Two-front war: Hezbollah attacks Israel, kidnaps two soldiers (Update: Israel to declare war?) (Debka: Iran prepping to defend Syria) (Breaking: Israeli jets attack Beirut airport)

posted at 9:39 am on July 12, 2006 by Allahpundit

Olmert’s calling it an “act of war” and holding the Lebanese government responsible. JPost describes the provocation:

Hizbullah launched a heavy barrage of Katyusha rockets and mortar shells at IDF positions and communities along the northern frontier on Wednesday morning starting about 9:15 a.m. One rocket scored a direct hit on a house in Shtula. Magen David Adom said they had treated six people so far. Both soldiers and civilians have been wounded. The wounded were being evacuated to Nahariya hospital.

According to the military, an explosive charge detonated under an IDF tank, inflicting casualties.

Haaretz notes the extent of premeditation:

Immediately following the Hezbollah attack, the organization’s Al-Manar television station began broadcasting clips calling on Israel to release Lebanese prisoners held in Israel.

Debka says the IDF knew it was coming but couldn’t stop it:

DEBKAfile’s military sources: Preparations for the Hizballah kidnap operation were sighted well in advance at its border positions. The attack did not therefore come as a surprise. Nonetheless the first IDF probe conducted after the attack found that a Hizballah commando unit transferred from its Baalbek base had managed to infiltrate the northern border, lie in wait for two Israeli Hammer jeeps patrolling the border, and blow them up at around 0900 a.m., injuring 6 soldiers, three critically.

IDF ground troops have crossed the border into southern Lebanon to search for the two. Debka says they’re encountering roadside bombs and missile forces, and alleges that special forces have been airdropped by helicopter into Beirut to intercept the kidnappers before they can find a secure hiding place. Meanwhile, infantry units and armored reserves are being called up.

But here’s the really interesting part, via Ynet:

Hizbullah even had a concrete offer, which binds the two kidnapping affairs – in the north and in the south: A release of the three kidnapped soldiers, including Corporal Gilad Shalit, in exchange for the release of thousands of prisoners, including Lebanese prisoners who are still held by Israel.

Either Hezbollah’s blowing smoke or they’re coordinating with Hamas — yet another example of Shiite and Sunni terrorists working hand in hand towards a common cause. Both organizations rely heavily on Syria for logistical support as well, a fact which is very much on the minds of the Israeli government:

From the IDF’s perspective, the entire “northern front,” as it is called in Israel, is involved up to its neck in the kidnapped soldier affair. Once and again Jerusalem has blamed senior Hamas members in Damascus for planning the abduction and have pointed a finger at Syrian President Bashar Assad, including launching aerial flights by IAF warplanes over his palace.

Is this it for Assad? One more fly-by for the IAF, but this time for keeps?

As for Gilad Shalit, he’s still alive according to the Arab newspaper al-Hayat, which has details about the conditions under which he’s being held.

There are sure to be updates throughout the day so I’m going to toss this into Top Picks.

Update: Nick Blanford of the Times of London reports on the mood in Lebanon:

[T]he capture of two Israeli soldiers fits perfectly with Hezbollah’s ideological goals but on a practical level, the group is also taking an enormous risk. Hezbollah is under an awful lot of domestic pressure from Lebanese who support its political movement but are unhappy that it remains an armed organisation. Today’s violence has invited a huge response from Israel.

That said, I’ve spent the morning driving through Shia villages in southern Lebanon where there has been a feeling of happiness and celebration. Children are flying yellow Hezbollah flags and cheering supporters have set up impromptu roadside stops to hand out sweets, a traditional gesture of celebration.

lebanon.jpg

Update: The IDF says it’s hit 30 targets in Lebanon so far this morning. The Lebanese prime minister demands that Kofi Annan stop the Zionist aggression.

Update: And Annan promptly rolls over. Good dog!

