July 17, 2006

The Word On the "Street"

Hatched by Sachi

From Dafydd: N.Z. Bear, he of the Truth-Laid Bear fame, has a marvelous aggregator page of bloggers from all across the Middle East, plus some important and powerful bloggers right here in the United States -- movers and shakers, opinion-mongers, and "pundants" (such as Big Lizards): Crisis In the Middle East. This page is a must-view.


For many years now, Moslem dictators have used the same old trick: whenever their domestic policies hit a wall, they turn around and point a finger at the nearest Jew.

"It is not the time to squabble amongst Moslems. We need to unite against the Israeli aggression. We need to mobilize for freedom. We need to focus on defense." Never mind the economy is in a shambles due to the corruption, incompetence, and stupid policies of the Arab leadership. A quarter of their citizens unemployed and starving, bandits and police working hand in hand intimidating citizens to extort money and favors. That's not the issue; that’s not important. The urgent task is to defeat the Zionist Jews.

The tactic has worked for decades; it still does, to a certain degree. But, more and more Moslems across the world are getting weary of this same old excuse.

They hardly ever see any Jews; how could the Jews be responsible for their misery? They don’t even know what Israelis do, except fight against Palestinians, which concerns nobody. Nobody likes, respects, or cares about the Palestinians as anything other than a political stick to bash the "Zionist entity."

But even the Moslems who are critical of the Israeli “occupation” have strong words for the Palestinians. After all, Israel had, until quite recently, already left Gaza. The most obvious and immediate effect of the twin attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah was to bring the Jews back!

Saudi columnist Yusuf Nasir Al-Suweidan made a prediction on June 25, 2006. At that time, Israelis had not yet invaded Gaza; but he correctly prophecied that Hamas' attack on Israeli would bring about a far worse situation for Palestinians than the status quo... because, he said, this time Israel would not “react like 'harmless lambs.'”

[T]his time, a new reality will be created in the Gaza Strip in which all talk about 'back to square one' will be nothing but wild optimism -- since the [situation] will regress [far beyond that], to a level where it is possible to talk of a plan of deportation [of Palestinians] and demographic change in Gaza, and this [plan] might even be implemented soon. This will turn the Palestinian dream of an independent state into a thing of the past....

The main mistake lies in the fact that the Palestinian organizations did not respond correctly to the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza... and its consequences. Instead of beating their swords into plowshares, pens, and other things that are needed for the development of Palestinian society -- in terms of the economy, society, culture, and so on -- most of them read the developments incorrectly and immaturely. This was exploited by the terrorist networks, that are funded and run by the regimes of the ayatollahs in Tehran and the Ba'th [party] in Syria, and [people] have been taken in by delusions and empty slogans like 'liberation from the river to the sea' [that are heard] among the poor, hungry, and desperate Palestinian masses. At present, what [these masses] need most is food, medicines, clothing, and other essentials _ not explosive belts, car bombs, and the slogan, "Congratulations, oh Martyr, the black-eyed virgin awaits you."

Attacks from Hamas against Israel are nothing new. However illogical, we cannot expect too much from Hamas. But what about the attack from Hezbollah? Israel left Lebanon in the year 2000. Since then, all has been quiet on the northern front. Why should Hezbollah arouse Israel now?

In Lebanon, after Syrian forces left, the power of Hezbollah began to weaken. The pressure to disarm the Hezbollah military wing gets stronger every day. Hezbollah was desperate to do something; they needed to divert the Lebanese citizens attention to somewhere else. But where? Why, the Jews, of course. They had to show the Lebanese that they still "needed" Syrian troops to protect from "Israeli aggression."

But, for some odd reason, this time, the Lebanese are not buying it. As their houses are being bombed, they are not necessarily blaming Israel; as Dafydd said, the public opinion of the Arab and Persian Moslems is up for grabs.

A Lebanese blogger, Fouad, has this to say.

We are ALL guilty. ALL OF US. Emergency hiwar watani session??? I am not sure if I should laugh or puke my guts out on the table. Let it be known to all. We are scared, our lives are on the line, our country is history, but it's all our fault. Each and every one of us. These are the people we elected, these are the people we let freely thrive in their little haven of hatred and murderous ideals, and this is us, scared and incapacitated, failing but to point fingers and complain. Well let me tell you this folks, we pulled our pants down and stuck our naked asses out, and now that we're ******, we really don't have jack **** to complain about.

Now, don’t get me wrong; as Fouad says, "there is no love lost between the lebanese people and the israeli leadership." Fouad and others have plenty to say about Israel’s aggression.

Under the circumstance, I cannot blame them. However, a blogger like Fouad correctly realizes it's Hezbollah who brought this to Lebanon. Israel is simply reacting to terrorist incursion.

Another Lebanese blogger Bob says:

And tomorrow when I will see the destroyed bridge linking my home town of Saida to Beirut, I will only say from the bottom of my heart: Enough! Enough wars, death and destruction! Curse you Hezbollah to hell and back! For all this destruction, for all this death! No it is not Israel fault; it is your own. Curse you!

Even though Hezbollah is hiding among the Lebanese, it is Iran -- and it's client state Syria -- which is behind the attacks. I wish Israel could bypass Lebanon and attack Syria directly. What do Syrian bloggers think of this?

Ammar Abdulhamid, who is Syrian but now lives in Maryland with his wife, has this to say:

[T]he national discourse and the constant calls for mobilization against a declared enemy were at best a diversionary measure meant to postpone any serious consideration of our developmental problems and our ruling regimes’ corruption and inherent authoritarian predilections.

For this reason, I never really believed in the conflict against Israel….

[T]he issue ahead of us if that of Hezbollah and Hamas being wielded as instruments of provocation by Syria and Iran to stir up another national liberation conflict and mobilize us all for the march to hell, with many of us applauding all the way.

All wishful thinking aside, I just don’t think that Israel is going to lose this round, and I think that the going-ons in Lebanon are only a prelude for the eventual and now inevitable confrontation with Syria, with all sorts of disastrous implications and consequences for our people.

I don't think Hamas or Hezbollah -- let alone Syria and Iran -- ever considered the "disastrous implications and consequences" of their acts of war against Israel. They only wanted to remind people of the Jewish threat and convince them they still needed the terrorist armies to protect them from Israel.

Instead, they brought the fury of Israel down upon them like fiery manna from Sheol. This was not in their plan; in fact, they are stunned by Israeli's reaction:

Hezbollah was surprised by Israel's response.

When they dreamed up this plan in January, they thought the Israelis would respond as usual: bomb a few Hezbollah positions on the border, and perhaps attack Palestinian militant camps. They were not expecting the attack to occur at this fragile time with the Palestinians.

Instead, the Israelis massively destroyed Lebanese infrastructure. Bridges throughout South Lebanon have been destroyed. Almost the entire South is without power.

If Hezbollah looked at reality instead of believing their own propaganda, they could have guessed this was going to happen... especialy after they saw what was already going on in Gaza at the precise moment they attacked Israel and kidnapped two soldiers.

True story: when Dafydd and I hiked in Yosemite, we were told not to cook near the camp ground. The smell, the rangers said, will attract bears. Despite all the warnings, some retardo decided to cook a whole mess of sausages on a grill he set up -- right next to his tent, right near our own tent (in Camp Curry).

That night, two black bears came roaring down to the camp ground and scared the heck out of the campers (we were already leaving that night for the Wawona Lodge). Fortunately no human was hurt; but one bear had to be shot by the "danger rangers."

Sure, the bears were the critters directly threatening our lives. But ultimately, the guy who cooked food and drew them down from the mountains should be held more responsible than the bears. The bears were just being bears; this dull-witted chef was being a dangerous fool.

Will the people in the Middle East ever hold their leadership responsible? Will they ever understand who lured the bears into camp? The jury is still out. But at least this time, the opinion of the infamous "Arab street" is up for grabs.

Hatched by Sachi on this day, July 17, 2006, at the time of 4:17 AM

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The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith

Outstanding post, Sachi. I exerpted and linked at Old War Dogs.

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 17, 2006 5:20 AM

The following hissed in response by: James H

Great post. I will do a shout out on it. A couple of thoughts. The Lebanon situation is extremely delicate as I keep saying on my blog. I do feel that this fledging Democracy movement has taken a tad more criticism than it should. Especially sice the Syrais just left, the intelligence services are still around. But as I have said if at the end of the day no matter how much Israel bombs(which I support) if this Lebanese Govt and movement is not standing at the end of the day then it will be a defeat of disatrous proportions that only for Israel but for the World. I think that must be beared in mind and I pray to God Israel kkeps remembering that when doing military targeting.

