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“They have said, ‘Come,
and let us destroy them as a nation,
that the name of Israel
may be remembered no more’.”
(Psalm 83:4)

My dear Reader,
The expected showdown between Israel and Hamas Palestinians has unfolded before our eyes over
the last two months. And the expected Hizballah “second front” opened up and developed into a full
scale war that evidently neither side really expected at this time.
It has been a time of testing response, reactions, strength, and weapons systems. And it was clearly
a test run for a wider, future war.
Tremendous misery followed the folly of the ideo-logical fanaticism that unleashed “the dogs of
war.” And as in all wars, the innocent suffered along with the militants. No doubt, your heart and
prayers, like mine, have gone out to both Israelis and Lebanese who have suffered in this immense
time of horror.
The human tragedy is the result of human hatred, intolerance and misguided agendas.

The apostle Paul warned of these times:

“But realize this, that in the last days perilous times will come. For men will be … unholy, without
natural affection, (callous and inhuman) … brutal, despisers of good, treacherous … holding to a form of
godliness (religion), although they have denied its power.” (2 Timothy 3:1-6)

And there was the terrorist plot to blow up a dozen passenger aircraft between Britain and the US.
This was the latest news to remind us that we are indeed living in perilous, wicked, and rebellious
times; and that the day for God to judge the earth is drawing near.

“The nations were enraged, and Your wrath has come. The time has come for the dead to be judged, and
for You to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the set-apart people of God, and those who fear
Your Name, the small and the great. And it is time to destroy those who destroy the earth.” (Revelation


“The transgressors will be destroyed together; the final result of the wicked will be, to be cut off. But the
salvation of the righteous is from YHWH - their strength in time of trouble. And YHWH helps them, and
delivers them. He delivers them from the wicked, and saves them, because they trust and take refuge in
Him.” (Psalm 37:38-40)

At times the Lebanon conflict looked like it might have developed into a wider war, with Syria and
Iran joining the fray. But those two were not quite ready for the big showdown – world war. In a
couple of years, however, Iran should be ready with its nuclear missiles.

The Lebanon war seems to have come to an indecis-ive and messy end, with Hizballah claiming
victory because it was able to withstand the “invincible Israel” which Nasrallah was saying, is “a
cobweb that will be blown away by the winds of history.”

So with Hizballah still armed, and now officially declaring an open -ended war on the United States;
and with Iran preparing for an apocalyptic “end of time”; and with Lebanon picking up the pieces;
and with Israel’s military furious that “diplomacy” denied them the chance to win a decisive victory
on the battlefield; and with Israel proving it is not a toothless tiger; and with Sunni Saudi Arabia,
Egypt and Jordan concerned about the ascendancy of the Persian Shia threat; and Syria
pronouncing it wil now regain the Golan Heights, and with all of us wondering “what next?” and
“how long?”, it is time to remember the Saviour’s words:

“When these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your
redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28)

My reader, because of the seriousness of the current situation, I have sought to give an extensive
coverage of the present conflict and background, without going into all the day to day details. The
conflict is not yet over - even after the ceasefire; but I believe this war has inflamed much hatred of
Israel in the Middle East, and it has brought the world one step closer to the coming Battle for
Jerusalem, and World War 3.

In July, our Queensland representatives, Rob and Marguerite Weir were with me on an 18-day, 21
meeting, 2,500 km itinerary in Queensland. It was an encouraging time, and it was great to meet
many of our regular readers during the trip. And I want to welcome all our new readers. I trust the
magazines will be a help and encouragement to you all, until the Master comes!
My messages were mostly on “The Middle East Countdown to the Second Holocaust,” and though
preaching for up to 2 hours at a stretch, my voice held out very well throughout the 18 days. But on
the day I returned to Perth, I developed a very heavy chest cough which has held on to me for a

I will appreciate your prayers now as I will be in the midst of a busy month-long preaching itinerary
in the UK when you receive this issue.

This heavy schedule means our next magazine will not come out until about the end of October.
But I’m sure this present extended report will keep you reading for a while!
In the meantime, keep one eye on the current events, but keep the other eye looking up, and be
encouraged in the Master. And ...,

“Be careful how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, redeeming and making the most of the time -
buying up each opportunity, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the
will of YHWH the LORD is... And be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:15-28)

Yours in the service of Y’shua the Messiah,
Don Stanton


THE WAR in Lebanon was not simply another chapter of the ongoing century-old Arab-Jewish conflict over territory. Israel had long ago withdrawn from Lebanon, and had no desire to go back.
Rather, Lebanon became an ideological battlefield; this was a war of goals, a war of culture, a spiritual war, as well as a war for security and existence.
Both Israel and Hizballah are caught up in a much wider battle than the conflict that seized hold of them and threatened to escalate into a wider regional war, or even world war. Israel and Hizballah, in fact, were junior proxies for rival ideologies. It is similar to the conflict between communism and the non-communist world during the 20th century - opposing ideologies, belief systems, with vastly differ-ent global ambitions.

In the 21st century, the world has been swept into a conflict based on two opposing ideologies. Some see it as a war between “America and Iran.” Others, as a conflict between “East and West”, or between “Democracy and Radical Islam,” or between “Medieval Theocracy and Liberal Democracy.”

It is not so easy to give a clear-cut definition of the opposing forces, except, perhaps, in spiritual terms – a war between God and Satan. But even when looking from a spiritual viewpoint we cannot list certain nations as “the Godly,” and the others as “the satanic.” There is much ungodliness in all nations! And it is quite easy for both sides to be evil.
From a general viewpoint, one side of the ideological conflict is being led by the US. It claims to represent the modern global system of open markets, free elections, religious freedoms and sexual equality. It believes that all nations should be able to adopt “freedom.”

The other side is represented by radical Islam, which regards the Western model as decadent and dangerous for the future of mankind. And it aspires to the creation of a world under the banner of Islam which it claims is “the only true faith.”
During his presidency, George Bush emphasized what he believes is the desirability of extending democracy throughout the Arab world - as a means of countering terrorism. In Lebanon, as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt and the Palestinian territories there have been quite dubious successes in the democratic experiments. In some of them, radical groups have taken advantage of the political process to win a good slice of power. In some, the election results were totally rejected.

Early in the current Lebanon conflict, George Bush promised a “new Middle East,” but this idea is a red flag to the other side. A western-type, democratic system is anathema to al-Qaida, Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, and their offspring including Hizballah and Hamas, for the simple reason that a true democracy will become a graveyard for radical ideology.

It was for that reason, the Ayatollahs in Iran prevented reformists from standing in elections last
year. Reform would shackle the fundamentalist agenda.

If George Bush’s promise of a new Middle East succeeded, there would be no place for regmes such as the Islamic Republic in Iran and Syria’s Baathist dictatorship.
But Iran’s state-controlled media warned that Lebanon would become “the graveyard of the Bush plan for a new Middle East.” And that may very well be true!

In Lebanon, Hizballah took advantage of elections to win 14 parliamentary seats and two cabinet ministries even though its heavily-armed militia continued to function quite independently of the national army. A true functioning democracy would not permit an independent army or a militia group to operate as a proxy for another nation. So for Hizballah, the war in Lebanon is a battle for existence.

For Israel also, it is a battle of survival – not that it could be wiped out by Katyusha rockets. But a Middle East dominated by Islamic extremism could, in time, spell the death of Israel as a successful state.

The battle, however, is not simply “Islam” against “the West!” Islam itself is divided, and many “moderate” Arab regimes are threatened by the Iran-Hizballah phenomenon. Moreover, there is an intense rivalry for Islamist leadership under way.

Earlier, Sunni Salafist movements, backed by oil money, were gaining high ground; but the fallout from the 9/11 attacks deprived them of support from Arab governments and charities. Since then Shi’ite Iran has seized the opportunity to advance its own claims to Islamic leadership.

Sunni and Shia (Shi’ite) Muslims have always been at loggerheads, but it is the extremists, the Sunni Salafists and the Irani Shias, that are most opposed to each other.


To quote from an article by Professor Michael Doran:
“Salafist is a broad term to describe Sunni extremists, who are especially centered in Saudi Arabia.
The word Salafist roughly means fighters willing to take up arms for the faith. The Salafist movement wants to create Sunni fundamentalist states. That does not necessarily mean that the Salafists agree on the means to that end - they are not all necessarily terrorists.
“Sunni Salafists hate the West, but they also regard Shi’ites as heretical. The Sunni extremists call Shi’ites refusers - they refuse to accept the successors to the prophet. The word “refusers” is a slur, akin to a racial epithet.
“Salafists believe in successors to the prophet Mohammed. Salafists hate the Shi’ites above all others. One Al-Qaeda website called Shi’ites, “the most evil people on the face of the earth.” They hate Shias because they are neighbors - the enemy you see every day, the enemy who secretly seeks your destruction.
“Salafists have a unified world view, like Marxists, but one centered on religion. Religion, to them,
is like the tectonic plates that move beneath the complicated surface of world political events, driving them. The four threats - secularists, Jews, crusaders, and Shi’ites - are seen as parts of the same whole: idolaters. Mohammed fought idolatry, and so do the Salafists today.”
(Michael Doran is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Near Eastern studies at Princeton University and an Adjunct senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York)


Al-Qaida is a Salafist movement, as is the Muslim Brotherhood founded in Egypt in 1928; and also Hamas, and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Iran, Hizballah and the main Islamic faction in Iraq are not Salafists - they are Shia. But while Salafists and Shias are diametrically opposed, they will sometimes have a “marriage of convenience” for a common cause - such as in the present alliance between Shia Iran and Sunni Syria.

This contradiction can be seen in the context of the Lebanon war: While a Saudi fatwa forbade any association with and support for Hizballah, leading Sunni theologians at the al-Azhar seminary in Cairo issued a decree that allows Sunnis to fight alongside and under the command of Shia Muslims.
Salafist al-Qaida, not to be left out in the cold, en-dorsed the idea of a global campaign against the “infidel” invaders in Lebanon, and gave support of a sort to the Shias.
“The al-Qaida organisation will not stay silent regarding what the Muslims in Palestine and Lebanon are facing,” said Bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. In what amounted to a call to arms, he said. “Nowhere is safe from al-Qaida attacks. The whole world is an open field for us.”
But in a videotape about the fighting in Lebanon, released by al-Jazeera, al-Zawahiri conspicuously failed to encourage Hizballah in its fight against Israel or even to so much as mention the group. Instead, he spoke of al-Qaida’s jihad as being the one that would liberate Palestine. Al-Zawahiri then designated a vast area of jihad – from Spain to India. Co-operation between Sunni and Shia is usually short-lived; the two groups certainly aren’t true allies. Last April Lebanese police arrested nine men that Hiz-ballah officials claim were al-Qaida
agents plotting to assassinate their leader.


In Iraq, Sunnis and Shias have been blowing up each other’s mosques, and butchering each other.
The country could now be on the verge of civil war.

Israel is under attack from both Islamist religious jihadists and Arab secular radicals who regard it as “an American proxy.” In Asharq Alawsat, a pan-Arab daily, a Syrian cabinet minister made it clear that the war in Lebanon was between “the forces of Islam and America, with Israel acting as an American proxy.”

Not all Arabs, however, are in favour of the Iranian agenda. Many in the Middle East actually dread the prospect of a new dark age dominated by radical Islamist regimes.
In the current war there seemed to be much less hos-tility towards Israel in the Arab world than could have been expected – because of the fear and distrust of the Ayatollahs of Iran. In the Lebanon war neither Israel nor Hizballah were totally wiped out. Neither were truly defeated, but both claimed victory. All Hizballah needed to do to win was to not lose – to hold out. Now it is has the reputation of surviving against Israel’s assault longer than any of the Arabs nations in all the wars of the last 50 years.

And there will be no peace between Israel and Hiz-ballah. Both will live to fight another day! The ideological war will assure that. And Israel has no choice but to continue defending itself by developing more powerful weapons, and maintaining a buffer zone between itself and its neighbours.

The Messiah, Y’shua, Jesus, speaking of the end of the age said clearly that …
“You will be hearing of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you do not become frightened. All
these things must happen first, but the end is not yet. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against
kingdom.” (Matthew 24:6-7)

The ideological war is becoming increasing global in its outreach and impact. All nations are being
drawn into this battle, and they are beginning to take sides. For example: Iran’s supreme leader,”

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, during an audience he granted in Tehran to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in late July, said: “What we see in Lebanon today represents the revolt of Muslim natio ns against America. Hizballah is backed (by Iran and others) because it is fighting America.”

Chavez endorsed that analysis by calling on Muslims and non -Muslim revolutionaries to unite to “save the human race by finishing the US empire.”
Now watch how all the nations are shaping up and taking sides!
There will be no letup in this ideological war; it will continue right up to, and until the day after the day when God makes “Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the people around.”

For …
“Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. And on that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered
against her, I will make Jerusalem a very heavy rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will be severely
injured. In that day, declares YHWH, I will strike every horse with confusion and his rider with madness. But I
will keep a watchful eye over the house of Judah, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness … In
that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a blazing pot in a woodpile, and like a flaming torch among
sheaves. They will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples; and Jerusalem will
be inhabited again on her own sites - in Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 12:2-4, 6)

That prophecy will be fulfilled in the coming Great Tribulation. While Israel appeared to be a fiery torch in attacking Lebanon, Hizballah appeared to be a fiery brand in targeting the cities of northern Israel with Katyushas!

Israel was reputed to be the strongest military force in the region, and in spite of massive air and artillery attacks, it has not had a resounding victory as in earlier wars. Of course, this has been a different type of war – a war against a well-armed guerilla force hiding among civilians rather than a standing army on a battlefield.

But the fact today is that Israel is spiritually weak; it has allowed evils to triumph in the land, and has compromised the Abrahamic covenant by trading off God’s Land. This is a time for heart searching in Israel.

“God also said to him (Israel): I am El Shaddai - God Almighty; be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations will come from you, and kings will come forth from you. And the land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I give to you. Yes, and I will give the land to your descendants after you.” (Genesis 35:11-12)

And Yahweh El Shaddai said to Israel through Moses:
“The land shall never ever be sold permanently or beyond reclaim, for the land is Mine; for you are
but ’strangers and settlers with Me.” (Leviticus 25:23)

Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from both southern Lebanon in 2000, and from Gaza in August 2005, has led to disastrous results. Now, after the Katyusha war PM Ehud Olmert has shelved his “convergence plan” -the withdrawal from90% of the West Bank which is actually the heartland of Israel – Judea and Samaria.