Update: Israel confirms that not only were two soldiers kidnapped in the attack this morning, three were killed. Update: Strike that. JPost says seven were killed.

Update: Fox says the State Department is calling the kidnappings an “act of terrorism.”

Update: Airstrikes are coming, says Reuters.

Update: Ynet says that of the seven Israeli soldiers killed, three died in the raid itself and four in the tank explosion mentioned at the beginning of this post.

Update: Euphoric Reality is hearing from her sources that the gloves will officially come off tonight when Israel formally declares war.

Just for context, Bill Clinton was quoted yesterday in Colorado as saying of course he’d talk to Hamas.

Update: It’s not just Israel that’s pointing the finger at Assad. The U.S. blames Syria and Iran for Hezbollah’s actions.

Update: Three makes it a trend: blame is being laid at the feet of Syria by none other than Hosni Mubarak.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak implicitly accused Damascus of wrecking his attempts to mediate a deal for the release of Cpt. Cpl. Gilad Shalit, snatched by Hamas-linked militants on June 25.

Hamas was subjected to “counter-pressures by other parties, which I don’t want to name but which cut the road in front of the Egyptian mediation and led to the failure of the deal after it was about to be concluded,” Mubarak told Cairo’s Al-Ahram Al-Massai newspaper.

Update: If this came from anyone else it would merit its own post. Debka says Ali Larijani, Iran’s chief nuke negotiator, is in Damascus right now pursuant to the Iran-Syria defense pact. The idea is to ensure that any attack on Syria by Israel will be treated as an attack on Iran.

A quick of the wires confirms that Larijani is, in fact, in Damascus. Take it away, Debka:

The Syrian army has been put on a state of preparedness.

DEBKAfile’s military sources add that the Iranian air force, missile units and navy are also on high alert.

DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report Hizballah acted on orders from Tehran to open a second front against Israel, partly to ease IDF military pressure on the Hamas in the Gaza Strip. This was in response to an appeal Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal made to the Iranian ambassador to Damascus Mohammad Hassan Akhtari Sunday, July 9.

DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources report Tehran’s rationale as composed of three parts:

1. Iran shows the flag as a champion and defender of its ally, Hamas.

2. Sending Hizballah to open a warfront against Israel is the logical tactical complement to its latest order to go into action against American and British forces in southern Iraq.

3. Tehran hopes to hijack the agenda before the G-8 summit opening in St. Petersberg, Russia on July 15. Instead of discussing Iran’s nuclear case and the situation in Iraq along the lines set by President George W. Bush, the leaders of the industrial nations will be forced to address the Middle East flare-up.

Update: I’m late with the news, but an IAF bomb completely demolished the Palestinian foreign ministry earlier tonight. Israel is bracing for reprisals in the form of long-range Hezbollah rockets capable of reaching some of its cities in the north, like Haifa.

Update: Is a third front about to open — inside Israel?

Update: Josh Trevino, a.k.a. Tacitus, looks into his crystal ball:

Israel left Lebanon: the Lebanese now attack Israel proper. Israel left Gaza: the Gazans now attack Israel proper. Israel walled off the West Bank: the Palestinians there elect Hamas. A pattern emerges.

And so, today, we see that what is old is new, and vice versa. Israel has invaded Lebanon and Gaza, reconquering what was conquered and given up once and more before. We know what will be done: Israel will flounder about for a bit and eventually withdraw once its captive soldiers — and most probably their corpses — are returned.

Update: Reuters reports that three shells have struck Beirut’s international airport. The article says they might have come from gunboats or Israeli aircraft. A banner up at CNN says it’s the latter, and they weren’t shells — they were missiles.


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It’s all one war. From Gaza to Bali to Baghdad to New York City.

Just one war.

Go get ‘em, Israel.

Pablo on July 12, 2006 at 9:48 AM

The religion of peace strikes again.

