The U.N. Secretary-General's special envoy to Lebanon for implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701 announced today, after meeting (for the third time) with Hezbollah representatives, "We are pleased with the commitment of Hezbollah to Resolution 1701. Pop quiz: Who or what is "we" in that sentence?
Find an interview with Dr Walid Phares by Pan Arab al Muharer weekly on HizbAllah's current strategies. "This organization, founded, funded and trained by the Pasdarans (Islamic Revolutionary Guards) is controlled directly from Iran. HizbAllah wages wars at the orders of the Mullahs regime. Unlike any other group in Lebanon it claims openely that it is an extension of the Iranian Khomeinist regime." Interview in Arabic here: Download p18-19-11-01-07.pdf
Hezbollah is recovering nicely from this summer's jihad on Israel with the help of its sponsors in Iran and Syria. (Thanks for the heads-up to Dan McKivergan of theWeekly Standard's blog.)
The AP reports (via the NYTimes) that Iran has increased its funding of the terror group that serves as its forward militia by about 100 percent (i.e., up to about $200M per annum); meantime, the porous 233-mile border between Syria and Lebanon provides abundant opportunity for replenishing Hezbollah's supply of arms. Not only is the terror group consolidating its position in Lebanon and moving to bring down the weak U.S.-backed government in a transparent Syrian coup; it is also using its Bekaa Valley and Beirut camps to provide paramilitary training for Shiite militias from Iraq — who kill U.S. forces and contribute mightily to the sectarian warfare there. (As I mentioned in this piece, such training mirrors the instruction Hezbollah has been providing for al Qaeda since the early 1990s.)
In this morning's National Review online, I have an article with Howard Anglin, Esq. on a recent judicial decision out of California authored by Judge Audrey Collins that seriously hampers the government's efforts to restrict terrorist financing. Read the article.
To be fair to Judge Collins, her opinion is nothing like the hatchet job performed by Judge Anna Diggs Taylor on the NSA’s terrorist-surveillance program earlier this year. Judge Taylor’s opinion was roundly — and rightly — condemned as poorly reasoned and unworthy of the legal craft by lawyers from across the political spectrum. Judge Collins’s decision, by contrast, is neither overtly partisan nor irrational. With one exception it is a workmanlike application of precedent to fact. Unfortunately, that one exception has catastrophic potential.
There is, however, a compelling basis for a government ban on any assistance — even self-described humanitarian aid — to terrorists. Because terrorist organizations are not known as models of corporate transparency, there is no way of knowing whether a terrorist entity’s humanitarian arm is funneling money to its militant one. What is more, the fungible nature of money means that donations to the peaceful arm free up money to be spent by the militant arm.
I was awakened this morning by a call from a friend informing me that
Jeane Kirkpatrick had died. Ambassador Kirkpatrick, until fairly
recently, was a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where I interned
last year, and her office was only a few steps away from my bay on the 11th
floor. She later went on to help found the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
Jeane would make a point of stopping for a chat every time she passed my
bay at AEI, and we had many fascinating conversations about foreign policy, and I was
constantly struck by her powerful mind, on which, mercifully, age was not taking
Being a somewhat bumptious sort, I would try to tease out her views on
the issues facing us today—at the time, it was the floundering Iraq mission—and
it was clear that her contributions deserved a more public airing. Fortunately,
prior to her death, Jeane had finished writing a new book on foreign policy.
Though I have not yet had the pleasure to read it (it will be published
shortly), I am told by those whose judgment I trust that it is excellent.
I remember one particular conversation with Jeane during which, and this
was the Tory in me speaking, I quizzed her about her role in the Falklands crisis, which had received unfavorable reviews
in Margaret Thatcher's memoirs Downing Street Years. Jeane displayed her
characteristic graciousness, explaining the basis for her skepticism at being
too supportive of Britain's
pursuit of its territorial claim, while conceding that hindsight showed her
fears were too severe.
Jeane explained that she was worried that an embarrassment of the
Argentinean government over the Falklands might lead to its replacement by a communist one. Jeane's thinking flowed from
the powerful, and powerfully American traditions of the Monroe Doctrine, as
well as her own thesis in Dictatorships and Double Standards, which
foreign policy thinkers today, especially those specializing in the Middle East, are I think admonished to read. (A link to the original essay is here, and its book form here).
