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July 17, 2006
Israeli Raids In Lebanon; Chirac Surrenders

The Israeli army crossed into Lebanon for a series of raids on Hezbollah positions this morning, pulling back across the border quickly when the operations were complete. The continuous volley of rockets at Israel's cities provided the impetus for the raids, with the IDF attempting to force Hezbollah to move their launchers farther away from the border:

A government spokesman said Monday afternoon that IDF ground forces had briefly entered southern Lebanon to target Hizbullah bases along the border in order to push the terrorist group out of rocket-firing range.

Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz declared that the IDF currently had much better alternatives than to launch a major ground incursion into Lebanon.

In addition, the IDF has denied Lebanese news reports that an Israeli F-16 jet was downed near Beirut. Virtually all Lebanese news agencies were showing unclear video footage of what was claimed to be the downed jet.

So far, the IDF still claims to have accounted for all of its fighters. They think the video may be of a downed Air Force drone. If so, it appears to be the only loss suffered by the IDF in its push to cut Hezbollah off from their lines of communication. The Israelis say that they have made it impossible for Hezbollah to replenish their launch sites with replacement missiles, and the airports remain closed today as the IAF hit the storage tanks at Beirut International again. They also hit the Beirut-Damascus highway again in the Bekaa, killing two people and wounding 23, but more importantly blocking the main supply route between Syria and its Hezbollah proxies.

The IDF again emphasized that it will not take action that would draw Syria into the conflict. Israel's chief of staff Gen. Dan Halutz told the Knesset today that Hezbollah wants to get Syria to come to its aid, and so far Syria has resisted the pleas of Sheikh Nasrallah. While Nasrallah sees his supply infrastructure demolished, he keeps looking to Damascus. However, it looks like whoever is still in charge in the Ba'athist dictatorship has also learned to read maps -- and that the impossible logistical position into which the fall of Saddam put them has finally dawned on Damascus.

Nasrallah may be facing his Bay of Pigs moment.

In the meantime, France has sent Dominique de Villepin to surrender on behalf of the Israelis, or something close to it:

France sent Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin to Beirut on Monday to express support for Lebanon, President Jacques Chirac's office said.

The prime minister was set to meet with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora to express French support for and solidarity with the Lebanese, Chirac's office said in a statement.

On Friday, President Jacques Chirac said that the IDF's actions in Lebanon were "totally disproportionate" and asked whether destroying Lebanon was not the ultimate goal. ...

However, Chirac said that he believed another country - likely Syria - was behind the actions of the militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah. "I have the feeling, if not the conviction, that Hamas and Hezbollah wouldn't have taken the initiatives alone," Chirac said.

The French want Israel to stop attacking Hezbollah communication lines within Lebanon. It believes that force should only be used "proportionately" in times of war, which explains why they lost to Germany in 1940 despite having a larger army. The great lesson of the last century has been that anyone wishing to win a war should avoid taking advice from France, and it's comforting in a strange way that France has decided to extend that axiom into the 21st century.

President Bush has the right idea, even if he does express it Texas-style. In an unguarded moment when Bush and Tony Blair thought the microphones were off, Bush gave his opinion on how to stop the bloodshed in the Middle East:

"I think Condi is going to go pretty soon," Bush said.

Blair replied: "Right, that's all that matters, it will take some time to get that together."

The two leaders also referred to an offer by Blair to help. Blair said Rice has "got to succeed" if she goes out to the region.

Bush replied: "What they need to do it to get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit." Shortly afterwards Blair noticed the microphone and hastily switched it off, but not before the recording had reached news media.

That sounds right to me. Now if we can focus on forcing Iran and Syria to stop, everyone will be much better off. (via Hot Air, which has links to the video)

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 17, 2006 8:27 AM

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