It’s time for Israel to take the gloves off and kick major ass.

speed647 on July 12, 2006 at 10:09 AM

If you haven’t read it already, you should take some time and go over to Iraq The Model and read the July 8th post. Mohammed and Omar culled thru an Arabic BBC forum and put together a representative list of comments from the posters.

In that post you’ll see some amazing remarks made by Iraqis supporting Israel defending itself, and calling for Muslims to turn from the barbarity of the past and join the modern world.

I hope it’s not just taqyia, but it was encouraging to read those responses. Would that more of the islamic world would speak out like this and with greater volume.

techno_barbarian on July 12, 2006 at 10:09 AM

techno,
don’t count on the islamic world to speak out against violence. it goes against their nature.

pullingmyhairout on July 12, 2006 at 10:13 AM

The muslim world might speak out against violence, but will never do anything about it. The one exception seems to be the Iraqi troops, who have figured out what the real score is.

Oh, you’ll see efforts in places like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Jordon to go after internal terrorists; but they continue to export money and other support to groups outside their countrries; They’ll fight terrorsim, all right…. unless it’s directed against infidels.

If the terrorists get the global war they want, the Muslims will lose big time! The so-called moderate Muslims have to rise up against their lunatics, or it is their religon and people that will pay the price.

Mike O on July 12, 2006 at 10:26 AM

The muslim world might speak out against violence, but will never do anything about it. The one exception seems to be the Iraqi troops, who have figured out what the real score is.

Mike, the second sentence contradicts the first. “…who have figured out what the real score is.”

That’s what it takes to make it happen. There’s your model. Never say never.

Pablo on July 12, 2006 at 10:48 AM

I see in the photo another generation of Lebanese who will learn the hard lesson that there’s only so much bullshit Israel will tolerate. The celebrating will stop soon enough.

Pavel on July 12, 2006 at 10:49 AM

Another b**chslapping from Israel coming up! I’m going to pop the popcorn—

Six days!

Lady Heather on July 12, 2006 at 11:13 AM

Bingo, Pablo. I have great hope that rank-and-file Muslims will eventually rise up against the terrorist mindset. But it won’t happen if we dither.

Pavel on July 12, 2006 at 11:18 AM

Is this how World War III ends up? A Muslim caliphate?

Palestine, Syria, Iran, North Korea
Vs.
United States, Israel, Great Britain, Australia, Japan?

Plus all sorts of side plots (Lebanon, Yemen, Pakistan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Northeast Africa as sympathizers on one side: Poland, India, and a few others in Europe on our side? Russia possibly playing both sides, China sitting on the sidelines, cheering for both to lose?

Battlegrounds all over the Middle East and in the largest cities of the Allies? Profiling and restriction of Muslims throughout the Allied world, not quite matching the Japanese-American internments, but coming close?

Will nukes get used? (Probably, if the Islamofascist side gets some.) Most importantly, does Western culture have the collective resolve to win one more time?

The Islamofascists insist on repeating history, it seems. And- like the Nazis before them- they are likely to seriously damage, if not destroy, that which they profess to love (in this case, a religion).

If this does turn into Word War III, either the Muslim world or Western culture will be massively damaged (or both), possibly beyond repair. Being the latter has proven to be accepting of other worlds and cultures, whereas the former has not, the world will be far better off if the Allies prevail and do so rapidly. But it is by no means certain.

Mike O on July 12, 2006 at 11:30 AM

pullingmyhairout

I hear you, believe me.

and Pavel

Therein lies the biggest challenge to resolution of this problem. The young are constantly being brainwashed and fed and taught the bloodlust and hate.

That’s why this is destined to be a very long war indeed. Until those kids are taught something other than hate, this conflict will continue.

The same sort of brainwashing has been happening for the past 30 years or so in our own schools and colleges, and I’m greatly concerned for the future.

I made lots of bad choices when I was a kid, and didn’t come around to just how bad they were until years after the fact. I just hope the students of today don’t take as long as I did to come around.

techno_barbarian on July 12, 2006 at 11:31 AM

Mike O:
I think you’ve outlined exactly how it’s likely to play out.