In vivid detail, Jeane explained that hindsight had vindicated Lady
Thatcher's decision, not her own. Yet, in this concession, Jeane's graciousness
and honor came through, and I came to see that any sensible policymaker in her
place would have had the same fears as her, and would probably have come to the
same decision: I, with all my sympathies for the Anglosphere and the old order,
certainly would have.
Jeane then spoke to me about the profound ambiguity of foreign policy
idealism that animated her Dictatorships and Double Standards thesis, subtly
calling attention to a particular weakness in my own foreign policy thinking. I
would say that if there is one essay that those who
are called neoconservatives should read, it is Dictatorships and Double
Ultimately, difficult policy decisions cannot be entirely based on ex
ante normative ideals, but prudential concerns, animated by history.
Fortunately, this underscores the need for powerfully smart, and idealistic,
statesmen, of which Jeane Kirkpatrick surely was one. Withal, Jeane's
contribution to U.S. foreign policy was very significant, and her death is serious and in many ways
sad, but she leaves behind many friends, a goodly number of acolytes, and a
very, very significant legacy. May she rest in peace.
On the third day of HizbAllah’s campaign to takeover the Lebanese Government, more sectors from civil society began to rise. But they weren’t rising with the pro-Iranian militia in as much as they were rising to oppose its move. However on the other hand, it was further noticed that a number of Western media increased their support to Nasrallah’s organization.
From Saturday late night into the early hours of the morning, more incursions by HizbAllah’s elements were signaled inside the traditional Sunni West Beirut. A battle with rocks took place in many streets leaving a number of wounded and one HizbAllah militiaman dead. The Iranian-backed militants staged their “thrusts” into Sunni areas from their launching pad in the “protest” areas in downtown, commonly described as the “coup d’Etat” basis.
In its second day, HizbAllah’s offensive in Lebanon against the democratically elected Government has maintained pressures on various levels. Following are the main axis of activities:
By mid week end, several thousands of HizbAllah’s members, cadres and officers have settled inside downtown Beirut, surrounding the Prime Minister’s office. The militia erected dozens of tents in a military fashion, with 30 fighters in each tent. Sources from the Lebanese Army described the “deployment” of the tents as a bivouac-maneuvering of about three brigades, “clearly following the Iranian military code,” said the sources. By late Saturday evening early Sunday morning, the Lebanese Army was able to move a number of these tents to the sides opening a path to the Government building.
In the Front Page Magazine Walid Phares writes about the terrorist assassination of Pierre Gemayel. "The assassination of Lebanese Christian politician Pierre Gemayel this Tuesday has revealed that the Tehran-Damascus axis remains busy with terror activities across the Fertile Crescent." In Washington Times he states: "Al Qaeda and its advisers around the world want to provoke an "American Madrid." Portraying the United States as a bleeding bull in disarray, the war room projects its wish to see America's will crippled." In HS Today November Issue Walid Phares has a cover story "Education Versus Jihad". In the San Francisco Chronicle Phares was quoted on U.N. investigation of the last year murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and Bashar al-Assad regime in Damascus ."Any indictment of any Syrian official ... any implication of any Syrian intelligence officer will basically lead to indicting morally and politically the regime," Phares said".
Commenting on the speech by Hezbollah's leader I made the following remarks to Mashreq Radio and the Kuwaiti daily as Siyassa on November 20,2006.
First: M Nasrallah asked the Lebanese Government to either form a so-called "national unity government" or to resign and organize early legislative elections. Otherwise, M Nasrallah will wage a campaign of streets protests to bring down the Seniora cabinet. In fact, if Hezbollah's leader wishes to make a massive change in the democratic political process in Lebanon, he will have to call for an all out halting to this process as is, and go back to square one. For if Hezbollah has accepted the process back in May 2005, and obtained seats in the Parliament and the Government, then withdrew, it means that he has been using this process. If they believe the process must stop, then Hezbollah should hold an emergency congress and declare the following: