying across the Middle East. President George W. Bush's desire to shatter the Arab world's frozen societies was meant to pit the forces of modernization against the traditional elements in Arab and Islamic societies. Instead, he appears to have unleashed the region's most atavistic forces. Opening this Pandora's Box may have ushered in a new and even uglier era of generalized violence - what can only be called a "Muslim civil war."
For more, please see "Is Israel now the lesser enemy between some Muslims?
July 25, 2006
While I don't usually agree with Djerejian's conclusions on international issues, I do admire his consistent analysis and willingness to engage those of us with contrary opinion.
July 22, 2006
Ronny Sofer, writing at Israel's Ynet News.com, in an August 22, 2006 article headlined "Will Assad save Olmert's hide?," contends that "Internal security minister Avi Dichter's statement that Israel would be willing to trade the Golan Heights in exchange for peace with Syria hit the public and the political establishment like a bombshell."
Sofer said, "Dichter, one of Prime Minister Olmert's closest advisors, made his statements on the heels of Defense Minister Amir Peretz's assertion, before the war ended, that "Israel should examine the Syrian option."
"In addition," Sofer wrote, "Haaretz reported the nomination of Yaakov Dayan to be Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's Syrian advisor, and while meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot, Vice Premier Shimon Peres called on the Syrians to "stop being shy," and to meet with Israel openly, with no preliminary conditions.
"It's the only way we can speak about peace," he said, according to Sofer.