And very soon, too, I believe.

There will come a time, actually, I think we’re long past time, when the gloves will have to come off and we actually get tough and use the very great power we possess.

Islam only really respects and fears power. Anything else is perceived as weakness, and just encourages more defiant violence.

techno_barbarian on July 12, 2006 at 11:39 AM

Don’t forget a billion Indians sitting right in the middle of all this, or the 1.5 billion Chinese on the sidelines.

Will nukes get used? (Probably, if the Islamofascist side gets some.)

Iran’s ambitions aside, Musharraf is the only thing standing between here and there.

Pablo on July 12, 2006 at 11:46 AM

A good opportunity to take out the 12,000 rockets pointed at Israel, before Iran needs to be taken care of.

Kim Hartveld on July 12, 2006 at 12:31 PM

Fox says the State Department is calling the kidnappings an “act of terrorism.”

It appears that USG/DoS has not supported Olmert’s view, that this is an act of War.

This may mean that the U.S. will pressure Israel to conduct activity which is more consistent with reprisals to an act of terrorism (limited in duration, severity and geography).

The DoS statement does not appear to support Israel waging decisive war in S. Lebanon, Gaza and Judea-Samaria/W. Bank.

Sad.

MarcH on July 12, 2006 at 12:47 PM

Silly arabs kidnappings are so 80′s.

Don’t tug on Superman’s cape, don’t spit into the wind, and don’t F*** with Israel. How many a$$kickings can one group of people take? Israel is all in, they have nothing to lose and will bomb the arabs back into the stone age to prove it. Arabs should be thankful that Israel does not just take a few oil fields for kicks.

Theworldisnotenough on July 12, 2006 at 12:52 PM

Left in a Bubble
Leftist appeasement only encourages enemies. It doesn’t make sense that someone would commit suicide just to kill us, so leftists REFUSE to believe it. These Jihadists are in it to the bitter end while Leftist America, like Leftist Israelis, lives in a fantasy bubble. As the Israelis are finding out, the bubble bursts and in the end there is no choice. The longer definitive victory is put off the more casualties we will suffer.

Reality Check on July 12, 2006 at 1:14 PM

This is funny, uh oh, in that the naive around the world and especially in this country still cling to the belief that this is about land or slights of one family against another. In reality everyone needs to wake up and realize that Islamofascists are real and the word is not just a punch line. The group of Muslims that follow Sharia law and believe “my way or the highway” are out there in large numbers. We should understand that in their mind their order from God is every living Homo Sapien submit to Sharia Law or be executed. Theirs is a world Government. Run unswervingly by their fascist (in the image of Nazi Germany) ideals. The only response to them is renounce fascism or die. Israel, I think, is quite reserved and polite in their responses to fascism all things considered.

Priest on July 12, 2006 at 1:24 PM

Israel shows amazijg restraint, kinda like us, by not using it’s full military might. If the terrorists had Israel’s power, you know damn well they’d use it without mercy. Keep throwing rocks ya friggin’ cavemen, the Mossad will be coming to visit you soon.

Tony737 on July 12, 2006 at 1:36 PM

Hey guys
Just pray tonight
This is going to be ugly one way or another. I agree with you all, probably more vehemently because I’m Jewish and a hard core Zionist. But I hate seeing this all go down like it is. The entire Jewish community world wide is going to be praying this goes well and ends fast. I haevt eh very real fear, like Mike O said, this will spark a very big region wide war and if so, all bets are off as to how Iraq responds.

Defector01 on July 12, 2006 at 2:17 PM

“Palestine, Syria, Iran, North Korea
Vs.
United States, Israel, Great Britain, Australia, Japan?”

I wouldn’t place too much faith in U.K. They are becoming more and more subservient to the muslims as each day passes. On top of that, political correctness has literally diseased the minds of most of the middle aged and younger folks.

darwin on July 12, 2006 at 2:39 PM

Not the younger folk I know, darwin; my son’s generation (18 – 25) is kind of fed up with all the PCness. And those in the military (my son isn’t) really is fed up.

Until these leftists go over there and live under the control of all these lunatics they defend, I don’t want to here from them.

Mike O on July 12, 2006 at 2:52 PM

I hope Israel put some hurt on Syria. Those bastards have used proxies for decades and avoided any real costs to themselves.

Clark1 on July 12, 2006 at 3:01 PM

Seriously, can Israel win a war against 4/5th of the middle east?
I don’t think so.
If Isreal declares war, will we help her?
A war is coming, we all know that. But is this it? Or will Israel find herself alone against Millions of Muslims?
America is spread thin and torn with internal pressures. I bet most Americans could care less what happens to Israel, as long as gas stays under three bucks a gallon. Will these Americans call for a war? Will the leftist media report honestly on whats going, or will they propagate the myth that the problems in the region are all Israels fault, and if they would just quit persecuting the poor Palestinians all would be rainbow bright in the world?
I am just hoping that when it all hits the fan peoples eyes will finaly be opened to whats going on and that we aren’t destroyed by “PC army of multi culteral forces”

Wyrd on July 12, 2006 at 3:31 PM

“Seriously, can Israel win a war against 4/5th of the middle east?
I don’t think so.”

Are you serious? Who could challenge Israel militarily? The Syrians? The Lebanese? If they could do so they would have done it long ago (remember the Six Days war?). No way the Jordanians or Egyptians get involved this time either. The only real military power inclined to attack Israel is Iran, and they are pretty far away. That’s why Israel rightly fear Iranian nukes.

Clark1 on July 12, 2006 at 4:00 PM

Clark is right. Only Iran has the military forces to go up against Israel, but they’d hafta get by us in Iraq along the way. I say we let ‘em go, then sit back and watch Israel mop the floor with them.

Israel, using American weapons, kicked arab ass, using Soviet weapons and superior numbers, twice. I doubt the muslims wanna try round three. On second thought, Ahmahjihadist does wanna get his ass kicked by Israel ’cause he thinks it’ll bring back the 12th imam, armageddon and islam’s worldwide victory. Buy a gun. Death before dhimmitude!

Tony737 on July 12, 2006 at 4:13 PM

And remember, there are American planes & ships in the area.
Plus our forces in Iraq..is Iran crazy enough to help Syria with our people right next door???

Abigail Adams on July 12, 2006 at 4:15 PM

If this thing gets out of hand, and I think it will, don’t think that China, Russia, NK will fail to make utmost use of the opportunity to make their moves on Taiwan, SK, and some of the former USSR republics. And that’s my optimistic scenario.

dhimwit on July 12, 2006 at 4:33 PM

I agree with Clark. If history is any indication, Jordan and Egypt will stay out of it. And if Iran does anything directly, it risks being turned into a glass bowl. Israel doesn’t put up with the crap that the US does.

If a full blown war breaks out, my money is on Israel.

.

GT on July 12, 2006 at 4:58 PM

I have to agree with Clark’s ascessment. History being what it is, I suspect Jordan and Egypt will stay out of it militarily.

And if a full blown war does break out, my money is on Israel.

.

GT on July 12, 2006 at 5:00 PM

Thats why I love this site, ask a question get a good answer :)

If Jordan and Egypt stay out, I wonder how many of their people would still go and fight the holy war?

Wyrd on July 12, 2006 at 5:23 PM

Quite a few Wyrd
teh Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt would sponsor rallies to join up not to mentionjust general unpleasant opinions of israel will lead to new recruits and volunteers. But then coming face to face with an Israeli Merkev tank (rivals the Abrams) and a flight of F-16s will fix that.