It is now very clear that “the defence wall” will not keep Katyusha rockets out of Israel. And if Israel unilater-ally withdrew from the West Bank, that territory would become another armed Gaza. The Palestinians, en-couraged by Hizballah’s achievements, say it is now time for a third Intifada! And the prophet Daniel says:
“To the end there will be war, and desolations have been decreed.” (Daniel 9:26)


Iran’s supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blasted the United States and warned of an
impending Muslim “jihad”, or holy war, against the West.

“Today it is clear for everyone that the aggression against Lebanon was a pre meditated U.S.-Zionist action
as a key step in the path of dominating the Middle East and the Islamic world.”

His comments were reported in the official news agency IRNA and aired in part on state television
on 2nd Aug.

“Today, Muslim nations more than ever despise the U.S.,” he said. “With its support of the Zionists’ crimes and criminals, and its blatant aggression against the rights of Muslim nations, the U.S. regime must be prepared for a hard slap and a destructive punch by Muslims,” Khamenei said.

The Ayatollah praised the Lebanese militia Hizballah for taking part in a “jihad” against the “enemies of Islam,” stating that the group was on the “frontline” of the defence of Muslims.



A storm is brewing in the Middle East and will strike “enemies of humanity,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned from the Tajik capital of Dushanbe.

“A storm is near in the Middle East and this storm will turn against the en emies of humanity and strike violently,” Mr Ahmadinejad said. “Those who sow the wind are also sowing a storm, and it’s very dangerous for the region.”


Again Ahmadinejad declared: “I hereby declare that this sinister regime [Israel] is the banner of Satan. It is the ban-ner of the Great Satan. All it does is to implement the orders of the criminal America and England.
“They think that the peoples are the same as they were 100 years ago. They are not aware that things have changed in the world. Today, all the peoples have awoken. The Iranian people are the standard-bearers of this awakening for all the peoples.
“As we can see, from the southern-most point in South America to the easternmost point in Asia, all the people are shouting a single cry. With placards in their hands and clenched fists, they shout: ‘Death to Israel’.”


Aug 3. The solution to the Middle East crisis is to destroy Israel Ahmadinejad said. In a speech during an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders, Ahmadinejad also called for an immediate halt to fighting in Lebanon between Israel and the Iranian-backed militant group Hizballah.

“Although the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime, at this stage an immediate cease-fire must be implemented,” he said.

Ahmadinejad, who has drawn international con-demnation with previous calls for Israel to be wiped off the map, said the Middle East would be better off “without the existence of the Zionist regime.”

Israel “is an illegitimate regime; there is no legal basis for its existence,” he said. In Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev responded by noting the ties between Ahmadinejad’s regime and Hizballah. “Our operation in Lebanon is designed to neutralize one of the long arms of Iran - Hizballah,” Regev said. “Hizballah is their proxy, being used as an instrument of Tehran to advance their extremist agenda and the blow to Hiz-ballah is a blow to Iranian interests and a blow to all extremist jihadist forces in the region.”



An interesting news report in July told about a 1000-year book that was unearthed by an Irish man with a bulldozer, who was digging for peat in an Irish bog.
The book was a copy of the Irish Book of Psalms. The date the book was found was July 20th – the day that Israel escalated the conflict with Hizballah by launching its first ground incursions into Lebanon. Surprisingly, the book was opened to Psalm 83. In fact, Psalm 83 was the only readable page.
This particular Psalm is a plea for God’s provision for Israel’s security. It was a psalm that I had already chosen to include in this issue before seeing that report. It’s so relevant to the current Katyusha War that we have been witnessing.

Let’s read it. - DS

“O God, do not keep silent! Do not be quiet, and do not be still, O Elohim! For look, Your
enemies are roaring; and those who hate You have raised their heads. They craftily plot against
Your people, and conspire against Your hidden, treasured ones.
“They have said, Come, and let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel may be
remembered no more.
“For they have conspired together with one mind; they make a pact against You; the tents of
Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagarites; Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with
the inhabitants of Tyre. Assyria also had joined with them; they have been a help to the sons of
Lot. Selah.
“Deal with them as with Midian, as with Sisera, as with Jabin at the Brook Kishon, who perished
at Endor, and became as dung for the earth. Make their nobles like Oreb and like Zeeb, who said,
Let us take possession of the pastures of God for ourselves.
“O my God, make them like the whirling dust, like stubble before the wind! As a fire burns a
forest, and as a flame sets the mountains on fire, so pursue them with Your tornado, and terrify
them with Your cyclone. Cover their faces with shame, that they may seek Your Name, O
“Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever; yes, let them be humiliated and perish, that they
may know that You, whose Name is YHWH - You alone are the Most High over all the
A major conflict with Hamas was expected ever since it formed the government of the Palestinian territories early in the year. The Hamas movement is a Sunni organization rooted in Palestinian resistance. It was established by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and has been strongly influenced by Syria and Iran.
Its declared agenda is the elimination of the Zionist entity in Palestine, and so it not only refused to recog-nise the State of Israel, but it also rejected earlier agree-ments between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
The crisis began on June 25 when Palestinian militia entered Israel by a 300-meter-long tunnel and attacked an Israeli post killing several soldiers, and kidnapped Gilad Shalit, a 19 -year-old recruit who was taken captive into Gaza.
Three organisations were behind the attack – Hamas’s Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, the Popular Resistance Committees, and the Islamic Army. The outcry in Israel and the resulting massive Israeli military onslaught, causing high Palestinian casualties, was clearly anticipated, and was an integral part of the calculations of those who organised the attack. An emerging Palestinian consensus on the recognition of Israel was torpedoed, and the radicals again proved victorious.

BACKGROUND: Since Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in August last year, Palestinians have turned the territory into a heavily armed state, and have fired Kassam rockets into nearby Israeli towns on an almost daily basis.
Early in the year Hamas was voted into government on an agenda of resisting and destroying the state of Israel. Hamas has been frustrated, however, in its attempts to govern because it has been blacklisted as a terrorist organisation, and finance from the US, EU and Israel to the Palestinian government has been blocked.

President Mahmoud Abbas, who is also head of Fatah, the main opposition party, tried to persuade the Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, to compromise and accept the “Palestinian Prisoners Document” that calls for Palestinians to accept a two state solution that implies recognition of Israel.

Abbas declared that a Hamas refusal would result in the issue being put to the people in a national
referendum. (A two state solution was the basis of the talks between Israel and the Palestinians arranged by Bill Clinton in 2000; it was also acknowledged by a meeting of Arab states in Beirut in 2002 when the majority committed themselves to “normal relations with Israel if it with -drew to its pre-1967 borders;” and it was also the basis of the Road Map adopted by the Quartet – the US, EU, UN and Russia - in 2003.)

Haniyeh’s agreement seemed imminent until the Hamas leaders based in Damascus, (particularl Khaled Meshaal), ordered the attack on the military post and the abducting of an Israeli soldier. Hamas, although a Sunni religious party, is backed heavily by Shi’ite Iran which always seeks to scuttle any Israel-Palestinian peace agreements.

THE REASON: The attack on June 25 was an attempt by radical Palestinian groups, including Hamas, to block the “Prisoners Document”referendum, and also to use a kidnapped soldier in an exchange for the release of a large number of Palestinian prisoners.
Israel rejected any exchange deal, and declared “enough is enough”! Israel immediately besieged Gaza, and began to destroy its infrastructure. Israel’s purpose was fourfold: to rescue its kidnapped soldier; to put an end to the firing of rockets into Israel; to deliver a severe blow to the Hamas government; and demonstrate that attacks on Israel would bring a severe penalty .
At the root of the current conflict in Gaza is not only the failure of President Mahmoud Abbas to disarm non-government militant organisations operating in their territories, but also the powerlessness of The Quartet to back up their resolutions and peace plans.
The Quartet’s “Road Map for Peace in the Middle East” which was accepted by both Israel and the PA, called for the disarming of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and all Palestinian terrorist organisations. But Abbas did not attempt to disarm them, saying that if he tried to do so, it would lead to civil war. The result was that fully-armed militia terrorist groups, including the popular Salafist Hamas, were allowed to stand as candidates in the “democratic” Palestinian parliamentary elections. Hamas won an absolute majority and was invited by President Abbas to form the government for the Palestinian territories.
PM Ehud Olmert declared “extreme measures” to rescue Corporal Shalit, and Israeli forces entered south-ern Gaza. Jets bombed bridges, and the Gaza offices of the Palestinian PM, and the Interior and Defence ministers. Electricity plants were knocked out. Tanks and troops raided northern Gaza in an attempt to stop the firing of Kassam rockets into Israel. Countless sites were targeted, as Israel sought to dismantle Hamas’ infrastructure. 64 Hamas officials, including 32 MPs, and also the Parliamentary speaker, were arrested.
Hizbollah, the Shi’ite “Party of Allah,” has been on the scene since 1982 when it was established to resist Israeli “occupation” in Lebanon. It was an openly antagonistic enemy of Israel, and was encouraged by both Syria and Iran even after Israel’s withdrawal. It built up its militia and weapons in anticipation of a major attack on what it called “occupied Arab lands” - Israel.
On July 12, Hizballah militia entered northern Israel from Lebanon and ambushed an Israeli patrol.
They killed 8 Israeli soldiers and captured 2 others - Ehud Goldwasser, 31 and Eldad Regev, 26 - who were taken captive into Lebanon.

In 1982, because of con-stant PLO attacks from south Lebanon, Israel was compelled to invade Lebanon and to drive Yasser Arafat and the PLO out of Lebanon.
(Arafat had seized control of southern Lebanon through sheer terror.) Israel was generally welcomed as liberators by the Lebanese who were fed up with the PLO atrocities. And then, because of civil war that began in 1975, Syria moved into Lebanon “to keep the peace.”

Israel had no intention of remaining in Lebanon, and in due time pulled its troops out, except for a 10 km strip in the south of Lebanon which it wanted to maintain as a buffer zone to prevent future attacks on Israel.

Hizballah, supported by Syria, waged guerilla warfare against Israeli troops, killing over four hundred. Finally in 2000, Israel pulled out its troops from S Lebanon and hoped that by doing so,
Hizballah would feel its job was complete, and that peace would prevail. A UN multi -national force, (UNIFIL), was deployed in the vacated territory to monitor the situation.

Over the past six years there has been continuous tension, and Hizballah’s pretext for its regular attacks on Israel was “the Shebaa Farms” – a 22 sq km piece of territory between the Golan Heights and Lebanon which Israel captured in 1967. The tiny territory used to belong to Syria, but Lebanon has long had a claim on it.


THE REASON: In kidnapping the two soldiers, Hizballah’s avowed intentions were to get a prisoner exchange; and to press for Israel’s withdrawal from the Shebaa Farms.

In particular, Hizballah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, wanted Israel to release Samir Kuntar, a Lebanese citizen who was part of a PLO cell that, in 1979, arrived by boat in the Israeli town of Nahariya and invaded the apartment of the Haran family. Smadar Haran hid in the attic with her daughter Yael, but tragically, while trying to stifle the girl’s crying, she accidentally suffocated the child.

Meanwhile, members of the cell took Danny Haran and daughter Einat, 4, back to the shore where, realizing escape was impossible, Kuntar shot Danny in the back and drowned him, and then battered Einat’s head on beach rocks and smashed her skull with his rifle butt. Kuntar also murdered an Israeli police officer before being captured.

The few other Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails are all held for t errorist offences and because of the
inherent risk that they will return to their previous activities.


OTHER REASONS for Hizballah’s July 12 attack were;
* to divert attention from Iran’s nuclear situation and the expected UN-backed sanctions against Tehran;
* to test Israel’s current strength and resolve;
* to prove Hizballah’s own strength and resilience;
* to create another backlash against Israel throughout the Islamic world;
* to generate wider hostility to Israel and the West, and
* to gauge the world’s responses in relation to a planned jihad against non -Islamic nations.

Evidently at the beginning of the war, neither Iran nor Hizballah expected the response to blow out
to such a degree; the real battle in their planning is scheduled for some time after Iran has nuclear

Some Lebanese political insiders speculate that either Hizballah misjudged the likely Israeli response
to the July 12 attack, or that Iran or Syria ordered it to deliberately provoke Israel.

Thirty-five years ago, just before the PLO began its program of terror in south Lebanon, Beirut was called “the Jewel of the Middle East.” It was a nation made up of various co mmunities and religions that were able to successfully live together. It was a prosperous financial hub, but the country descended into civil war. Then terrorism, civil war, independent militias, and external interference reduced the nation to a constant state of tug-of-war. As it still is today.
Under the Lebanese electoral system, reflecting the main religious majorities, the president must be a Christian and the prime minister a Sunni, while a Shi’ite may become the parliamentary speaker.
But most experts agree that Shi’ites are now the largest group in an estimated total population of almost 4 million. According to Hussein al Haij Hassan, the Hizballah representative in parliament, Shi’ites and Sunnis each constitute about 37% of the population. The rest of the population are mostly (Maronite Catholics and Greek Orthodox), and Druze. Hizballah holds 2 ministries - labour and water/energy - in the Lebanese government, which it earned by becoming the most popular Shia party since first contesting elections in 1992. It won 14 of the parliament’s 128 seats in 2005 and indirectly controls another nine seats through the country’s
complicated electoral system, making it one of the biggest parties.
Lebanon’s central government is permanently weak because its population directs its primary loyalties to one or another of the country’s 18 religious-ethnic communities. As a result, militias, guerillas and terrorists wield more power than the Government.
UN Resolution 1559, passed after Israel’s 2000 pullout, required the disarmament of all militias in Lebanon with the help of the international community; and the deployment of the Lebanese army through the whole country. The Lebanese government and army, however, were too weak to take on Hizballah and its patrons, including Syria that had long dominated and influenced Lebanon.
After the assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri, in early 2005, the UN issued resolutions that required Syria to pull its troops out of Lebanon, and all militia groups to lay down their arms. Eventually Syria did pull out of Lebanon, but the Shi’ite Hizballah absolutely refused to give up its weapons. Even then, it was permitted to participate in the “democratic” Lebanese elections in May last year.
The new Lebanese PM, Faud Siniora, with an army that included many Shi’ites, still did not have the will or the power to dismantle the well-equipped Hizballah militia. And neither did the United Nations. So Hizballah subsequently established itself as a powerful state within a state. (It is estimated that as much as 40% of the Lebanese armed forces are Hizballah sympathisers.)