The above hissed in response by: James H [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 17, 2006 7:21 AM

The following hissed in response by: MTF

I'm told by a Lebanese friend that the problem in fighting for "hearts and minds" is that the poor among Lebanese Shia depend substantially on Hezbollah for even basic necessities, like food. If that's true then it'll be hard to convince anyone living in regions seriously dependant on Hezbollah to push back against policies or actions the populations doesn't like, even when Hezbollah does something stupid, dangerous or terribly short-sighted (like attacking Israel).

Another problem the Israelis obviously have is striking Hezbollah militarily. They really don't seem to have any armories to destroy, any bases to blow up, concentrations of troops easy to kill or even a headquarters building to demolish. They can always be resupplied surreptitiously via the Bekaa/Syrian border. They look even more asymmetric than Hamas in this regard.

If the Israelis are hoping for some sort of Lebanese "Black September" event I'd really like to know what that scenario is supposed to look like, or be brought into being.

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 17, 2006 8:01 AM

The following hissed in response by: Papa Ray

MTF brings up the age old problem of figuring out where and who are the bad guys, when they live, look and will act just like the innocents that surround them.

The wonderful thing about TET was the bad guys came out and tried to fight like regular soldiers.

Of course we killed them by the thousands.

Israel has no more chance of going in and finding the bad guys in group formation waiting to die than we did with the VC. Well, maybe, they don't seem so bright sometimes.

But it's not going to happen anyway, the world won't allow Israel to continue the hunt and the killing.

Which means no real progress, and Syria and Iran come out stronger and Israel hated even more.

Papa Ray
West Texas

The above hissed in response by: Papa Ray [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 17, 2006 12:36 PM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye

I think Israel knows who the bad guys are and where they live, the problem is the same one it has always been, they live with the people.

Hezbellah has done the same thing Sadr is doing in Sadr city, they exploit the poor, the people with noting to lose.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 17, 2006 12:43 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E


Excellent post.


As a great American (whether you think he was or not) once said, "There you go again."

Back to the inane one-liners, eh? I guess Sachi should take it as a sort of backhanded compliment that you couldn't come up with any reasoned (or reasonable) arguments against her, so you just resort to weak wisecracks that have nothing whatever to do with what she is talking about.

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 17, 2006 3:47 PM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye


When Bill Clinton said that not only did Saddam Hussein have weapons of mass destruction but that he {Slick Willy} guaranteed that Saddam would use them was he a liar?

I left the Democratic party because they say stupid things all the time and rather than deal with the truth, they just pretend they never said it. I heard Bush say that he regretted using those words, but you know what? I have lost all patience with people who can become so outraged because the US enforced UN Resolutions and removed a dictator from power. It is almost as if the lefties just loved dictators.

Well, given their track record of enabling and supporting mass murderers, maybe they do. One thing is for sure, the bears were already in Iraq long before Bush ever sent any Americans in there. Just because the press either ignored the situation or lied aobut it for access does not change the facts.

Darfur is shaping up to be another instance of the same thing. While the left babbles on about the big bad US removing Saddam from power hundreds of thousands face death in the Sudan. But mum is the word, the place is run by Islamists, so we don't want to look too pushy or anything. Better to mourn for Hussein and now Hezbellah, poor widdle Hezbellah.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 17, 2006 4:34 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dick E

Yes, monkyboy, really.

Neither your one-liner nor your follow-up has anything to do with what Sachi is discussing: The current situation involving Israel, Lebanon Hezbollah and Hamas. Nowhere does she mention Iraq. In fact the very first time the word Iraq appears on this web page is in your post.

Yours is simply a feeble attempt to redirect conversation to the left-wingnut meme -- Bush as warmonger.

Well, I for one won't bite. And I hope no one else does either. Save it for a time when the topic of conversation is Iraq or American Mideast policy or at least something that is remotely relevant.

Dafydd is right. I, too, liked the monkyboy of the preceding several days much better. Then you were at least trying to make arguments, rather than snarky zingers.