Iraq will stay out but that’s up in the air
Saudi Arabia will send a small group to appease the Wahibis
Other gulf states its a toss up
Libya will help out as will Tunisia

Abigail, yes the Iranians are nuts enough to help out but it means they won’t pick a fight with the Americans, they’ll ask to go around or something

Defector01 on July 12, 2006 at 5:26 PM

Unless Turkey allows Iran to fly over… Iran really has problems supporting Syria…

Only other routes are over the Gulf, which we control, then Saudi Arabia…

Big question is going to be Egypt. Israel can dominate a one front war… but it becomes problematic if forces are also coming from Egypt.

IMO this is all part of Iran’s plan to force Saudi Arabia, and the more moderate Islamic states to “choose sides”. If they choose the West and Israel, many militants in those countries will join the Jihad… and create havoc in those countries… giving Iran the time it needs to complete the bomb. If they choose Iran/Syria, it gives support to the idea of Jihad… and they can continue with their Bomb, and perhaps even engage Israel in a non winable war.

Either way, its a very Machiavelian play.

Romeo13 on July 12, 2006 at 5:59 PM

Well, there is “precedent” for the releasing of prisoners by Israel. In the not distant past Israel traded 100,s of prisoners for one Israeli civilian and 3 dead bodies of IDF members. Israel should never have set this precedent. It is now time (hopefully this time) to end this practice.
Hopefully the next time Israel does a fly-by over Syria, they will drop some munitions.

gary on July 12, 2006 at 6:13 PM

Israel Just took out the Palestinian Foreign Ministry in Gaza.

Pablo on July 12, 2006 at 7:04 PM

If Iran so as much as blinks, it’s Osirak, part Deux.

Kid from Brooklyn on July 12, 2006 at 7:36 PM

Israel Just took out the Palestinian Foreign Ministry in Gaza.

Yeah, but it was in the middle of the night. Apparently few, if any, people were in the building. Message, but no delivery.

ScottG on July 12, 2006 at 7:51 PM

While you are choosing up sides, keep in mind that India is probably pretty pissed at the jihadists right now, also.

B Moe on July 12, 2006 at 9:20 PM

This whole thing stinks of divine inspiration. I think that nutcase Ahmadenijad has convinced himself that Allah (the fake one, not the Pundit) is going to give victory to the faithful.

I hope Israel hands him his ass on a platter. Israel’s lead in military technology must surely have widened in the 39 years since the Six Days’ War. The U.S. has already showed that the faithful fold up in any direct confrontation with Western military training, tactics, and technology. If the U.S. can take and hold Afghanistan and Iraq, surely Israel can at least incapacitate Lebanon and Syria, and thereby give Iran’s Ahmadenijad a humiliating spanking.

Kralizec on July 12, 2006 at 11:42 PM

Dubya just called the Palis actions “pathetic” in a news conference with Merkel.

Pathetic, indeed.

Pablo on July 13, 2006 at 7:00 AM

Meanwhile, kossacks express their love for The Tribe:


Imagine a world without Israel

Pablo on July 13, 2006 at 7:41 AM

It’s going to be interesting to see who sides with Israel – and who “sits” out while talking.

msflea on July 13, 2006 at 8:48 AM

Can’t Israel be our N. Korea? So let’s play China: ” Boy! oh Boy! Those nutjob jews! ….after we told distinctly them not to even think about nuking Damascus and Tehran! …haul ‘em up before the security council?….wealllll……let’s not be over hasty there…”

dhimwit on July 13, 2006 at 9:44 AM

Pablo –
Wow! I checked out your link. It turns my stomach. It amazes me how they compare Bush to Hitler — yet they appear to idolize him (Hitler). Mind boggling

wytammic on July 13, 2006 at 10:21 AM

Well, at least you can expect the New York Times to be rational about it. Or not.

Once Again, Gazans Are Displaced by Israeli Occupiers

Pablo on July 13, 2006 at 10:44 AM