Iran is credited with creating Hizballah in 1982 in response to Israel’s invasion of Le banon that year.
In the 24 years since then it has built up into the most powerful force in the country.
In the 1980s Hizballah established itself as a terrorist organisation by kidnap ping foreigners in Lebanon and killing some of them; one of them was William Buckley, a CIA Station chief. In 1985 Hizballah was suspected of having a connection to the saga of TWA Flight 847, in which hijackers shot dead a US Navy diver and dumped him onto a Beirut tarmac.
In 1992 Hizballah bombed the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29; and, in 1994, a Jewish cultural center also in Argentina, killing 95.
Hussein Massawi, the Hizballah leader behind the slaughter of US and French forces 20 years ago, made a straightforward Islamist declaration:“We are not fighting so that you will offer us some -thing. We are fighting to eliminate you.” In the last six years the Hizballah established a com -plex system of bunkers and tunnels in the south of Lebanon – the territory from which Israel withdrew. It stockpiled weapons and equipment in anticipation of an ultimate confrontation with Israel. It had headquarters in south Beirut and major command centres in south Lebanon and in the Bekaa Valley on the east – adjoining Syria.
Hizballah claims that its fighters are a civilian “resistance” movement. In fact, when Syria occupied Lebanon at the end of the 1975-90 civil war, Hizballah was the only one of 25 militias that the Syrians allowed to keep their weapons - in defiance of a UN resolution on disarmament. Hizballah today is believed to be stronger than Lebanon’s official army. The Hizballah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, who has survived at least two Israeli attempts to kill him in air strikes since July 12, has gained tremendous popularity in the Shi’ite world.

TIME magazine claims that a Lebanese official revealed that Iran recently doubled its cash infusions to Hizballah, to about $300 million a year. In the six years since Israel’s withdrawal in 2000, it was Hizballah, not the Lebanese Government and its army, that had controlled the Lebanese-Israeli border.
Hizballah does not act in the interest of the Lebanese state; rather, its interests are defined in Damascus and Tehran, from where it receives much of its arsenal. Despite its record of violence, Hizballah enjoys broad appeal among Lebanese. It has gained its popularity because of the social programs it operates, including hospitals and schools throughout the downtrodden Shi’ite districts.
Being a Shi’ite party, Hizballah does not normally receive support from the Sunni, Druze and Maronite (Christian) populations. But because it has been so well armed by Syria and Iran, and become the most popular and largest single party in the parliament, it has been able to function, not just as a state within a state, but almost as the state itself. There is little support for Israel in any Arab country but in the early days of this confrontation there were plenty of non-Shia Lebanese hoping that Israel would shut down “the Party of God.”
“They are a tool in the hands of the Syrian, regime and for Iran’s regional ambitions,” says Walid Jumblatt, veteran leader of Lebanon’s Druze community.

Many Israeli Intelligence and security sources are fully convinced that behind Damascus-based Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal, and Hizballah’s Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, is radical Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The US and Israeli fears of an intractable alliance between Syria, Iran, Hamas and Hizballah has been reinforced time and again throughout the current war.
17 days after Hamas kidnapped Gilad Shalit, Hizballah followed suit and abducted two Israeli soldiers on the Lebanese-Israeli border, making it clear Hamas and Hizballah had coordinated their actions to provoke a large-scale confrontation with Israel. And all this happened only days before the G8 meeting in St Petersburg, where the issue of Iran’s nuclear ambitions was a main priority.
Hizballah banners fly alongside Syrian flags at train stations, on taxis, and on street lamps in Damascus, and giant posters carrying the photos of Nasrallah, Assad and Ahmadinejad all together.
Ahmadinejad has made the destruction of Israel a priority for his regime; and the war triggered by Hiz-ballah is, in part, designed to show that Ahmadinejad is not bluffing when he promises to wipe Israel off the map as the first step towards defeating the “infidel” West.
Iran warned that if Israel attacked Syria, there would be horrific results.
A victory for Hizballah in Lebanon will strengthen Ahmadinejad’s bid for the leadership of radical Islam.
“Hizballah has fought Israel longer than all the major Arab armies combined ever did,” Ahmadinejad told a crowd in Tehran. He also promised that Muslims would soon hear “very good news” about the jihad against the United States.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, for one, has accused both Tehran and Damascus of providing support for Hizballah. According to Blair, Iran is also implicated in the supply of advanced explosive devices to Iraqi insurgents.
In the six years following Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon, the Shia militants did not cross the recognised international border separating Israel from Lebanon. When they launched attacks, they did so in disputed areas such as the Shebaa Farms district. Hizballah realised it could go only so far before provoking Israeli wrath.
The blatant attack on Israel on 12 July, however, represented a sudden change in Hizballah’s strategy. Until now it had branded itself as a protector of the Lebanese people. But in this attack Hizballah exposed itself as being a front for a foreign agenda - Iran.
Even if the Hizballah raids from Lebanon into Israel and the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers were not planned in Tehran, ( as the Iranian President asserts they were not), they would not have occurred had their perpetrators thought them inconsistent with Iranian strategy.

Intelligence sources in Israel are claiming that not only was Iran behind Hizballah’s decision to attack Israel, but Tehran influenced the timing of the incident in order to divert international attention from its nuclear programme, which was high on the agenda at the G8 summit in St Petersburg.
Hizballah’s attacks coincided with the deadline the European Union set for the Iranians to respond to its proposed nuclear deal. What better way to show that Iran can make life difficult for those who pressure it than to create a broad crisis in the region?

Iran is also waging a struggle to achieve regional dominance that threatens not only the US, but all of America’s friends in the Middle East.
The “good news” is that Hizballah has actually un-masked Iran’s intentions, which even Arab leaders now appear to recognise.
If Israeli forces had still been in Lebanon, Hizballah could have claimed it was resisting Israeli occupation. But after Israel ended its occupation in 2000, the Iranians stepped up the supply of Katyushas and surface-to-surface rockets.
Much like Saddam before them, the Iranians believe they can mobilise the Arab world against the US by playing on the sense of grievance against Israel that is so deeply embedded among many people in the region.
Iran is determined to fuel that grievance, and they have long pressured Hamas and Islamic Jihad to initiate acts of terrorism in Israel to keep the grievance alive. At times when peace is promising, Iran pushes harder to make sure the peace and quiet do not last. As Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak discovered recently when he had arranged a deal for the release of Gilad Shalit, “other parties” undercut the plan.
Shalit’s release would have helped end the siege of Gaza - and avoided much Palestinian suffering - but that would not have served Iran’s interests. In Damascus, Khaled Meshaal, the real leader of Hamas, who is protected by Syria and encouraged by Iran, announced that he was the man to talk to about Shalit’s release.
Some commentators believe the present conflict is not simply about Israel. Hizballah and Hamas are
merely tools in the Iranian game of furthering an Islamist agenda and undoing Western influence in
the area. But the US and Israel are not the only ones on Iran’s hit list. Every non-Islamist regime in
the area is ultimately a target.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reacted to Hizballah’s attack on July 12 by declaring the hostage taking an “act of war.” Within 24 hours, Israel conducted some 1,000 air missions over Lebanon - a number on par with the first day of the full-fledged war of 1982, when Israel moved to oust Yasser Arafat’s PLO, which had been using Lebanon as a staging ground for attacks on Israel.
The goal was not just to roll back Hizballah but to show that Israel was willing to fight. It wa s a message meant to dissuade adversaries from harassment and was aimed at Hizballah, at Hamas, and at Iran which sponsors Hizballah and Hamas and calls for Israel’s destruction. Nasrallah was taken aback by Israel’s ferocity and prolonged military respon se. He evidently assumed that Israel’s response to the attack would be relatively moderate and similar to those that followed previous provocative incidents. There was evidence that soon after the abduction of the two Israeli soldiers, Hizbullah officials in contact with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) had suggested the possibility of a ceasefire as early as that evening.
In a TV interview, Nasrallah lamented, “Tell me about a war that was waged against a state because of two soldiers. This has never happened in history. Nor has Israel done it anytime before.”
Nasrallah outlined his terms for a prisoner swap: the soldiers would be returned in exchange for Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners in Israel. But Israel answered by bombing the runways at Beirut’s international airport.
Instead of looking for a way out, Hizballah launched an escalation of its own, shooting longer-range missiles than it had ever used, forcing one million Israelis in the north of the country – a sixth of the nation’s population - into bomb shelters and paralyzing that region’s economy.
Hizballah had been preparing for more than six years for such a major confrontation with Israel. Both sides evidently underestimated the other’s fierceness and willingness to fight.
The Jewish state’s superb armed forces had never failed when they were asked to fight against massed armies in conventional wars. But now Israel was not fighting a standard war; it was battling against cells of well-trained militias energized by religious fervor. Armies surrender when their leaders tell them to; guerrillas just slip back to a safe house and wait to fight another day. Worse, today’s non-conventional foes live in villages, hide in houses and are sheltered by civilians who are sometimes forced to shelter them.
While enduring the Katyusha rocket barrage, Israel hit Hizballah strongholds and the Lebanese infrastructure, which supplies Hizballah, hard. Said Defense Minister Amir Peretz:
“The goal is for this to end with Hizballah so badly beaten that not a man in it will not regret having launched this incident.”
The Israeli offensive came at a heavy price - to civilians and economy on both sides, as well as to Lebanon’s infrastructure, and to Israel’s reputation abroad. But from the government’s point of view, it was necessary.
The assault on Lebanon was intended to send a broader message too, at a time when Israel had largely given up on trying to negotiate for peace and security, and instead, tried to establish them on its own.
The strongest argument made by domestic critics of Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip last year was that the country’s enemies would think it was now weak and afraid to act; and thus they would be encouraged to strike out. Indeed, Israel’s withdrawals from both Lebanon and Gaza were interpreted as signs of weakness. Israel’s present tough response is aimed at changing that impression.
Israel is now trying to re-establish its deterrent which is necessary if there is to be any type of calm between Arabs and Israelis, and if, at some point, Israel’s borders are fixed with security. It is also essential as part of the struggle with Iran and its two proxies, Hamas and Hizballah. The new Isra eli government is now acting to prove that, if you attack Israel, you pay a terrible price. Israel’s power of deterrence is also important to the US as it wants models of success on the non-Islamist side. And the Katyusha war may well be a wake -up call for the Bush administration, for as a commentator said, “Washington inspires no fear in Syria or Iran today; warnings mean nothing to them because there is never a consequence.
July 13: Israeli planes bombed Beirut airport and dozens of other targets across Lebanon.
July 14: Israel bombed the Beirut home of Hassan Nasrallah, who declared “open war on Israel.”
In Beirut, Hizballah’s offices and social welfare agencies, and the homes of its leaders, were then shattered by weeks of intense bombing. Most attacks were restricted to the Haret Hreik area of south Beirut. The core of the large district of combined apartment and office buildings where Hizballah’s top officials lived and worked, is now a pile of concrete rubble and teetering buildings, abandoned by its 50,000 mostly Shia Muslim residents in the face of Israel’s missiles and bombs.
Israel had to walk a fine line: inflicting a devastating blow on Hizballah’s infrastructure to put an end to the Katyusha rockets without causing enormous damage to the Lebanese. This was very difficult as Hizballah’s headquarters were situated in the dense civilian areas of south Beirut, and as its fighters and rockets were often hidden in the basements of apartment buildings in civilian areas. The north side of Beirut, home of almost a million Christians and Sunni Muslims, has largely been spared from the bombing raids.
At first Israel relied on air attacks to eliminate Hizballah’s infrastructure and supp ly routes, but as hundreds of Katyusha rockets rained down on northern Israel day after day, it became obvious that a ground assault to wipe out Hizballah’s rockets and southern command centres was essential.
As they invaded southern Lebanon the Israelis encountered fierce resistance from the Hizballah who were armed with advanced anti-tank missiles, and were deeply entrenched in an elaborate network of bunkers, tunnels and fortifications.
Hizballah militants, operating in bands of as many as 50 fighters, ambushed and battled Israeli troops at close range, knocking out tanks and even crossing into the Israeli town of Metulla.
At first its actions were limited; but later Israel lifted its goals to conquering Lebanon right up to the Litani River – some 30 km deep.
July 18: Six days after the war began, helicopters, ferries and cruise ships started evacuating trapped foreign nationals from Lebanon. July 21: Israel warned residents in southern Lebanon to flee.

Across southern Lebanon, Hizballah fighters manned batteries that fired as many as 350 rockets a day at Israeli cities and towns, from an arsenal estimated at 13,000 missiles. In the 34 days of the war, almost 4,000 rockets were fired on Israel.
More than 100 hit Haifa, Israel’s third-largest city, while one radar-guided anti-ship missile, the C- 802 - a gift to Hizballah from its Iranian sponsors - struck an Israeli gunboat off the coast of Lebanon.
28 July. Hizballah fired longer-range, Iranian-made missiles into Israel for the first time. Five Zelzal-I missiles, which have a range of about 100 km, landed in the town of Afula, just under 50 km south of Israel’s border with Lebanon.

After a visit to Lebanon, UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland strongly condemned Hizballah for deaths that were entirely of the terrorist group’s making.
Mr Egeland accused Hizballah of “cowardly blending ... among women and children” and said: “I cannot understand how (Hiz-ballah) could be proud that there were more women and children hurt than armed militants.”
Hizballah, like Hamas, deliberately operate military wings out of densely populated areas. They launch anti-personnel missiles loaded with ball-bearing shrapnel, and designed by Syria and Iran to maximize civilian casualties in Israel. And then they hide from retaliation by living among civil ians. If Israel decides not to go after them for fear of harming civilians, the terrorists win by continuing to have free rein in attacking civilians with rockets. If Israel does attack and causes civilian casualties, the terrorists win a propaganda victory: the international community pounces on Israel for its disproportionate response. This chorus of condemnation encourages the terrorists to operate from civilian areas.
Lebanon’s various factions have united against Israel’s onslaught, and Hizballah can still count on broad support. But many citizens are angry at Hizballah for taking it upon itself to initiate a new conflict with Israel.


At present Israel possesses Patriot and Arrow anti-missile systems which are effective against STUDs and long-range missiles, but not the short-range Katyushas.
Israeli experts say a technological answer to the missile challenge should become available within a few years. It would probably be based on the Nautilus laser system jointly developed by the US and Israel.
Designed specifically to intercept rockets, the system focuses a high-energy laser beam capable of heating steel more than 200 meters away. The system was successfully tested in the US in 2004, downing Katyusha rockets and even artillery shells.