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 17, 2006 5:10 PM

The following hissed in response by: M. Simon

This is just for you monkey boy,

Arabs side with Israel.

Rarely have I seen such an uprising, indeed an intifada, against those little turbaned, bearded men across the Muslim landscape as the one that took place last week. The leader of Hezbollah, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, received a resounding "no" to pulling 350 million Arabs into a war with Israel on his clerical coattails.

The collective "nyet" was spoken by presidents, emirs, and kings at the highest level of government in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Morocco, and at the Arab League's meeting of 22 foreign ministers in Cairo on Saturday. But it was even louder from pundits and ordinary people.

Perhaps the most remarkable and unexpected reaction came from Saudi Arabia, whose foreign minister, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, said bluntly and publicly that Hezbollah's decision to cross the Lebanese border, attack Israel, and kidnap its soldiers has left the Shiite group on its own to face Israel. The unspoken message here was, "We hope they blow you away."

The above hissed in response by: M. Simon [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 17, 2006 11:08 PM

The following hissed in response by: Linh_My

It is odd to see Saudi Arabia being noticeable less anti-Semitic than the UN. I'm still shaking my head on that one.

The above hissed in response by: Linh_My [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 18, 2006 12:43 AM

The following hissed in response by: MTF


Sachi posted Saudi criticism of Hamas in her post, which I recommend for your reading and contemplation-- it might just penetrate the deep fog of your confusion:

This time, a new reality will be created in the Gaza Strip in which all talk about 'back to square one' will be nothing but wild optimism -- since the [situation] will regress [far beyond that], to a level where it is possible to talk of a plan of deportation [of Palestinians] and demographic change in Gaza, and this [plan] might even be implemented soon. This will turn the Palestinian dream of an independent state into a thing of the past....

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 18, 2006 6:21 AM

The following hissed in response by: MTF

That's an entertaining response monkyboy.

Under slightly different circumstances I wouldn't be surprised to see you arguing that "there is no freedom of expression in Saudi Arabia, and something published in the papers by a 'journalist' (sneer) should only be regarded as a parroting of the government's views and opinions!"

Oh well.

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 18, 2006 1:34 PM

The following hissed in response by: MarkD


1. What plan to ship anyone anywhere? I reread what MTF wrote, and just don't follow this at all. What do you mean by that? - no snark intended.

2. What mechanism did Bush use to raise the price of oil? Here's why I ask: There are an estimated 5,000 additional cars per day being added to to the roads in China. And a few thousand more in India. How this is a result of Republican policy? I thought the Republicans wanted to drill ANWR, which should have resulted in lower oil prices.

3. I thought the Democrats were a lock to retake both houses of Congress in November. You don't sound so sure. Is that because "a generic Democrat" polls better than the real candidates? I don't like Bush that much either. But he didn't have to be perfect. He only had to be better than Gore and Kerry to get my vote. That was a low bar to hurdle. Clinton is not the one, sorry. I'd sooner vote for McCain, and he has serious issues in my mind - especially with respect to the first amendment. I'm not aware of any Texan who is a serious candidate from either party.

The above hissed in response by: MarkD [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 18, 2006 7:22 PM

The following hissed in response by: cdquarles


The US Military is not burning up 16% of our current production. The source you linked to in a previous thread did not confirm your claim.

About your China claim, here is a source that shows otherwise: http://www.bp.com/
energy_reviews_2006/STAGING/local_assets/downloads/pdf/oil_section_2006.pdf (I had to insert line breaks). You can find it from the home page: http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9009500&contentId=7017952. Click on the Oil Consumption link. The whole .pdf has both production data and consumption data.

The above hissed in response by: cdquarles [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 19, 2006 12:18 AM

The following hissed in response by: MTF

For those interested I wanted to share this description at Vital Perspective of the Hezbollah missle capability I ran across on the web via Joe's Dartblog.

Really interesting chart too on the ranges (you have to go to the main page and scroll down).

Israel is doing us all a favor defanging Hezbollah, as the governments of much of the Arab world obviously recognize. The lefties in America, like the despicable Richard Cohen (and even a certain poster here) just can't seem to acknowledge that fact.

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 19, 2006 10:46 AM

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