TCS Daily

Give Peacekeepers a Chance? No

By T.K. Vogel - July 31, 2006 12:00 AM

Day 19 of its offensive against Hezbollah has not brought the Israel Defense Forces much closer to the goal of removing the threat of Hezbollah's Iranian-supplied missiles. What it did bring, however, was a dreadful scene at the town of Qana, where more than 60 civilians, over half of them children, died in an IDF attack. This horrific incident will no doubt increase international pressure for an immediate ceasefire or some sort of quick political solution, which will almost certainly include the deployment of a Stabilization Force to Southern Lebanon. Israel's 48-hour cessation of air strikes is intended to blunt such pressure (though it may prove difficult to resume attacks after this suspension).

Both a ceasefire and a diplomatic quick fix would leave the fundamental problem untouched, however, unless it came as part of a comprehensive Mideast settlement, which looks as remote as ever. But inserting peacekeepers into an ambiguous situation is a recipe for disaster as brash actions to alleviate suffering tend to have unintended consequences. Consider the declaration by the UN's Bosnia commander, General Philippe Morillon, that Srebrenica was under UN protection after desperate locals prevented him from leaving the town in 1993. His gesture multiplied the pressure on the Security Council to establish safe areas, which it duly did. "But there was never any intention," according to reporters Laura Silber and Allan Little, "in practical terms, to render them safe, since this would have involved the UN abandoning its position of neutrality." Indeed, two years later Serb forces overran the enclave with the UN barely firing a shot. By contrast, when the final Serb outrage -- the shelling of the Sarajevo marketplace in August 1995 -- occurred, it set in motion a plan for the endgame that the then commander, General Rupert Smith, had carefully calibrated to the prevailing strategic situation, a plan which for that reason managed to end the war.

For Israel, the core issue that defines strategic success or failure is the missile threat to Israeli towns and cities. Any end to hostilities that leaves intact Hezbollah's capability to lob missiles into Israel will be a defeat. This is exactly what may happen, however, given the humanitarian and, hence, political imperative to stop the fighting, coupled with the IDF's inability to deal a swift but deadly blow to Hezbollah. Very few countries apart from its sponsors Iran and Syria would have objected to a short and sharp campaign destroying most of Hezbollah's arsenal. Egypt and Saudi Arabia openly criticized Hezbollah's brash raid on an IDF post that started the current mayhem; neither regime would have shed a tear about the destruction of a group they see as a mortal enemy -- provided that destruction took only a limited time and limited casualties.

Turns out that Hezbollah is not just a capable guerilla force using speed, stealth, and deceit against the IDF's overwhelming superiority in hardware and manpower; it is also a capable defender of strongholds such as Bint Jbeil, which the Israelis have failed to take. (An IDF statement said that the IDF withdrew from Bint Jbeil "having completed operations there." This is an odd understanding of the term "complete.") Part traditional guerilla force, part conventional infantry army: the Israelis may have underestimated the potency of Hezbollah's strategic mix.

Indeed, if there's one adjective that captures Hezbollah's military posture, it's "adaptable." It pioneered the use of suicide attacks when it sent massive truck bombs into the headquarters of U.S. and French peacekeepers in Beirut in 1983, killing more than 300. It was also behind a spate of abductions of Westerners in Beirut in the mid-1980s. But then it transformed itself into something more traditional that was altogether more revolutionary in its totality: a movement consisting of a political party, a social-services division, and an armed wing that oscillated between terrorist group, insurgency, and regular army.

Political parties with attached militias are nothing new in Lebanon. Neither are militias with some sort of service arm: after all, once you hold territory you need to administer it. But Hezbollah understood that in order to generate legitimacy for its revolutionary vision, it needed to create coherence between its program and its activities by doing each of these things very well -- and it did. Where entire communities had experienced "the state" as in turn completely absent or predatory, Hezbollah consistently provided education, health care, political representation, and infrastructure to Lebanon's neglected Shia community, shunned for decades by the urban sophisticates who tend to be Sunni or Christian.

Hezbollah thrived after the IDF had routed the PLO from Lebanon. But unlike the PLO, who were largely unwanted guests in Lebanon, Hezbollah was defending its core territory, the Shia strongholds of Southern Lebanon and South Beirut. That may explain some of the group's tenacity in the face of the IDF's overwhelming firepower.

The other part of the explanation is the very nature of Hezbollah: a tough, disciplined, and well-run force with political and service branches and a military wing that, in stark contrast to Hamas in Gaza, actually fights instead of parading its hardware in the streets. When the Iranians set up Hezbollah in the early 1980s, they weren't interested in pageantry: they wanted to harness the pent-up frustrations of Lebanon's Shia to carry the Islamic Revolution abroad.