* 157 Israelis killed (118 soldiers and 39 civilians).
* One million Israelis either fled their homes or took to living in basement shelters.
* Almost 4000 Hizballah rockets fired on Israel.
* Hizballah rockets also struck many Israeli-Arab villages, and at least twelve Arabs were killed.
* Israel suffered less than 40 civilian fatalities and hundreds injured from some 4000 rockets in 33 days of war. (During the Palestinian intifada there was sometimes that number of deaths from a single bus bombing.)
* 5,500 houses and apartments, 30 businesses, 20 factories, and 19 communities in northern Israel have been damaged in 19 days of rocket barrages, according to government sources. Worst hit cities were Haifa (1,300 homes damaged), Kiryat Shmona (435), Safed (361), Carmel (466), and Nahariya (300).
* 743 Lebanese killed. 1100 Hizballah fighters and supplementary militia reportedly killed.
* 800,000 Lebanese fled the fighting.
* More than 70 bridges and 60 big factories were destroyed in Lebanon. Lebanon’s Mediterranean coastline became an ecological disaster as a result of oil slicks from bombed fuel tanks.


In its editorial on July 21, The Australian argued for the necessity for supporters of Israel to “calmly deploy an arsenal of facts” rather than resorting to emotional arguments, seeking to badger opponents to score debating points. The editorial detailed some of the facts about the battles in Israel’s 60-year struggle in the Middle East.
Despite being a tiny country surrounded by Arab states who would happily - and on more than one occasion have tried to - push it into the sea, Israel has historically sought peace with its neighbours and only fought to defend itself. The present conflict with Hizballah in Lebanon was not a fight of Israel’s choosing; in fact, Israel had pulled out from Lebanon in 2000 only to see the Iranian and Syrian-backed terrorist group regroup on its northern border.

In the occupied territories, Israel has repeatedly sought to arrive at some sort of accommodation with the Palestinians. Yet it was Israel’s reputation that was sullied during the first intifada of 1987 to 1993 when images of Arab youths hurling stones at tanks were beamed around the world. But when the collapse of the Soviet Union cut off aid from Moscow, the Palestinian leadership was finally forced to the peace table.
This led to the signing of the Oslo accords and the famous handshake between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn. The tragedy is that this promise of peace was false. Since its founding in 1948, Israel has repeatedly faced down hostile enemies who still view its founding as a naqba, or catastrophe.

This was shown most dramatically during the 1967 Six Day War. Having been subjected to weeks of threats and surrounded by the mobilised armies of Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Jordan, Israel took the initiative and decimated its enemies’ military capabilities. And even though every honest accounting of the war acknowledges Israel was facing overwhelming odds, many in the West see it as an act of Jewish aggression.


Israel only occupied land to the east of the ceasefire line of 1949 because it was in the process of fighting a defensive war. But the obligation to seek peace is not an obligation to commit national suicide. Who could reasonably expect Israel, a country that is at places just 15km wide, to withdraw from such defensive buffers in the face of states that have already proven their desire to do it harm?

In any case, Arab countries have proved more than happy to delay solutions to the problem of the occupied territories to provide them with a continuing source of propaganda.
Soon after Oslo the murder of Israel’s peacemaking Prime Minister Rabin by a Jewish fanatic in 1995 removed one of the strongest advocates for compromise with the Palestinians, as did repeated violations of the Oslo understanding by the Palestinians. By the mid -to late-1990s suicide-bomb belts had replaced rocks as the Palestinian weapon of choice.
And Yasser Arafat would prove to be nothing but a disaster. Through all of this the Israelis explicitly voted to give land back to the Palestinians in a quest to achieve peace - a very rare act in the history of the world. Events would come to a head with the start of the second intifada in late 2000, triggered, some say incited, by a visit by then Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem.
Arab Israelis rioted, and in the West Bank town of Ramallah two Israeli reservists were arrested and lynched in a local Palestinian police station. In the years that followed, suicide bombings would take hundreds of lives in Israel. Yet in 2004 Mr Sharon, the most hawkish of Israeli hawks, finally saw a way to make peace by evacuating the Gaza Strip and withdrawing from parts of the West Bank and leaving the Palestinians to run both areas. But once again the hope of peace was betrayed when the Hamas terrorist militia kidnapped an Israeli soldier on June 25.
The terrorists acted in an attempt to derail the possibility of a Palestinian vote on peace with Israel that could have gone against them. This fits a long pattern. For decades, first under a secular leadership and now under a more Islamicised one; every chance for peace has been scotched by a new atrocity committed by a Palestinian or Arab group determined to instead make war. And now Hizballah has followed them into the fray, with attacks on Israel from the north. This is
the long and complex story Israel’s enemies do not want told, instead preferring the narrative of displacement and victimisation that is so commonly heard in the West.

However many battles the Israelis win, their 60-year struggle for survival will never end unless they achieve their objectives in the war of ideas (facts!).
The fact is that many people are simply unaware of the history of aggression Israel has faced and are naive about the nature of that country’s enemies. Israel’s foes have become adept at working the press and releasing footage of dead civilians. The assumption of many in the media that there is something suspicious about a democracy that fights, rather than appeases its enemies, makes it easy for the ignorant and the anti-Semitic to paint Israel as an aggressor.
To counter this, all who support Israel’s right to exist, need to make the case with calm reason and lay out the facts, from the 1967 war through the Camp David and Oslo accords and Arafat’s benighted and corrupt leadership.
Also worth mentioning are Ehud Barak’s eagerness when Israeli prime minister to sign a peace deal that would have given the Palestinians 95 per cent of their stated desires and which was still rejected by Arafat. - From editorial, ISRAEL MUST WIN THE WAR OF IDEAS. The Australian, 21 July 06. Used by permission of News Limited.


Syria’s armed forces should have been hit to show
Assad he had to pay a price for Hizballah
By Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor, The Australian
THE most dramatic and important aspect of the war under way between Israel and Hizballah is the suffering of innocent civilians, both Lebanese and Israeli. These are the images that dominate our television screens and they cause us anguish. The plight of Australians caught up in the conflict is an overwhelming national concern.
Israel and Lebanon have a special claim on Australian affection. Australia has been a supporter and friend of Israel since its first days of independence. Lebanese Australians have made a magnificent contribution to this country, from Victorian Premier Steve Bracks to NSW Governor Marie Bashir.
The hostilities of today portend nothing but more grief for both countries. The strategic outlook for Israel and Lebanon is increasingly difficult.
The immense power that the new price of oil gives to the most recalcitrant and difficult regimes in the Middle East, is fundamental to today’s problems. Iran and Syria are behind Hizballah; not that they created Hizballah, or that they control it absolutely, but they have armed and financed it and have a great deal of influence over it.
This was given the most perfect confirmation in the candid conversation caught between US President George W. Bush and Britain’s Tony Blair at the G8 summit, when they were having lunch and did not know the mikes were on.
Bush said words to the effect that all it would take for the violence to stop would be a call to Syria’s president, Bashir al-Assad, who could instruct Hizballah to stop launching rockets at Israel, which would then cause Israel to stop firing on Lebanon. Blair agreed.
In other words, everybody knows Syria is behind this, backed by Iran. Everyone also knows that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, and has spent 20 years relentlessly lying about its nuclear program, yet no action is being taken against Iran.
Tehran can finance the supply of rockets, even sophisticated, precision-guided missiles, to Hizballah, which turn Hizballah from a terrorist militia into a strategic threat against Israel, out of loose change. Yet, short of military intervention with all the vast dangers that entails, what could possibly be done against Iran? In a world increasingly short of oil, no one is going to subject Iran to real sanctions.
The New York Times’ Tom Friedman, an acute analyst of the Middle East, has argued that when oil prices rise above a certain level there is no prospect of democratic reform in the Middle East. This is because the governing elites have all the money they need to pay their armies, look after their friends and bribe intermediaries. And terrorists can easily extort or solicit money from these regimes.
Another trend is purely demographic. The Arab population is exploding. It is young and rising rapidly. This means, among many other things, that Israel is becoming a much smaller part of the Middle East and its borders are clogged as never before. This deprives it of some of its traditional ability to wage campaigns of rapid manoeuvre across its borders and reduces its conventional military advantage.
Similarly, the Islamisation of almost all Arab politics is strengthen ing the position of extremists and weakening Lebanon’s beleaguered Christians. Most Muslims are not extremists, but the extremists are skilled at using Islamic idiom and symbols to garner support. Syria is a partial exception because it is a secular regime, but it is happy to cooperate with the Islamist extremists of Iran, Hizballah and Hamas.
Today’s conflict is also a serious setback to the Bush administration’s efforts to bring democracy to the Middle East. The three places the democracy-project was supposed to really mean something were Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.
But outside forces are determined to make sure these three entities will never experience true democracy.
The Iraqi people showed that they want democracy when eight million of them repeatedly braved extraordinary risks to vote. But their democracy is struggling against outside interference and internal sectarianism. In Palestine, Iran has financially backed Hamas, a branch of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.
The most promising Arab democracy of all was Lebanon. The world hailed the Cedar Revolution last year when hundreds of thousands of Lebanese bravely took to the streets to demand the departure of Syrian troops and a democratic future. Now Lebanon has been thrown into chaos, turmoil and suffering with so much of its infrastructure destroyed.
Robert Satloff of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy argues that the recent conflict represents an alliance by Iran, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas, which has gone on the offensive. All four of these players are achieving something of their strategic objectives. Syria, smarting from its ouster from Lebanon, wants to be back at the centre of Middle East diplomacy with great powers paying it court. Who can forget Warren Christopher’s 17 fruitless visits to Damascus?
Iran wants attention distracted from its nuclear program. It wants a new front to wage its anti-Western campaign. It wants ideological leadership in the Islamist struggle against Israel. It wants to demonstrate its power to make the West even less likely to take real action against it. Hizballah may have over-played its hand but is surely satisfied that Israel is again the villain on the international stage and that it has thrown the Lebanese political order into chaos. Hizballah wants to keep its arms and escalate the struggle against Israel.
Hamas wants new allies and is getting them and it wants to show Israel that the policy of unilateral withdrawal will bring it no peace.
Some analysts have speculated that this alliance may succeed in doing what Yasser Arafat could never do and regionalise the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
Israel has sought to hold a state, Lebanon, responsible for the actions of a non -state actor, Hizballah. But the broad action against so much of Lebanon is morally wrong and strate gically ill-advised. The return address on Hizballah’s rockets is postmarked Damascus and Tehran, not Beirut. Heavy strikes against Hizballah missile sites are warranted, but Israel cannot run Lebanon as it runs the West Bank.
Eventually, stopping rockets getting to Hizballah in southern Lebanon cannot be achieved long-term by physical Israeli interdiction. It can only come about through a diplomatic and political solution, which is highly unlikely, or by convincing Hizballah’s real backers, Syria and Iran, that there is a price for them to pay for Hizballah attacks.
An Israeli strike against Syria’s armed forces would have shown Assad he had to pay a price for Hizballah’s activities. Striking Lebanon, which is weak and cannot fight back, causes Assad and the rulers in Tehran no pain at all.
- The Australian, 20 July 06. Used by permission of News Limited. Syrian President Bashar Assad said America’s plan for a “new Middle East” collapsed after Hezbollah’s successes in fighting against Israel, and warned the Jewish state to seek peace or risk defeat in the future.


Lebanon is paying a high price for hosting terrorists

AT first glance, no one seems to be distinguishing themselves much in the present conflict in the Middle East. Not the UN, who in deploying a largely useless peacekeeping mission along side Hizballah installations in southern Lebanon made their own soldiers the accidental targets of an Israeli missile and created the strong impression that the international body has taken sides. Not Hizballah or its backers in Tehran and Damascus, who, in touching off the present conflict and deliberately stationing military assets in civilian areas, reveal the true value they place on the lives of those they aspire to lead.
Even Israel, with its historic restraint and willingness to make peace in the face of several hundred million Arabs and Iranians who would happily push the Jewish state into the sea tomorrow, is now seen by many as the bad guy.
But the outrage over Israel’s recent conduct in Lebanon ignores the twin messages Jerusalem is sending, first to Lebanon and second to Iran and its progressive cheer squad in the West. While Israel’s attacks on Lebanon have sparked the usual outcry from those who are appalled whenever the Jewish state has the gall to fight back, from the perspective of Jerusalem they make perfect strategic sense.
Since withdrawing from southern Lebanon in 2000, Israel has been at the receiving end of countless attacks from Hizballah. In quitting Lebanese territory, Israel unwittingly delivered a propaganda coup to Hizballah’s Iranian backers, who trumpeted their “first victory of Islam over the Zionist crusader camp.”
And there is no mistake to be made about Iran’s role in Hizballah or its strategy of using the Shia militia to pursue its aims around the Middle East. Former Iranian intelligence minister Ali Yunesi put it best when he said: “Iran is Hizballah and Hizballah is Iran.”
Although last year’s Cedar Revolution in Lebanon was a great precedent for the non-Israeli Middle East, ultimately Lebanon will not be a viable country if it cannot meet the definition of a nation-state that is controlling the territory within its borders. It only makes sense for Israel to pressure the Government in Beirut to do what it should have been doing all along - kick Hizballah and its Syrian and Iranian masters out of the country - if you accept the legitimacy of that Government.
If the first part of the message is a blunt one delivered at the pointy end of Israeli artillery, the second part is more subtle and has at its roots competing visions for the Middle East. In the militia’s kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers a fortnight ago, Iran used Hizballah to leverage what it perceived as Western weakness stemming from the Bush administration’s concessions over Tehran’s nuclear program. Iran is actively trying to promote a radical Shia takeover of the Middle East and sees fighting Israel as the way to attract support among Sunni Arabs who are also being courted by an American program of democratisation and liberalisation.
Thus Israel’s response is as much directed at Iran as it is to Lebanon and its resident Hizballah supporters, including 8000 active and 30,000 reservist militants. This is not 1967, and Israel’s real enemy is not massed across the border but, rather, 1500 km away in Tehran. There, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad regularly declares his desire to destroy Israel while pursuing a nuclear weapons program that many Western leftists - especially in Europe - see as a useful moral and military counterbalance to the Jewish state.
This is the second part of Israel’s message: Iran’s twin ambitions of obtaining nuclear weapons and dominating the region will not be allowed to proceed. Morally, there is no doubt that Israel had a right to respond to what was the latest in a long string of provocations by Hizballah since Israel pulled out of southern Lebanon. Strategically, a heavy response was warranted to re-establish Israel’s deterrent credibility. And it is natural that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would want to signal his willingness to use force despite his lack of military experience.
In responding to Hizballah, Israel is doing something constructive to solve a problem the rest of the world has indicated it cannot or will not. UN Security Council Resolution 1559 calls for Hizballah’s eviction from southern Lebanon. The biggest danger for Israel is that it could go too far and further alienate an otherwise sympathetic and anti-Hizballah Lebanese population through its actions.
In relying so heavily on missiles and air power, Israel weakens its case. If Israel felt truly in danger, its citizen-soldiers would be quickly sent into the maw; so far Mr Olmert’s strategy appears focused on minimising Israeli Defence Force casualties.
In the meantime, an international force to keep the peace seems unlikely. Australia’s Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, characterised any UN mission without an existing and lasting ceasefire as a “suicide mission.” And were one called immediately, a ceasefire would leave behind an even worse mess than existed before. Even if a negotiated ceasefire included a disarming of Hizballah, it would be very difficult to prevent Iran from waiting for world attention to focus itself elsewhere before sending another few boatloads of weapons and missiles to its clients in southern Lebanon. - The Australian, 28 July 06. Used by permission of News Limited.
With civil war threatening in Iraq, a realignment in the Middle East along theocratic Islamic lines is looming, and Israel’s and the West’s regional influence may ultimately be diminished or destroyed.
Even in a region where threat and brinkmanship frequently supersedes diplomacy, the anti-Israeli rhetoric this year from the Iranian President has been stark. Ahmadinejad’s repeated denials of the Holocaust have been backed by statements such as, “the Zionist entity needs to be pushed into the sea.”
He praised the Hizballah attacks in a recent provocative warning, claiming: “The day of happiness for the region is near. The world is on the verge of great changes.”

When Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was sworn into office, Hizballah militants marched through the streets of Damascus, in uniform and carrying flags in a state-sanctioned ceremony to pay the new leader tribute.
But Hizballah now has broader ambitions. In the war-torn south of Lebanon, its banners and mosaics are emblazoned with a key theme: Jerusalem. The group no longer wants to stop at the Israeli border, it now lays claim to the Jewish capital in the name of Shia Islam.
The 1700 rockets and missiles fired at the northern Israel were all put in place since Israel withdrew from south Lebanon in 2000. So was a tunnel network under the hills in southern Lebanon that has allowed Hiz-ballah fighters to escape relentless bombardment from Israeli tanks and warplanes. Hizballah is a state within a state and a power that Lebanon’s 10-fold stronger military is deeply reluctant to take on. After being a marked man, Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah emerged from hiding on the Pan-Arab television network Al-Jazeera early, reaffirming that the group no longer sees itself as a resistance group, but as the vanguard of an Islamic struggle, which identifies with the occupation of Palestinian territory as its central driver.
“It is obvious by now that Israel’s conflict with Hizballah and Hamas is part of a larger conflict largely paid for and directed by Iran and Syria. “In the Arab world, only Syrian President Bashar al-Assad supports both Hamas and Hizballah. Would he help both by, say, opening a new front on the Golan Heights? Syria has large artillery forces that could quickly launch a tremendous barrage; it has missiles that can reach deep into Israel,
and its armoured forces and commando units could go into action almost immediately.

“On the other hand, Syria has never violated the 1974 ceasefire on the Golan Heights, not even in 1982 when the Israelis destroyed Syrian forces in Lebanon. The Syrians know that even if they struck first, the Israelis would retaliate by bombing Syrian air bases and by destroying electrical power stations, oil refineries, main bridges and the like. And the Syrian army would undoubtedly suffer heavy losses.
“Most important, Assad must be concerned that his regime, narrowly based on the loyalty of the small Alawite religious minority to which he belongs, would be overthrown if the country suffered a big military defeat. Which brings us back to Iran.
“Ahmadinejad has been threatening Israel with destruction daily and keeps denying the Holocaust in a manner that reveals his own genocidal fantasies. But as of now, Iran has no military capacity against Israel other than a few unreliable ballistic missiles imported from North Korea, whose warheads could fall just about anywhere. Even if by some miracle they were to hit a city or town in Israel, their conventional explosives would not inflict much damage anyway.
“On the other hand, an Iranian missile attack would give Israel the opportunity to strike Iran’s nuclear installations without provoking global outrage. It would be a very serious act of war, but it would not stir the Arab states to aid Iran’s mullahs: they, too, fear a nuclear Iran. Much is at stake in the current crisis: Israel’s security; Lebanon’s viability as a nation; the future roles of Hamas and Hizballah; America’s ability to function as an effective power in the Middle East; and more still. There are dangers on every side. - By Martin Chulov, The Weekend Australian, 22-23 July 06. Used by permission of News Limited.

IN 1974, the Arab states decided to anoint a terrorist movement, and declare Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organisation to be the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.” Then the Arab League was able to persuade the UN, the EU, Bill Clinton and everyone else, to go along with this “anointing.”
The Sunni Arabs are now evidently realising that they created something that has mutated into a monster.
Until the unprecedented denunciation of Hizballah by the Arab League in July, the rule in any conflict in which Israel is involved, was to maintain that the Jews are to blame.
But Saudi-Egyptian-Jordanian opportunism on Pales-tine has caught up with them: it has finally dawned on them that a strategy of consciously avoiding a resol-ution of the Palestinian question has helped deliver Gaza and Lebanon and Syria into the hands of a regime that’s a far bigger threat to the Arab world than the Zionist entity.
Cairo and its co-Arabs grew so accustomed to complaining about the Palestinian pseudo-crisis decade in, decade out, that it never occurred to them that they might face a real crisis one day; a Middle East dominated by an apocalyptic Iran and its local enforcers, in which Arab self-rule turns out to have been a mere interlude between the Ottoman sultans and the eternal eclipse of a Persian nuclear umbrella.

Hizballah expected that the Arab world would fully support its offensive against Israel, as usual. But this time Hizballah may have miscalculated. Shi’ite Hiz-ballah does not command an instinctive following throughout a largely Sunni Arab world.
Saudi Arabia - perhaps the most conservative Arab Muslim state of all - openly condemned the actions of the Shia Hizballah in instigating conflict with Israel. It denied Hizballah’s action represented “resistance,” and declared it “reckless.”
Never before in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict has a state that considers itself a leader of the Arab Muslim peoples backed Israel so openly.
King Abdullah II of Jordan and President Hosni Mu-barak of Egypt likewise condemned Hizballah for “adventurism that does not serve Arab interests.”
At the Arab League, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal called Hizballah’s actions “unexpected, inappropriate and irresponsible.” He told his counterparts: “These acts will pull the whole region back to years ago, and we cannot simply accept them.”
His remarks were endorsed by Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and the Palestinian Authority - that is, the PA represented by President Mahmoud Abbas, not the Hamas-led cabinet.
In Lebanon, you could hear similar criticism. Walid Jumblatt and other parliamentarians asked, “What gave a party (Hizballah) the right to commit the country to war, with all its attendant costs?” The war in Lebanon is not a war by the Arab world against Israel; rather it is a war orchestrated by the region’s radical forces, which reject any settlement with Israel.

This conflict was sought for four reasons:
1. to ease pressure on Hamas from within the Palestinian community to recognise Israel.
2. to undermine democratisation in Lebanon, which was marginalizing Syria.
3. to lift attention from the dispute over the Iranian nuclear program.
4. to demonstrate to the West the tools at Tehran’s disposal in the case of war.
Moderate Arab governments understand the issue at stake: it is about regional hegemony, in the case of Syria with Lebanon and Palestine, and on a wider level, Iran’s hegemonic claim to the entire Middle East.
While there may be no sympathy for Israel, many Arabs realise the war is over something bigger than a Jewish state with a tiny territory of 25,000 sq km - less than 1% of Saudi Arabia’s land mass.
There is little mystery about why Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan - all Arab states with predominantly Sunni Muslim populations - would distance themselves from Hizballah. The Lebanese organization is a Shi’ite fighting force, founded and bankrolled by Shi’ite, and non-Arab, Iran.
As Tehran flexes its muscles in the region, pursuing technology that could enable it to build nuclear
weapons and watching as Shi’ite forces gradually dominate Iraq, Arab powers have become worried.

President Bush assured Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that he understood Arab “anguish” over Lebanese suffering, but the two leaders clashed on the Middle East conflict. (The Iraq government is of course dominated by Shi’ites.)
The two leaders disagreed openly on calls for a ceasefire, with Mr Maliki emphasising “the importance of immediate ceasefire,” and Mr Bush sticking by his view that a ceasefire can come only as part of a long-term solution. “Our mission and our goal is to have a lasting peace – not a temporary peace, but something that lasts. We want a sustainable ceasefire.”
Iraq could become the launching pad for a full-on war between Sunni and Shi’ite, with Iran entering the fray on the Shi’ite side and the Arab states defending Iraq’s Sunnis. In the bitter Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88, more than a million people were killed or wounded - and any repeat of that carnage would take place in the context of a region where at least one power, Iran, is determined to develop nuclear weapons.
Syria has had a long history of involvement and domination in Lebanon. Last year it was forced to withdraw its troops.
Before the Katyusha war began, the Saudis sent a senior official to Damascus to warn them, and Hizballah; “Don’t try to start anything in Lebanon.” But Syria is not in the Saudi camp these days. Early in the conflict Syria saw what it thought may be an opportunity in the crisis. Playing a double game, Damascus offered to help mediate an early settlement that would involve Israel releasing prisoners and withdrawing from Shebaa Farms, a 22 sq km area on the Lebanese border that Lebanon claims as its territory. (See article below). But Damascus has two longer-term aims: an end to Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights, territory captured from Syria in 1967, and a tacit agreement that the US and the West will end their confrontation with President Bashar Assad and his government over their alleged involvement in the assassination of Rafik Hariri.

A US plan, in fact, offered Syria renewed legitimacy if it backed away from its alliance with Iran and Hizballah.
But in Syria there is tremendous support for Hizballah and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah who is seen as an underdog Islamic warrior who has dared to take on a powerful foe. In Damascus, US and UN calls for Hizballah to disarm, abandon militancy and retreat north, are scoffe d at on the street.
Syria may be considered a rogue by other Arab nations, but its defiance of the US and Israel still wins it support, especially among would-be Islamic overlords such as al-Qaida. ISRAEL AND SYRIA ON HIGH ALERT
The Israeli Air Force bombed roads between Lebanon and Syria, and attacked trucks which were believed to be carrying armaments after they crossed from Syria into Lebanon. Both Israeli and Syrian armed forces were on high alert, and Israel reinforced its troops in the Golan Heights because of the very real possibility of the two nations clashing over Syria’s support for Hizballah.
The Shebaa Farms is a fertile but obscure rural area measuring 22 sq km, consisting of about a dozen abandoned farms that are situated between Lebanon and the Golan Heights. (see map on page 5).
Until 1967 the area was under effective Syrian control although the farmers, who lived in a nearby Lebanese village, considered themselves Lebanese, and held land deeds issued by the Lebanese government in the 1950s and 60s.
There was never a formal agreement between Lebanon and Syria that clearly defined the border between them in the Shebaa area. But maps dating from the French mandate in Lebanon in the 1920s showed the farms to be within Syria, as do official Lebanese maps printed in the 1960s. The farms fell into disuse after it was captured by Israel in the Six Day War.
In 2000, Israel pulled out of Lebanon to an international boundary between Israel and Lebanon that was de-marcated by the UN on the basis of old maps and treaties, but Lebanon challenged this line and demand-ed that the Shebaa Farms be part of the pullback area. Kofi Annan’s office declared the Lebanese claim “not valid.”
Hizballah took up the issue and declared that its object-ive of driving Israel out of Lebanon would not be achieved until Shebaa was handed over.
Critics claim Hizballah seized on the issue to justify its existence as an armed force and to continue serving as an outpost of Iran’s Islamic revolution.
Peace makers now say that if Israel relinquishes the area, Hizballah will have no excuse to continue its armed role and will devote itself to becoming a political force in Lebanon. An Israeli pullback from Shebaa could provide Hizballah with a face-saving way out, and permit it to claim a victory, while an international force controlling Shebaa and southern Lebanon could keep Hizballah away from the border.
A Hizballah’s representative in the Lebanese cabinet said recently that once Israel withdrew from the Shebaa Farms area, Hizballah’s role as a “liberating army” would be concluded and it would then confine itself to a defensive role.
Syria would need to be persuaded to formally cede the area to Lebanon. But while Damascus verbally backs Lebanon’s claim to the area, it has been unwilling to redefine its borders because it still regards the territory of Lebanon, Jordan and Israel to be part of the Greater Syria that existed before World War I. - Source: Abraham Rabinovich, Jerusalem

At the moment, it is only Israel that has the power to create an enforceable, lasting peace in the region. And it is only Israel that has the power to enforce UN Resolution 1559, which calls for Hizballah’s eviction from southern Lebanon.
An immediate ceasefire, as called for by European and other leaders, would only entrench the status quo that existed from 2000 when Hizballah was allowed to control southern Lebanon, nominally protected by the UN and free to take pot shots at northern Israel.
The idea of a UN peacekeeping force able to enforce its own resolutions is as unworkable as it is unimaginable. Over its 28-year life, the $133 million-a-year UNIFIL mission to southern Lebanon has been unable to stop Hizballah attacks on Israel, such as the one that provoked the present conflict.
A UN mission to disarm Hizballah and dismantle its presence in S Lebanon would require troops willing, able and authorised to occupy as much as half the country. Even were such a force to be authorised, European and Middle Eastern nations would be highly reluctant to commit personnel. A ceasefire enforced by the UN would lead at best to the folding-in of Hizballah into the Lebanese Army, to the detriment of Lebanon’s sovereignty.
The ground operation in Lebanon could be more costly for Israel in the short term, but creating its own buffer against those who would seek to destroy it may be the country’s only option.

– From editorial, Israel’s Chance to Create Peace, The Australian, 3 Aug 06. Used by permission of News Limited.


July 26. Condoleezza Rice met European and Arab foreign ministers in Rome, with hopes of creating a powerful Arab political front to rein in the militants. Washington hoped its allies in the region feared the spread of Islamic militancy more than any threat from Israel.
According to White House officials, the US strategy is to build an “umbrella” of Arab nations against Hizballah and, by extension, against the Shia militancy across the region stirred up by Iran. The US plan involves trying to drive a wedge between Syria, a broadly Sunni nation, and Iran, which is mostly Shia.
President Bush has specifically named Syria and Iran as the two main backers of Hizballah terrorists who were responsible for the crisis. But he views the current crisis as an opportunity to combat Islamic terrorism in the Middle East by getting Arab allies to unite against Iran.
In Rome, the US wanted its Arab allies, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, to put pressure on Syria to stop Hizballah firing rockets into Israel and to disarm. The three Sunni Arab governments, however, wanted an immediate end to the fighting, which they feared was increasing Iranian and Shia influence in the region, and threatening to undermine the moderate Sunni Arab governments.
The US resisted pressure from the UN, Arab leaders and Italy for a call for an immediate ceasefire, without preconditions. Instead, Rice said the greatest priority was to ensure that any end to the fighting was sustainable, a signal that Israel was free to keep up its attempts to weaken Hizballah. The 15 foreign ministers from the US, Middle East and Europe did agree on the need for a robust UN-backed international armed force to eventually keep the peace in southern Lebanon. But the Rome talks broke up without calling for an immediate ceasefire.
Iran and Syria who were not invited to the Rome talks insisted they should have been invited to the summit. Both say nothing will be achieved without at least some of their demands being met.
Syria denounced the 5-hour meeting as “time-wasting by the Americans,” saying it could have no real impact because it did not include itself and Iran, nor the combatants Israel and Hizballah.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry said the Rome imbroglio could have had a different ending if Tehran was invited to state its claims. “There can be no solution without us,” an official statement said. Weighed against Iran’s nuclear standoff with the UN Security Council, its request for a voice seems to be wishful thinking.

Early in the war, UN Sec-Gen. Kofi Annan proposed a multinational peace-keeping force to end the anarchy in south Lebanon. Many observers believe such a force would prove to be just as disastrous as the several other alternate solutions including:
* Deploying Lebanon’s official military. The Lebanon government has proposed sending in 15,000 of its army to take control of southern Lebanon. And Hizballah supports this “solution.” But as Hizballah is part of the Lebanese Government, and as about 40% of the army is made up of Shi’ites or Hizballah sympathizers, and as both the army and the government are demonstrably weak, it is highly unlikely that Hizballah would submit to disarmament. And it would still be calling the shots in the south. The problem would be compounded if, as Kofi Annan has suggested, Hizballah is drafted into the Lebanese Army.
* Deploying Syrian forces. Non-Shi’ite Lebanese as well as Israelis reject a Syrian occupation of south Lebanon. It would be a return to the pre-2005 revolution crisis.
* Deploying Israeli forces. Israelis are not keen for a repetition of their experiences in occupying Arab lands in 1967 and 1982, but in the absence of a satisfactory international force, it will need to maintain the buffer zone.
* Another plan which has been suggested is that Damascus should be put on notice that it is responsible for Hizballah violence.
(This in fact, is in keeping with UN Security Council resolution 1680, adopted on May 17, 2006, which calls on Syria to undertake “measures against movements of arms into Lebanese terr itory.”)
Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia explains: Syria should be told immediately to cease supplying Hizballah, and warned that future violence from south Lebanon would be greeted with an “offer that Syria cannot refuse,” meaning military reprisals. As David Bedein explains in Philadelphia’s The Evening Bulletin, “for every target hit by Syria’s proxy, Israel will single out Syrian targets for attack.” This plan has problems, especially in view of the recent Syrian-Iranian mutual defence treaty. All these “solutions” will perpetuate the non -peace between Israel and its neighbours.

The solution that the Irani President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proffers is, “Wipe Israel off the face of the earth.” Or if that is not acceptable, then, “Move Israel to Europe,” as he suggested in a news conference in Mecca last December.
“If the Europeans are honest they should give some of their provinces – like in Germany, Austria or other countries – to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe,” Ahmadinejad said. “You offer part of Europe and we will support it. Why do they insist on imposing themselves on other powers and creating a tumor so there is always tension and conflict?”
Israel is not willing to accept the pre-existing status quo with Hizballah or Hamas because it needs to know that in any deal with the Palestinians, its people will be safe.
If the battle ends with less than a demonstrable victory for Israel - an outcome Olmert has insisted would be unsatisfactory - then Hizballah and its backers Syria and Iran would declare a moral victory just as the US is trying to curtail the influence of both radical states and as American power is being tested in Iraq.
(Well, Israel did not achieve a “demonstrable victory”! And the Shias have declared victory!)
At first Israel planned to first establish a buffer zone 6 to 8 km inside Lebanon - an area comparable to the last strip of territory it controlled before withdrawing its forces in 2000. Later, Israel upgraded its goal and planned to take control of the Lebanese territory between Israel and the Litani River – a strip that measures about 50-60 km wide, and between 4 km and 30 km deep.
Defence Minister, Mr Peretz, said the zone would only be handed over to a strong international peacekeeping force. “If there is no multinational force with an enforcement capability, we will continue to fire on anyone approaching the security zone.” He suggested the new no-go zone for guerillas could be enforced by air and artillery strikes, without a permanent army presence.
Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres, said: “Israel must emerge from this war as a winner, or else the war will continue.” That’s true! It will be on again before long! Ehud Olmert repeated said that there would be no ceasefire until an international force was deployed in south Lebanon. (Well, he accepted a ceasefire and began withdrawal without the international forces in sight!)

Aug 3. In his televised speech broadcast, Nasrallah for the first time offered to stop firing rockets into Israel if it stops its air strikes. But he also threatened to launch missiles into Tel Avi v if Israel hits Beirut.
“Anytime you decide to stop your campaign against our cities, villages, civilians and infrastructure, we will not fire rockets on any Israeli settlement or city,” he said in a taped statement broadcast on Hizballah’s Al-Manar TV. Speaking directly to Israelis, Nasrallah added, “The only choice before you is to stop your aggression and turn to negotiations to end this folly.”
10 Aug. Nasrallah threatened that south Lebanon would become a graveyard for Israeli forces if they launched a full invasion of the area. (That didn’t happen!)
Hizballah spokesman Hussein Rahal said his group would not accept a ceasefire until Israeli troops with-drew. “Declaring a ceasefire is not the concern of the people of Lebanon as long as there is one Israeli soldier on Lebanese soil - even one metre (into Lebanon),” he said. (Hizballah backed down on this position!)

After many days of wrangling, a draft resolution thrashed out by the US and France was at first rejected by Lebanon and Hizballah who both insisted that Israeli troops must pull out of Lebanon before a ceasefire can be accepted. (They backed down later.)
Arab representatives descended on the UN, calling for a ceasefire and Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon.
The revising of the draft resolution pitted France against the US; and France even threatened to file a resolution in the Security Council on its own.
Russia, increasingly impatient that diplomacy has taken so long, introduced its own resolution calling for a blanket 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire in Lebanon. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin sounded an alarm that the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon was reaching “catastrophic” proportions and said it was too urgent for diplomacy to go on much longer. The resolution was rejected by Israel.
Finally on 11-12 August, Resolution 1701 was adopted unanimously by the 15-member Security Council. The main points of the resolution: It ...

* Calls for full cessation of hostilities.
* Authorises an interim UN force with up to 15,000 in Lebanon, with a mandate to take all necessary action to perform its duties. (It will in fact be an expansion of the present UNIFIL force.)
* Asks the Lebanese government to deploy troops in the south and to prevent weapons flowing to the militia.
* Calls on Israel to withdraw from southern Lebanon when fighting stops, in parallel with the deployment of Lebanese and UN troops.
* Imposes an arms embargo on Lebanon, barring the delivery of weapons or military equipment to “any entity or individuals,” excluding the Lebanese and UN troops.
* Asks for the unconditional release of Israeli soldiers abducted by Hizballah on July 12, and urgently encourages settling the issue of Lebanese prisoners detained in Israel.
* Asks UN Sec.-Gen. Kofi Annan to develop proposals within 30 days for the disarmament of militia, and the delineation of the borders.
* Asks Kofi Annan to secure agreements from Lebanon and Israel for a permanent ceasefire. The resolution makes no mention of Syria or Iran. But Condoleezza Rice simply said; “Today we call upon every state, especially Iran and Syria, to respect the sovereignty of the Lebanese government and the will of the international community.”
Many commentators believe that any international force is sure to fail, just as it did, in 1982-84 when US, French, and Italian troops were deployed in Lebanon to separate Israel from Lebanon’s anarchy and terrorism. The Multi-National Force at that time collapsed when Hizballah attacked the MNF soldiers, embassies and other installations. That prompted the MNF’s humiliating flight from Lebanon.
The present expanded UNIFIL is likely to be at constant odds with the Lebanese army and Hizballah. One thing is sure; Iran will not be content until Lebanon is ruled by Shia fundamentalism.

President Chirac has been playing a leading role as a broker of peace, and France is the likely leader of the international peacekeeping force on the Lebanese-Israel border.
As a former colonial power in Lebanon, and a Western nation with Arab relations untarnished by any involvement in the Iraq conflict, the French President believes Paris can play a bridging role between the US and Israel and the beleaguered Lebanese Government, Hizballah and even Syria and Iran.
During more than three decades in politics Mr Jacques Chirac developed strong links with Middle East leaders, and he was close friends with assassinated Leba nese PM Rafik Hariri. And with the US bogged down in Iraq, discredited in the region, and unable and unwilling to contribute troops to a proposed international force, and Britain being told to butt out of the conflict by no less than UN Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown, Mr Chirac believes France’s hour for action and honour in the Middle East has come.

Establishing a multi-national force to take over and patrol a buffer zone in south Lebanon is easier said than done. Many nations were not keen to send forces into what could be a continuous war zone.
The UN force needs to be large, combat-hardened with “serious” operational abilities if they are to hold back a rearmed and upbeat Hizballah. And it may take several months to get the force on the field.
Israel says it would accept Western-leaning Arab nations taking part in a peacekeeping force, but send-ing Sunni-led forces into potential conflict with the Shia Muslim Hizballah would be dangerous.
Tony Blair signaled that Hizballah would hardly be a straightforward enemy, and the deployment “can only work if Hizballah is prepared to allow it to work.”
And French troops are expected to lead the expanded UNIFIL, but the Foreign Minister of France said on 12 Aug, that he did not believe in using force to disarm Hizballah.
As well as France, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and Italy are expected to be participants in the force. Germany and Denmark have offered to supply sea vessels and patrols for the Lebanon coast. Bangladesh has Indonesia has already said that it would not take part in disarming Hizballah. The question is, Who is going to disarm Hizballah? Is it the job of the Lebanese government, or of the UN force? Kofi Annan is supposed to work this out – within 30 days.

Aaron Miller, a former top US Middle East negotiator, says Lebanon’s political fragility means that a serious try at bringing Hizballah under government control “can’t be done without triggering civil war.”
If no outside force can pacify Hizballah, what’s the chance it will choose to restrain itself? It will not give up its major philosophy. Fighting Israel and “liberating Jerusalem” is at the core of its politics, and it is the key not only to self-definition, but also to the arms, money and backing it gets from Syria and Iran, and the support it gets inside Lebanon and elsewhere in the Arab world. As part of efforts to normalize Lebanon earlier this year, Hizballah was engaging in a national dialogue with other parties in which it listened sympathetically to entreaties to forget fighting and concentrate exclusively on politics for the good of the country. At the same time, it was stockpiling missiles and preparing for the war it started without anyone’s consent. Few non-Shias would now trust any promise it gave.
Aug 15. Lebanon’s Defence Minister Elias Murr said that the Lebanese army would deploy 15,000 troops on the boundaries of the Litani River.

In the meantime, international troops currently in Lebanon would assume positions vacated by the Israeli army before handing them over to the Lebanese troops. Murr said the army would not disarm Hizballah; he expected the group to co-operate. ”There would be no arms in southern Lebanon other than those of Lebanese forces once they deployed,” he said. Does he mean the UNIFIL should lay down their arms, and also go home, after the Israelis have left?
Will Hizballah’s acclaim and “victory” lead to greater political power? Will the Hizballah militia be integ-rated into the Lebanese army, and will it lead to Hizballah’s domination of the army?

One thing we can be sure of is that Hizballah is not goin g to concentrate exclusively on social work! Many analysts expect the ceasefire will allow Hizballah fighters to regroup and rearm in preparation for another round of conflict, with even more longer-range missiles. Israel will be compelled to develop more advanced weapons and anti-missile shields.