Now, between the hammer of the IDF and the anvil of Hezbollah, thousands of civilians in Southern Lebanon have been reduced to unspeakable misery and horror, generating strong pressure for hostilities to cease. But a ceasefire will be difficult for Israel to accept unless it is first given time to achieve its strategic goal, which on current evidence would take months. The only alternative would be some sort of robust guarantees, backed up by an international Stabilization Force, that Hezbollah would disarm eventually, or at the very least refrain from striking out.

The Europeans seemed to be rather taken by the idea of a peacekeeping force at first: it would alleviate the intolerable humanitarian situation in Southern Lebanon while preserving the illusion that "Europe" mattered in the diplomatic search for a durable solution. (Sending the EU's lightweight foreign-policy chief Javier Solana to the region was probably counterproductive on that last count.)

But now that the prospect of international peacekeepers is becoming more tangible, the idea is looking less attractive by the day, and the European governments that would probably have to provide the bulk of such a force are getting nervous. The Stabilization Force would either have to do what the IDF haven't managed to do -- disarm Hezbollah -- or serve as a buffer between two armed adversaries, which would just delay the day of reckoning. In the first case, they risk becoming enforcers of Israeli policy in a hostile environment; in the second, they might be able to keep friendly relations with the locals but would fail to prevent the next outbreak of violence.

Hezbollah is emerging as the most formidable military challenge Israel has ever met. For that very reason, it may not have a military solution. Hezbollah's strategy of integrated delivery of security, social services, and patronage to its constituents means that it will be loath to relinquish control over any one of these instruments. It is holding all of Lebanon hostage in its bid for power, and Israel is obliging by hitting hard at targets that have only a tenuous link to the Party of God. But any idea that the Lebanese government, whose army is split down the middle along sectarian lines, could have taken on Hezbollah as foreseen in UN Security Council Resolution 1559 is naive. It may turn out to be equally naive to expect French, Italian, German, or Turkish peacekeepers to succeed, in the absence of a political settlement, where the IDF and the Lebanese army have failed.

The author is a South-East Europe editor with Transitions Online (, a newsweekly covering the post-Communist world. He has written for the Wall Street Journal Europe, the International Herald Tribune, and the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.



Not what I heard
What I heard was that the fall of the building came a good 8 hours later. Either the structures collapsed a long time after the hit, or, more likely to me, some of the targeted ammunition took fire long afterwards. (Unless the Hesb'Allah blow it up for propaganda purposes.)

The UN already tried and failed.
Just let little Israel (the only democracy in that decrepit part of the world) finish the job for this very ungrateful world. When they wipe out those cowards shooting civilians they do the entire planet a HUGE FAVOR.
We will never know how many of those dead bastards were involved in past or future attacks on us evil infidels here in the west. I would not worry about Syria intervening as Israel has repeatedly bloodied and broken their noses in the past.
Thank God for Israel and their part in smashing the spread of islamic terrorism around our civilization.

"I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curse thee." GENESIS 12:3
Shooting missiles into God's land and at His people sure sounds like asking for trouble.

Peacekeeping Could Work IF...
“…inserting peacekeepers into an ambiguous situation is a recipe for disaster…”

I agree with the above statement. The use of Peacekeepers in Lebanon will only be effective IF the Lebanese government, through parliamentary action, takes the following position:
Hezbollah must voluntarily disband its militia. All rockets, explosives and other armaments of war are to be turned over to the Lebanese military. All hostile actions against Israel must cease that the 2 abducted soldiers returned.
Failure to comply with all of the terms of point-1 will result in Lebanon requesting the Security Council to authorize forces to assist the Lebanese government is disarming Hezbollah and asserting its control over all of Lebanon.

It is unlikely that Israel can eliminate the Hezbollah threat permanently without the near total destruction of Lebanon...a scenario almost sure to lead to a wider war. The alternative is to focus diplomacy on an alliance of the Lebanese government and the Security Council to permanently end the Hezbollah threat. If neither the government of Lebanon nor the Security Council will do their part, accelerating hostilities is nearly assured.

You are correct sir.
It did come eight hours later. The MSM, amongst others, could not wait to condemn Israel.

Just wait though, this will be another Jenin or Gaza beach once actual investigations are done. By then the damage is done on the propaganda front. The Useful Idiots, you know who you are, will spread this far and wide without any evidence or fact.

more questions about Qana
from confederateyankee:

apparently the bodies show no sign of crush injuries. Most don't show any signs of injury at all.

Only one body shows any sign of concrete dust. The rescue workers are also amazingly clean. Even those wearing block coveralls show no sign of concrete dust.

Several of the bodies show definite signs of rigor mortis, which doesn't show up until about 6 hours after death. Yet the pictures were taken less than 2 hours after the building collapsed.

An unrelated note. Hezbollah has been claiming that civilians couldn't get out because of Israel's destruction of roads and bridges. Yet the media was able to get into the site in less than an hour.

Looks like...
Pallywood is on the road in Lebanon.

If you don't believe this is propaganda of the highest order, check this out:

What seems odd about this is that the banner was unfurled within hours after the Qana attack took place. The building where the civilians died was bombed on Sunday morning, and the demonstration took place during daylight hours, later the same day.

I have no idea what kind of facility it takes to produce a huge banner like this one. It is obviously professionally done. It would be interesting to know where this banner was produced; who designed and paid for it; and how its production was expedited so that it was ready for use, on the street, within hours after the event being protested.

For example, was the image of Rice produced in advance, awaiting a pretext for its use, with only the script added at the last minute? I've often been curious about the logistics of pro-terrorist demonstrations, and this seems like an especially curious example.

Perhaps Roy would like to weigh in? I am always interested, and amused, in what a terror apologist has to say. I am sure it is just a "Rice 2008" poster that has been hastily converted.

Rock and a hard place
It doesn't really matter whether or not the U.N. sends in peacekeepers, it will only prolong the misery. At some point this has to be resolved either with a workable political agreement that all sides involved will back (Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and Israel) or with military action, destruction and death.

While I think a settlement needs to be tried, I believe that it will fail miserably. In that case, Israel will be left starting all over again. This time the problems will be even worse.

"Peacekeeping" only works
"Peacekeeping" only works when the peacekeepers are authorized and ordered to shoot those who don't turn in weapons.

The situation hasn't gotten bad enough for the nations of the world to take seriously the UN Security Council Resolution calling for the disarming of Hezbollah. Until that happens, there cannot be peace since Hezbollah's purpose is to destroy Israel.

Politicians have short memories. I remember the terrorist scum attacks.
If any nation wants to sacrifice their own to a futile cause then send peace keepers to the middle east. There is no disarming of any side and in fact the arming is getting worse. The US pointlessly lost 200 Marines. And they protect themselves a lot better than French or Germans.

This is the typical case were the peace keepers must chose a side and stop with force the other from attacking or retailiating. This only leads to more violence.

The best thing to do here is stop giving any kind of assistance to any side and let them work or fight this thing out.

Only Three Hezballa Warriors at Qana
There were only three hezballa warriors at Qana. These facts were deduced because each BRAVE hezballa warrior has to have at least 20 women and children to hide behind. Another theory is that the BRAVE warriors are actually WEARING Berka's.

The mystery solved
"I have no idea what kind of facility it takes to produce a huge banner like this one."

It takes a print shop. Every city and town on earth has at least one shop that can put out a banner like this inside an hour. They can also give you matching T shirts and bumper stickers.

The Rice likeness can be readily transferred from a newspaper photo.

Speaking out of your nether regions... again.
An hour you say? Just to see if you were right (yes, I considered the possibility) I called three local print shops I found in local yellow pages. Just so you know the criteria: I asked each one for a color banner depicting Condolezza Rice with a script saying "Stop the needless deaths of civilians!" underneath. Being in a liberal/leftist town they are quite use to such requests.

Here are my results:

Shop #1: Did not have the capability to producing a banner of that size and complexity. Referred to shop #2.

Shop #2: No problem. From the time I could provide the art to the time it would be complete would be two days.

Shop #3: Did not have the actual ability to produce this but one of their guys could whip up something by hand in about a week.

But you were right about the bumper stickers and t-shirts which shop #2 and #3 were happy to suggest.

So I find it odd that a print shop in a war-torn country was able to whip one of those out in mere hours after the incident. By all means try this at home.

Not to mention the new reports which claim that the bodies being pulled out of the rubble were placed there. An excellent example of the type of propaganda issued by the terrorists as well as having Roy be a perfect example of the type of person who unconditionally swallows it.

mystery deepens
That being, the mystery of what roy has done with his credibility. None of us have seen it in months.

Heck, most print shops can't whip out a 2 by 3 foot poster in a couple of hours. Only a small percentage of printshops are capable of creating 20 foot ones. I've seen the printers necessary to do these things. They are huge, and take a lot of maintenance to keep running. How well do you think they are keeping up with maintenance in a war zone.