Hizballah, Iran, Syria and the Palestinians celebrated Israel’s acceptance of the UN ceasefire resolution, dubbing it a “surrender,” and a “defeat for the Zionist entity.”
Claiming victory - in virtue of being able to withstand the massive assault and maintain its volleys of Katyusha attacks on Israel - Hizballah distributed leaflets congratulating Lebanon on its “big victory” and thanking citizens for their patience during the 34-day war with Israel.
There were already calls for Arab states to attack the new “weak” Israel. A Hizbullah central council said: “Today Arab and Muslim society is reasonably certain that the defeat of Israel is possible, and that the countdown to the disappearance of the Zionist entity in the region has begun … If a mere organization succeeded in defeating Israel, why would Arab nations not succeed in doing so if they allied? Many Arabs and Muslims viewed Israel in a fictional way and the resistance has suc ceeded in changing this.”
Pictures of Hassan Nasrallah “hang everywhere in Ramallah (West Bank),” according to Al-Jazeera TV, “covering the walls and shop fronts and plastered across T-shirts and demonstration banners.” The number-one song in Ramallah this summer, “blaring out of shops and streets stalls,” is “The Eagle of Lebanon,” referring to the Hizballah chief. Hizballah won a “victory of sorts.” But it was not so impressive! Of some 4,000 missiles fired on Israel, 95% of Hizballah’s missiles hit nothing of any value. A few Israeli tanks were destroyed, and 157 Israelis killed (39 civilians and 118 soldiers).
Of course, some hundreds of Israelis were injured, and there was considerable property damage, and there was the trauma caused as people were forced to flee or to live in underground shelters. But all this damage was relatively light for the war, especially when you consider the “enormous consequences” Hizballah promised, and comparing with what Hizballah and Lebanon suffered – 743 civilians and up to 1100 Hizballah militia and supplementary fighters killed - according to a Lebanese journalist.
Then there was also the ruination of Hizballah’s headquarters in Beirut, and strongholds in the south. And then there is the UN demand that Hizballah be disarmed and removed from southern Lebanon. This may not happen, but Hizballah may end up with three opponents - Israel, UNIFIL and the Lebanese Army!
After the ceasefire Hizballah took the stance that to disarm and leave the arms-free buffer zone would show it as losers in the conflict.
In a sense, Iran emerged as the main victor in the current war. There was no mention, and no censoring, of Tehran in the Resolution 1701 even though it was clearly involved. Iran proved that it could stir up a lot of trouble – as it had promised it would.
Israel’s “defeat” was that it did not eliminate Nasrallah, and that it was not able to totally wipe out Hizballah. Israel’s “defeat” was that it did not achieve a resound-ing victory as it had done in the 1967 six-day war and the 1973 Yom Kippur war.
Israel’s “victory of a sort” saw Israel restore its deterrence factor to quite an extent. The Zionist state was that it was not the weak “cobweb” that Nasrallah called it! The world in general m ay lambast Israel as being excessive, but they have been emphatically reminded that Israel is not going to be wiped out!
If Israel un-leashed such a torrent of retaliation (more than 7,000 sorties hitting 3,000 targets) under “non-military” Prime and Defence Ministers, what might the response be if the nation was led by an experienced military general like Ariel Sharon?
It may be too early to judge if the ceasefire brought a stalemate, or who are the actual winners and losers. It remains to be seen if Hizballah remains armed, or if its ‘state within a state” continues; and what developments will follow the shake up. The ceasefire is very fragile. And most observers seem to believe that both Israel and Hizbollah will live to fight another day!
In Israel there has been a lot of criticism of the conducting of the war, and of the acceptance of Resolution 1701. The ceasefire resolution is seen as a shameful compromise that does not meet the two stated objectives of Israel’s offensive in Lebanon: the immediate unconditional release of the kidnapped soldiers, and the disarming of Hizbullah.
The resolution “asks” for the release of the kidnapped soldiers, but in the same paragraph ties it in with the release of Lebanese terrorists held in Israeli jails.
Some analysts say, by handing a “victory” to Hizbullah, the resolution strengthens the belief of millions of supporters of jihad throughout the world that their side is winning and that they should redouble efforts to achieve their objectives of destroying Israel and running the US out of the Middle East.
In particular, Hizballah’s presumptive victory in its war against Israel will act as a catalyst for violence by the Shia organisation’s allies in Iraq against the Iraqi government and coalition forces in the weeks to come.
In an article in the Jerusalem Post (Aug 13), international legal scholar Prof. Anne Bayefsky and journalist Caroline Glick) analyzed the text of Resolution 1701, under the title ... AN UNMITIGATED DISASTER
Some of the points:
There is a good reason why Nasrallah accepted UN Security Council Resolution 1701; it represents a near-total victory for Hizballah and its state sponsors Iran and Syria, and an unprecedented defeat for Israel and its ally the United States. This fact is evident both in the text of the resolution and in the very fact that the US decided to sponsor a cease-fire resolution before Israel had dismantled or seriously degraded Hizballah’s military capabilities.
This is the case, first of all, because the resolution places responsibility for determining compliance in the hands of UN Sec-Gen Kofi Annan. Annan has distinguished himself as a man capable only of condemning Israel for its acts of self-defence while ignoring the fact that in attacking Israel, its enemies are guilty of war crimes. By empowering Annan to evaluate compliance, the resolution all but ensures that Hizballah will not be forced to disarm.
The resolution makes absolutely no mention of either Syria or Iran, without whose support Hizballah could neither exist nor wage an illegal war against Israel. In so ignoring Hizballah’s sponsors, it ignores the regional aspect of the current war and sends the message to these two states that they may continue to equip terrorist armies in Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority and Iraq with the latest weaponry without paying a price for their aggression.
Israel’s conditions for a cease-fire included the institution of an arms embargo against Hizballah. However, paragraph 8 puts both the question of an arms embargo and Hizballah’s dismantlement off to some future date when Israel and Lebanon agree to the terms of a “permanent ceasefire.” In addition, it places the power to oversee an arms embargo against Hizballah in the hands of the Lebanese government, of which Hizballah is a member.
The resolution treats the Lebanese government and military as credible bodies. However, the Lebanese government is currently under the de facto control of Hizballah and Syria. The resolution incites Shi’ite violence in Iraq. From a US perspective, the resolution drastically increases the threat of a radical Shi’ite revolt in Iraq. Hizbullah is intimately tied to Iraqi Shi’ite terrorist Muqtada al-Sadr.
In April 2003, Hizballah opened offices in southern Iraq and was instrumental in training the Mahdi Army, which Sadr leads. During a demonstration in Baghdad last week, Sadr’s followers demanded that he consider them an extension of Hizballah, and expressed a genuine desire to participate in Hizballah’s war against the US and Israel.
It should be assumed that Hizballah’s presumptive victory in its war against Israel will act as a catalyst for violence by Sadr and his followers against the Iraqi government and coalition forces in the weeks to come. Indeed, the Hizballah victory will severely weaken moderate Shi’ites in the Maliki government and among the followers of Grand Ayatollah Ali al -Sistani.
Iran emerges as the main victor in the current war. Not only was it not condemned for its sponsorship of Hizballah, it is being rewarded for that sponsorship because it is clear to all parties that Iran was the engine behind this war, and that its side has won.
The UN resolution does not strengthen the US hand in future Security Council deliberations regarding Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons program because the states that object to any action against Iran - Russia and China - will continue with their refusal to sign on to any substantive action. Indeed, Russia’s behavior regarding the situation in Lebanon, including the fact that a large percentage of Hizballah’s arsenal of advanced anti-tank missiles was sold by Russia to Syria and Iran, exposes that Moscow’s role in the current conflict, has been similar to the position taken by the Soviet Union in earlier Middle East wars.
Furthermore, because the resolution strengthens the UN as the arbiter of peace and security in the region, the diplomatic price the US will be forced to pay if it decides to go outside the UN to contend with the Iranian threat has been vastly increased. Many sources in Washington believe the US decision to seek a ceasefire was the result of Israel’s amateurish bungling of the first three weeks of the war. The Bush administration, they argued, was being blamed for the Olmert government’s incompetence, and so it preferred to cut its losses and seek a ceasefire.

There is no doubt much truth to this assertion. The government’s prosecution of this war has been unforgivably inept. At the same time it should be noted that the short-term political gain accrued by the US by forging the ceasefire agreement will come back to haunt the US, Israel and all forces fighting the forces of global jihad in the coming weeks and months?

The battle will continue!

By Evelyn Gordon, Jerusalem Post, Aug 10, 06

Does anyone still remember the avowed reason for our unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon six years ago - so that no more Israelis would die on Lebanese soil?
At the time, our fatalities in Lebanon averaged 20 to 25 soldiers a year. In the four weeks since the current fighting began, Israel has suffered 102 fatalities - the equivalent of four to five years worth of fighting in Lebanon before the withdrawal. Granted, only 63 of these casualties have been soldiers; the rest have been civilians. But that hardly seems an improvement. Moreover, unlike our 18-year occupation of south Lebanon, this war has been fought largely on the home front, with consequently enormous economic and human costs.
The north’s economy has been virtually shut down for four weeks (and counting). Many small businesses have been so damaged that they will never reopen. Some 1.5 million residents of the north have either become internal refugees or been forced to spend four miserable weeks in bomb shelters. And some have lost their homes entirely in rocket strikes.
By comparison, the costs of staying in south Lebanon no longer look so steep. And in fact, they never would have, had they been calculated correctly. Unfortunately, the decision to withdraw from Lebanon suffered from the same flaws that afflict far too many Israeli foreign policy decisions: failure to take the other side’s motives and perceptions into account, and an obsession with preventing short-term casualties.
THE THEORY behind the Lebanon pullout was that once Israel withdrew, Lebanon would have no further quarrel with Israel, so hostilities would cease. Unfortunately, this theory ignored several salient and well-known facts.
First, Hizballah was armed and financed - and therefore heavily influenced - by Iran and Syria, neither of which concealed their continued hostility to Israel. Second, Hizballah itself declared periodically that hostilities were justified as long as Israel occup ied any Arab land - and it defined all of Israel as “occupied territory.”

Third, Lebanon was controlled by Syria, and was therefore powerless to suppress Hizballah against Syria’s will even had most Lebanese wanted to do so (at that time, no one envisioned Syria’s later ouster).