It takes 1/2 a day or more to print a banner that size. It also takes time to whip up the design.

Kind of right, but could be wrong as well
Depending on the imaging on hand and the computing power the design could be done in as little as 15 minutes or as much as 4 days. But, I think a banner like that, would take at least a couple of hours to put together with the best pre-prep and highest tech equipment.
As for the printing, new machines could go right from the computer to the printer and put out around 20,000 or more an hour.

But it depend on your set up. Any machine more than 15 years old is going to require more time to set up.

If you had to cut, paste, shoot the negative, make the plates, make several runs to get the colors, etc. It will take at least a day for the pre-press on something like that. Than it is still 10,000 an hour.

It all depends on whether or not you are old school or high tech. I could get a half-million of those out in 24 hours if the graphics are all available. It could take up to 3 or 4 days to put it all together if I have to work old school and from scratch.

Considering the timing, they are either very high tech (maybe better than I've ever seen) or they had them pre-printed and ready to go. If the latter (as I would suspect in that region), I smell set-up!!

Petty bickering
Lebanon is not so far out in the boonies that they don't have banner printers. And given their lively political scene one would assume they do a good business.

Nor has the country been so devastated that we can assume all banner printers have been destroyed.

Now let's go to the time line. The Qana bombing took place around one in the morning. According to eyewitnesses the second strike, occuring minutes after the first one, was the one that took the building down. Naturall the IDF has a more self serving version of this time line.

So it's not at all surprising that there should be a banner at a demonstration the following day. I find a great many banner printers listed on the web. If you are wondering how long it takes to put one out with art one has on hand, ask these people:

Maybe they used elves
It would seem plausible that they had Condi banners already formatted, ready for the message to be added. After all it had been a couple of days since her initial whirlwind tour of the area.

In any case I don't quite see the significance of this line of argument. The attack occured in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Sunday afternoon, there were banners. Magic? Probably not.

Mabe they had them done already
It seems the only plausable explanation. My print shop couldn't do a banner that size at all. The one 60 miles away could do it 3 ft wide by as long as I wanted. When i taked to my print shop friends they told me that I'm way off on the numbers, a banner like that would take a minimum of a day and a half to get done from start to finish and only a few an hour can be printed after that. That is with the best technology.

The point is this was obviously planned and well executed from start to finish.

The noise machine grinds out its product
So then, did this planning and execution extend to faking the Israeli bombing? What are you saying?

I note that the usual suspects here all swallow the IDF line about the eight hour delay, when accounts by people who were there give an entirely different story. People do have a tendency to believe what they want to believe, when the alternative is to believe an atrocity was committed.

So please spell it out. Looking at all available evidence, what do you think happened?

nice of roy to declare that inconsistencies in his sides actions are not worth talking about.

banners like that are usually run on HUGE ink jet printers.
The first one of those I ever saw was back around 1980.

it's the people who were there who said the building collapsed 8 hours later
I love the way roy declares that his terrorists must always be taken at the word, while the evil jooos must never be believed.

according to roy
anything from the IDF is nothing but self serving garbage.
but the words of Hezbolla must be taken at face value.

Eyewitness accounts
I think you can rely on eyewitnesses to give you an accurate account. While the Israeli government is obviously self serving, and gives the kind of explanation any government would under the circumstances.

Your "evil jooos" comment tells us a lot about you.

Roy: always eager to be lied to
>"I think you can rely on eyewitnesses to give you an accurate account. While the Israeli government is obviously self serving, and gives the kind of explanation any government would under the circumstances."

And this comment says much about you. You are willing to swallow any story given without a single questioning thought as long as it does not come from Israel.

The "eyewitnesses" were lying about the Jenin "massacre" and they were lying about the Gaza beach incident. One should not discount them out of hand but one should also look at the whole picture. You dislike the Israelis and this colors your view and makes you a Useful Idiot for terrorist propaganda.

Here is an article which goes over the whole set of inconsistencies in Qana. Check it out:

As for the banner: who cares? I put it out there as an interesting side note. It is a curiousity that such a banner was ready in mere hours. Kudos to the guys who work at Mohammed's Propaganda-in-an-Hour.

CNN does it again

This time it is Hezbollah they are "working" with. Yet another example of how the MSM distorts the news.

But, as Roy would say, who are you going to believe: a group of charity workers who defend the borders from Israeli aggression or the IDF who, everyone knows, is staffed by liars and land-grabbers who ruthlessly (kinda) bomb hospitals? The choice is obvious.

Looking at the evidence
I'm not swallowing any story. I'm just doing the best I can with the limited information we have at hand. Should Israel come up with anything in the way of evidence I'll certainly examine it with an open mind.

Meanwhile we're left with the situation a cop encounters when he investigates a shooting. The people on the street are telling him one thing. The perp is telling him quite another. Which should he believe? Which would you believe?

BTW you should read the report the UN Security Council issued on the Jenin Massacre. Israel's version wasn't well supported.

I suspect the banner industry has been active in Lebanon for years. Certainly they would have received a surge in orders around the last election.

Mountain from a molehill
That Newsbusters dog won't hunt. CNN appears to have had a camera crew on the scene. Hezbollah is the government in those parts so Hezbollah took them on a tour. How would this be different from the Israelis offering them a tour guide on the Israeli side of the line? TV crews inquire locally as to where the action is. Then they go there and start rolling the camera.

If you don't swallow the narrative being offered by either side uncritically but just look at the evidence you can form a fair likelihood of what actually took place. But of course if you weren't there there are some things you'll just never know.

Explain to me again how it is distortion when a camera crew finds its way to a bombed out area they are guided to, and they film it? Does the area not exist?

Depends again
Vinyl signs use a different medium than paper signs or cloth signs. One actually uses a system that looks a lot like paint on canvas. All the vinyl printers I've seen use a heat transfer process kind of like a laser printer. A 6'X20' sign, with any decent resolution, on any of these processes takes nearly an hour to print (more if it is an older unit). That does not include pre-printing work and processing. It would still take several hours even if they had everything ready to go.

I've seen newer ones in action, but it still takes several minutes a square foot if there is processed color involved. A 100 square foot banner would take much more than an hour just to print. Vinyl on the heat process is actually faster, but still takes about an hour or a bit more at that size.

I don't know
I'm not saying they faked the bombing, but it could be possible the faked the "atrocity". I am highly suspect of demonstrations with professional banners and signs less than 24 hours after the fact.

That is just one issue and has nothing to do with anything Israel said. Banging out anything less than 22"X35" in size can be done at 10,000 an hour after the initial set-up. If everything is preped, that set-up can take an hour or so. But huge banners take longer.

Let's use your time-line, from the final bomb to the protest with banners and signs was around 12 hours. How long would it take to realize there were a large number of dead people in the rubble? I mean this would have to be confirmed no matter how many you knew were in there when the bombs fell. Strange things happen and everyone could have been alive after all; so you have to confirm.

Let's be generous and say 3 hours. There is another hour to get the word out and at least one more (again being very generous) to decide to do this "protest". Figure some time to decide to print the big banner and you have 6 hours to get it done. If they have everything on hand and ready to go it could be done, but it would be a pretty impressive job.

Virtually impossible to do it in less than 3 hours, which is a more likely time frame considering the rubble, a rescue attempt, grief and anger, getting the idea to gel, etc. Just the print time alon on a thing like that is between one and three hours, again that depends on material and printer used, age of the print unit and interface devices, etc.

That being noted, I said I smell a set-up, I didn't say it was absolute proof or that one occured. It could ver well prove to be just a nightmare for both sides.

The pauled version
"I'm not saying they faked the bombing, but it could be possible the faked the "atrocity". I am highly suspect of demonstrations with professional banners and signs less than 24 hours after the fact."

So then, you're saying they printed up the banner the day before, prayed that Israel would bomb the house, and then urged the wives and kiddies to stay there that night no matter what. I see.

I assume you've seen the bodies being taken out of the rubble a few times by now. Lebanese refugees in your mind, then, would be the kinds of people to force their own families to die, no doubt by locking the exits.

You take the cake.

the difference is, in Israel the govt doesn't shoot you if you try to take pictures they don't want

Israel has presented lots of evidence, you just dismiss it without examination.

On the other hand, you are perfectly willing to believe anything Hezbollah or their agents say, without question.

As to your cop example, you would make a very bad cop. You assume you know who the perp is without even examining the evidence.

AS to the UN, they have proven themselves to be rabidly anti-semitic.

Failing Miserably
"While I think a settlement needs to be tried, I believe that it will fail miserably."

As long as Lebannon cannot or is not willing to take responsibility for its borders and disarming Hezbollah, then any settlement is not worth trying. Lebannon is failing miserably in its responsibility to govern its own country, which is why Hezbolloah was able to drag it into this war.

Can't argue with that
so I won't. That is exactly the situation here.

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