Fourth, Lebanon was still traumatized by the 15-year civil war that had ended only 10 years earlier, and was therefore unlikely to risk another by trying to forcibly disarm Hizballah even if it regained its independence.
Given all this, the outcome was predictable: As Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah told a news conference on July 12, the organization began preparing for war against Israel from the moment Israel left Lebanon. With the Israel Defense Forces no longer there to disrupt its supply lines, it massively expanded its arsenal, acquiring sophisticated anti-tank missiles and 12,000 to 14,000 rockets from Syria and Iran.
Without the IDF, it was also able to deploy its rockets near the border, thereby bringing much more of Israel into range than had been the case previously. Haifa, for instance, suffered not a single rocket strike during Israel’s 18 years in Lebanon - but over the last month, it has been battered repeatedly.
Additionally, Hizballah built a network of fortified bunkers near the border, which have greatly increased IDF casualties in the current fighting. Israel also forfeited two other assets by leaving Lebanon. One was the South Lebanon Army (SLA), whose soldiers fought alongside the IDF for 18 years. Today, having abandoned the SLA to Hizballah’s tender mercies, Israel is fighting alone. The second was its intelligence network, which
shrunk drastically follow-ing the withdrawal - both because Israel could no longer offer Lebanese agents either the benefits or the protection that they could when the IDF was present, and because much intelligence had come from the now defunct SLA. All of the above meant that when hostilities did resume - as Hizballah’s known goals and allegiances made it inevitable that they would - they exacted a far higher price than they had before the withdrawal.
Even worse, however, was Israel’s disregard for how the rest of the Arab world would perceive a unilateral withdrawal. This perception was no secret, since numerous Arab spokesmen, newspapers and opinion polls proclaimed it: that Israel could be defeated by inflicting enough casualties over a long enough time. But Israeli proponents of withdrawal insisted that Arab perceptions did not matter.
Unfortunately, they do matter - as became evident just four months later, when the intifada erupted. Pales-tinian terrorists and their supporters said openly that Israel’s retreat from Lebanon encouraged them to believe that Hizballah’s tactics would work for them as well. The result was a six-year terrorist war that left over 1,000 Israelis dead, most of them civilians - the equivalent of 40 years worth of casualties in south Lebanon.
But this costly misreading of Arab motives and perceptions did not emerge in a vacuum. Rather, it was encouraged by an obsessive preoccupation with short-term casualties. The message suffering mothers - which ultimately convinced most Israelis to support the pullout – was “leave Lebanon now, so that your son will not die there tomorrow.” That is a message of unarguable emotional power. And it made people want to believe the withdrawing would have no negative long-term consequences, despite the evidence to the contrary.
This same pattern repeated itself five years later in Gaza: Obsessed with a desire to end the casualties in Gaza now. Israelis supported disengagement despite the fact that Palestinian spokesmen and opinion polls trumpeted it as proof that terrorism works, and that organizations like Hamas openly proclaimed Israel’s eradication as their goal. And the results have been similar: Kassam rocket fire on Israel from Gaza intensified, and according to Israel intelligence, more lethal weaponry is pouring into Gaza at a furious rate.
This combination - an obsessive focus on preventing short-term casualties coupled with disregard of the enemy’s motives and perceptions - will always produce disastrous long-term consequences. It is therefore time for Israelis to face up to the unpleasant truth: There is nothing good about losing 25 soldiers a year. But if the alternative is far greater losses in the future, is nevertheless a price worth paying.
Just before the IAEA meeting last February, Iran’s state-run news agency, Pars, reported that Iran requires nuclear weapons as a “means to create a balance in the arrangement of forces in the region.” In talks with European officials concerning Iran’s nuclear program, the regime’s negotiators have consistently stated that Iran will not curb its nuclear work, and have threatened to destabilise the region if the matter is returned to the Security Council.
The so-called “Six” (the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China) put a proposal to Iran last May for negotiations on its nuclear weapons program, but Iran has kept putting off a response. The UN Security Council has given Iran until the end of August to accept the proposal. Aug 7. In its first official response to last week’s UN resolution urging it to curb nuclear activities, Iran says it has a right to pursue its nuclear ambitions, and has vowed to pursue its nuclear programme.
Chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said Tehran would continue to develop nuclear energy within the framework of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Last week the Security Council said Iran faced possible sanctions if it did not stop uranium enrichment this month.
Dr Henry Kissinger writes, “A suspension of enrich-ment of uranium should not be the end of the process. A next step should be the elaboration of a global system of nuclear enrichment to take place in desig-nated centres across the world under international control, as proposed for Iran by Russia.
“This would ease implications of discrimination against Iran and establish a pattern for the development of nuclear energy without a crisis with each entrant into the nuclear field.” – Tribune/The Australian 29-30 July 06
June 13. Iran’s controversial president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is flying to Shanghai tomorrow to take part in a summit that will seal China’s plans to lead an Asian rival to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
The Shanghai Co-operation Organisation - whose meet-ing has forced the shutdown of much of the city this week - is celebrating its fifth anniversary, and is preparing to expand its membership well beyond the present China, Russia and four strategic central Asian states: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Li Hui refused at a briefing to disclose the countries that wished to become observers or full members, beyond saying: “A lot of countries in Asia and other continents have applied, demonstrating the SCO is broadening its influence.”
Other leaders who will attend the summit include the presidents of Pakistan and Mongolia - formal observer states, like Iran and India - and Afghanistan.
Most of the members share a huge potential - and, in China’s case, an appetite - for increased energy production. India is sending its Oil and Gas Minister.
In the past, they have also shared a focus on combating Islamist terror. But Iran’s participation in this summit and its eagerness to become a full member appear to point the organisation in a different direction: a corral of countries capable of countering Western influence.
Mr Li, while claiming the organisation was “very transparent”, was unable to disclose items on the agenda. He said he had not been briefed on whether China, Russia and Iran would discuss separately the current international controversy over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “To China, this is one of the most important diplomatic events of this year. The organisation is developing and getting stronger,” he said.
President Hu Jintao will chair the summit.
The group’s foreign and defence ministers and parlia-mentary speakers have already held meetings this year, as the pace of enmeshment accelerates. The organisations’ members have begun holding joint military exercises, most recently in March in Uzbeki-stan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and next year in Russia.
Such exercises are “crucial for combat against the three evil forces,” said Mr Li -- separatism, terrorism and extremism.
Last week SCO secretary-general Zhang Deguang told journalists in Beijing, when questioned about the participation of Iran: “We cannot abide other countries calling our observer nations sponsors of terror. We would not have invited them if we believed they sponsored terror.”
The SCO’s charter speaks of creating “a new inter-national political and economic order.”
David Wall, a research associate for Cambridge University’s East Asia Institute, wrote recently in The Japan Times that the SCO states “only common denominators are a communist past or present, and autocratic to ruthless dictatorial governments. He said it had become “an important multilateral institution of global Geopolitical significance.”
At last year’s summit, Beijing and Moscow initiated discussion about the fate of American bases in central Asia. The resulting statement said: “As the active military phase in the anti-terror operation in Afghanistan is nearing completion, it is time to decide on the deadline for the use of temporary infrastructure and for their military contingents presence” in member countries. Uzbekistan has since asked the US military to leave but Kyrgyzstan continues to host a base. Through the SCO, China has developed connections that will ensure at least some of the massive oil and gas reserves in Central Asia flow east and not west. It has extended loans and made growing investments in the “-stan” economies, as part of its careful cultivation of the region, and is stepping up its purchases of Iranian oil, this year reaching 13 per cent of all its oil imports.
Mr Hu and President Sapar-murat Niazov of Turk-menistan, a country not yet in the SCO, recently signed an agreement on a pipeline to take gas to China via Uzbekistan. A gas pipeline is also being built from Kazakhstan to China. And China is building a railway linking Uzbeki-stan to its own western Xinjiang province, passing through Kyrgyzstan. - By Rowan Callick, The Australian 13 June 06. Used by permission of News Limited
The above report sheds some light on a growing alliance between “The Kings of the North” and “the Kings of the south” of which Daniel prophesied would come against the Antichrist during the world war early in the 7-year Great Tribulation: “He (the Antichrist) will invade many countries, overwhelming and sweeping through them. He will also invade the Beautiful Land (Israel). Many countries will fall … He will extend his power over many countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape. But reports from the East and from the North will
alarm him, and he will go out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many.” (Daniel 11:40- 42, 44).
HAL Lindsey, prophecy writer and teacher online ( recently shared information that he had received regarding a defence pact that Russia, Iran and Syria have entered into – a pact that is “in the process of altering the balance of power in the entire Middle East.
Russia’s part in the pact has been kept relatively secret for a long time. But the facts reveal a long steady Russian commitment to the Iranian nuclear program and arms supply to Syria.” Russia has helped the Iranian nuclear program from its inception. Hundreds of Russian scientists with their families live around the some twenty scattered nuclear related facilities. Russian special forces guard all the key nuclear facilities.
Lindsey writes of a dangerous anti-western strategy that is taking place in the form of a Russian- Syrian-Iranian Axis.
The first part of this strategy was Russia enabling Iran to produce deliverable nuclear warheads.
The second part was the forming of the recent mutual defence pact between Iran and Syria. The foreign ministers of Iran and Syria, Mostafa Najjar and Hassan Turkmani, signed the pact in Tehran on June 15th, 2006.
Intelligence sources reveal that SHEHAB-3 surface-to-surface missiles are to be deployed on the 13,000-ft Jabal Ash Shanin ridges towering over central Syria, and that a deputation of officers and missile force from Tehran will soon take up position at al Qadnus, east of the Syrian port of Tartus,
and along the road linking the port to Jabal Ash Shanin.
The Russians have been dredging Syria’s second most important Mediterranean port, at Tartus, with a view to expanding their logistical supply point there to a fully-equipped naval base, possibly to serve the Black Sea Fleet warships when they are redeployed from the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol. It is designed to be built up into the permanent base for the fleet within the next three years.
The arrival of the Russian task force in Tartus in March marked the opening of the Russian base. Russia is now making moves to protect Syria and its Shehab-3 missile base. The US President has been warned that this deploy-ment will not only disturb the entire Middle East balance of strength, but will directly menace American bases as far as West and East Europe and the Central Asian republics, including those located on the shor es of the oil-rich Caspian Sea. The American intelligence briefing for the US President further disclosed that sophisticated Russian air defence systems are to be installed for the purpose of protecting the TARTUS NAVAL BASE and the SHEHAB-3 missile emplacements.
This air defense system has been identified as the S-300PMU-2 and it is geared to intercept ballistic missiles. It is comparable to the American Patriot, but is more effective.
First, this helps to explain why Iran has blatantly defied th e world and continued developing nuclear warheads, which are closer to becoming operational than we dare believe.
Second, it explains the reason why the Iranian and Syrian defense ministers signed a mutual defense pact last June.
Third, it gives the reason for Hizballah launching a war with Israel when they did. It was to divert the G-8 leaders from seriously debating action about the Iranian nuclear threat. And Vladimir Putin played a masterful game of concealing what his forces are doing.
Fourth, it explains why Syria and Iran are unafraid to openly support Hizballah in their war with Israel and support terrorists that target US troops in Iraq. Russia is in the background guaranteeing their pro-tection.
A Debka report says that they have found data indicating that Russia helped persuade Syrian President Bashir Assad to accept the placement of Iranian missiles on their soil by hinting that “it is part of their own deepening strategic plans for Syria."
What is most important is that current events are setting up for Ezekiel’s prophecy in Ezekiel 38 to be fulfilled. This great prophet foretold the invasion of Israel by a Russian -led coalition. It will be the first great battle of the Great Tribulation. Persia, or modern Iran, is listed as one of the Muslim nations Russia will lead into an all-out assault against Israel.
“The Heavenly Sovereign Master, YHWH, says: Listen! I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Rosh (Russia), Meshech (Moscow), and Tubal (Tobolsk). I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws and bring you out with your whole army - your horses and horsemen all fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing swords.
“Persia (Iran), Cush (Ethiopia), and Put (Libya) will be with them, all with shields and helmets; Gomer (Germany) also with all its troops; and the House of Togarmah from the far north (Turkey and the Turkic people of Central Asia) with all its troops - many nations with you. Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them.
“After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will invade the land that has recovered from the sword, whose people have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had long been desolate. Its people had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them are living securely. You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land.
“The Heavenly Sovereign Master, YHWH, says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil plan. You will say, I will invade the land of unwalled villages; I will attack those who are at rest and live securely - all of them living without walls and without gates or bars, to plunder and loot, to turn your hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, people who have acquired cattle and goods, and who live at the center of the worl d.” (Ezekiel 38:3-12)
One nation that does not seem to be listed in the Russian led Muslim Confederacy of Ezekiel’s prophecy is Syria. The reason is because Syria may be wiped out before this battle as Isaiah prophesied.
“An oracle concerning Damascus: “Look, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins.” (Isaiah 17:1)
This prophecy concerning Syria has never been ful-filled. Damascus is one of the oldest continuously populated cities on earth.
Syria could have, but did not directly enter the Katyusha war – no doubt because Bashar Assad does not want his forces, his infrastructure and his city to be wiped out, which is what would likely happen if he attacked Israel with any of the non-conventional weapons he possesses.
If Assad threatened Israel’s existence with either bio-chemical or radioactive dirty bombs, then Israel would nuke them. Israel has sworn that it will implement the Samson-option against any nation that attacks them with any form of weapons of mass destruction. That means a thermonuclear strike.
“Look! NOW is the acceptable time!
NOW is the Day of salvation!”
(2 Corinthians 6:2)

Y’SHUA THE MESSIAH, Jesus, warned us:
“You will be hearing of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you do not become frightened. All these things must happen first, but the end is not yet.
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these things are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24:6-8)
AS we approach the coming world climax, and the end of the age, we see two great powers striving for the minds and souls of men.
On one hand we see the enslaving power of Satan - the devil. He is no myth, but a reality. His chief aim seems to be to frustrate the saving work of God in mankind. Satan, himself, is condemned to Hell. His fate is sealed, as he fully realizes. And in his hatred for God, he s eeks to damn as many men, women and children as he can, while he can.
On the other hand, we see the gracious work of God, striving to turn men, women and children from the path that must inevitably end in everlasting misery and despair.
The battle for the souls of men is not one of sheer strength. God is the Almighty; Satan is a created being. But there is a legal battle raging in the minds and souls of men. God has given man a free will - freedom to receive His offer of love - His beloved Son.

God will not force anyone to receive Jesus as Saviour, and to live with Him forever. But if a person really does not want God, or His Son, then God has given him the freedom to reject His salvation - even though it means the rejector’s ruin.

But God talks and reasons with people today.
“As I live, says the LORD, Yahweh, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked: but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn from your evil ways; for why will you die”? (Ezekiel 33:11)
The main reason why God has revealed the future, in the Bible, is so that we will clearly see the wrath that is coming, and so seek His mercy, and be saved NOW!
“Seek the LORD (Yahweh the Supreme and Eternal Being) while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him: and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6-7)
That the world is overdue for judgment is very clear when you take a deep look at the wickedness, corruption, immorality and ruthlessness of modern civilization. And God will not always strive with men. At this time God is holding back the judgment for one reason:

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the Day of Yahweh (the
Great Tribulation) will come as a thief in the night.” (2 Peter 3:9-10)

In these last days, Y’shua, Jesus the Messiah is adding members to His body - the last complement of true believers - people who TRUST in Him. And soon a shout from Heaven will proclaim, “BODY COMPLETE.”

Yes, the full Body will be complete; the true believers on earth will be caught u p to meet their sovereign-Saviour in the heavens. Theirs will be a joy inexpress-ible. And then on earth, the Great Tribulation will begin.
My dear reader, your decision in regard to God’s Divinely-appointed Saviour at this time, determines whether you will be included in that blessed and privil-eged company ascending to the Father’s House, or whether you will be left on this doomed planet.

If you reject God’s offer of mercy now, in this time of grace, there is every reason to believe that you will never call upon the Name of Yahweh, and His Son Y’shua, in the Great Tribulation, when the world’s situation will be far more terrifying, and when faith will often be paid for with martyrdom.



Today the Heavenly Father is striving with you to be saved. Now!

Can you not feel God striving with you, my reader? You know your sins are weighing you down. You know you must have them forgiven. You know you cannot be sure of tomorrow, for tomorrow may find you in the Great Tribulation, or in Hell. You know it is foolish to neglect this most important thing in your life - your eternal destiny.

Yet, you may have reservations. There may be some sin you are clinging to - something that you would rather hold to than have peace with God. That thing, that sin, that ambition, that person, that “god” - whatever it is, will bring about your ruin. It will destroy you if you do not turn to the Saviour and receive His forgiveness.

Even now, you think to delay your decision and neglect your salvation. You have something to complete first. You feel that you may still have plenty of time. You think to procrastinate (to put off till to-morrow what you should do today).

Procrastination is the thief of time! Don’t play with fire! Don’t play with your eternal destiny! The Great White Throne is an awful reality for those who refuse the grace of the Almighty!

But you don’t have to appear before that Great White Judgment Throne. You don’t have to go through the Great Tribulation. You don’t have to go to Hell. You can be saved now! How? By simply believing in, and receiving the Divinely-appointed Saviour. Here are God’s promises to you.

Will you receive them?

“Yahweh is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.” (Psalm 145:8) God does not overlook your sin, but as Ruler of the Universe, He can legally and mercifully forgive your sins, because of one fact:

“For Christ has once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but raised by the spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18)

You should have died for your sins, of course; but God made a provision for you - He gave His perfect Son, Y’shua (Jesus), to die instead of you.

“And it is appointed for men once to die, but after this the judgment. So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for Him shall He appear the second time.” (Hebrews 9:27-28)
“As many as received Him (Y’shua), to them gave He the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on His Name.” (John 1:12)

Here God promises to make you His own child, to bring you into His family, with all its privileges and joys.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:l6)

Yahweh, the Almighty God, guarantees your salvation. If He gave His Son, to suffer the penalty of your sins on the cross; and if you truly believe with your heart in His Son, He will never cast you away.

“If you shall confess with your mouth that Y’shua is the Messiah, (that Jesus is the Anointed Saviour), and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

The Scriptures are very clear and definite on this matter. It is so simple that a young child can believe, and yet many stumble over this truth, thinking they must somehow earn salvation.

But it’s “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” (Titus

“All our righteous acts are like filthy rags (in God’s sight).” (Isaiah 64:6)

“For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

The Lord Jesus promised: “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me; and the one who comes to Me I will
certainly not cast out . . . He who believes in Me h as eternal life . . . He who believes on the son has everlasting life and he who does not believe the son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)


TO BE SAVED, then, you need to:

Acknowledge that you are a sinner, and need to mercy of Yahweh the Heavenly Father.

Believe in your heart that Jesus, (Y’shua), the Son of God, came to earth, and died on the cross in your place, and that He rose again, and lives to be your eternal Saviour.

Commit your life to the Lord Jesus and deliberately receive Him as your personal Saviour, your Master and God, yielding your life to Him.

Will you settle this urgent matter right now?

Will you bow down and talk to the Saviour, asking Him to forgive your sin and to make you a new person?

Will you believe in the Lord Jesus as your Saviour and Master without delay? He is just waiting for you to call on Him.

Will you trust Him to save you right now?



Make your decision for eternity.
“Seek Yahweh while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near.” (Isaiah 55:6)
“This is what Yahweh says: the One who made the earth, Yahweh who formed it and established it -
Yahweh is His Name - ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will show you great and mighty things
which you do not know’.” (Jeremiah 33:2-3)

Talk to Yahweh the Heavenly Father - praying from your heart, in simple words like the following prayer on opposite page:



ALMIGHTY GOD, I come to You just as I am, a sinner, seeking forgiveness and salvation. I believe Your Son, Y’shua (Jesus) died on the cross in my place, and paid the penalty my sins deserved. I believe Jesus rose again from the dead, and that He is indeed the living Saviour.

I believe Your promise, Father, that if I call upon the Name of the Lord Jesus, I will be saved. So I call upon You in faith, today. I place my trust in the Lord Jesus and I am now deliberately receiving Him as my personal Saviour. By Your grace, I will follow Him all the days of my life.

Lord Jesus, Y’shua, I give my life to You. Fill my life with Your power and holiness, I pray, and make me Your true disciple.

Thank You, my Father, for receiving me, for making me Your child, and for forgiving my sin.
Thank You, Master, for Your salvation. I believe You will save me from the Great Tribulation, and from a lost eternity. Thank You, my Saviour, Thank You. Amen.

Signed ...................................... Date ............

If you have made this decision today, will you write to me, Don Stanton, at one of the MRC addresses. We will rejoice with you, and pray for your spiritual growth. May God bless you and keep you.



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The One who is coming will come, He will not delay