Lebanon deserves better than the war sustaining and warmongering of Moscow and Tehran.
For Israel, Moscow has had to be delicately handled, but BackChannels has over many years relayed some sense of Moscow’s endemic and deeply entrenched history of animus toward the Jews. Credit Stalin with picking up the relationships that Hitler and the Nazis could not hold at the end of World War II; credit Yuri Andropov with the airline hijacking of the 1970s beneath the banner of communist revolution on behalf of the Palestinian Cause; credit successive Soviet Era regimes with the abuse and captivity of Russia’s Jews yearning by the tens of thousands for freedom beyond Russia’s borders; credit Moscow today with the continuing diplomatic defense of Hamas and Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, among others, that appear intent on bringing chaos and death to their own people as well as sustained impoverishment and political repression.
Tehran’s role in the stoking of anti-Semitic / anti-Zionist hate needs little introduction. It’s deadly political rhetoric keeps spilling into related “field operations”. Not only Hamas has been building “terror tunnels”.
However, he said, “the fact that the Lebanese army is doing nothing means that they are either unable, or unwilling, or both. It doesn’t absolve Lebanon’s culpability. Their territory is being used to attack our territory. Therefore, we hold Lebanon accountable.”
Netanyahu spoke immediately after IDF Spokesman Jonathan Conricus announced the discovery of another tunnel.
“There is a clear line of communication between LAF elements and the terrorist organization; those elements help Hezbollah destabilize the region,” Danon said on Tuesday. “Under the Lebanese government’s watch, Hezbollah has created an entire network of tunnels and factories for precision-guided missiles; this is a brazen violation of the U.N. Security Council resolution but also endangers the lives of the residents of southern Lebanon, who are being used as human shields.” Danon vowed that “Israel will act with force against Hezbollah and any other entity that tries to undermine its sovereignty.”
An examination of Security Council Resolution 1701 twelve years later indicates that the key paragraphs, whose objective was to give full sovereignty over the country to the Lebanese government and to prevent the reconstruction of Hezbollah’s military infrastructure, were not enforced by the Lebanese government and army. To replace the infrastructure damaged during the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah has constructed an upgraded, improved, more extensive infrastructure, centering around an arsenal of more than 130,000 rockets and dozens of precise missiles. Hezbollah’s arsenal threatens Israeli population centers and strategic sites. Hezbollah built its military infrastructure in the region south of the Litani River, embedded within the local Shi’ite population. Hezbollah’s weapons were smuggled from Iran through Syria to Lebanon, in direct violation of Security Council Resolution 1701.
The Iranians, with their crashing rial economy, have been offering Beirut even more cash – from where, exactly, we don’t know – than the Americans, along with guns, agricultural and industrial assistance.
I’d assign the delusional surrealism to the narcissism involved in most politics middle east but may also note that the transnational narcotics and other smuggling businesses may be doing well for Hezbollah and whatever else Iran has going “behind the curtains” and “under the table”. The main player in pressuring up illicit funds from all sources has to be Moscow — and Moscow loves frozen conflicts as well as unsettled and weak governments. It doesn’t seem to know how to create much good, but it sure knows how to gin up a lot of cash ready for the laundry.
BackChannels source this morning relayed the following from Lagos, Nigeria in relation to raids by apparent herdsman against largely disarmed villages.
Since the first of the years, source claims, more than 500 Nigerians have been slaughtered in raids and no arrests have been made;
The number of Internally Displaced Persons associated with the conflict exceeds 200,000;
The Nigerian government has been repossessing simple weapons from villagers while attackers typically carrying AK-47s surround their targets and destroy buildings and stores with burning petrol;
The complement attending raids may average about 100 or more fighters;
Source of arms: Libya, other Arab nations, and Turkey.
In 2013, news reports mentioned a Hezbollah cell and weapons cache in Nigeria; the latest weapons seizure of similar scale in 2017 appears to have originated through Turkish channels.
Although Fulani herdsman have been blamed en masse for the aggression noted, BackChannels has heard suggestion that the weaponizing may devolve to the same forces backing extremist organizations elsewhere. The 2013 Hezbollah connection and the more recent 2017 interdiction involving Turkey would appear to support that thesis.
Recruitment into raiding units would also appear to correspond to conditions channeling fighters into rogue organizations elsewhere.
Dr. Omolade Adunbi, Assistant Professor, Political Anthropology, University of Michigan noted the following earlier this year in the publication Africa is a Country: “The question then becomes, how are these insurgents with no clarity of purpose able to recruit members into their dysfunctional group? The answer to this question is not far-fetched. First, the effect of climate change on the rise of social inequality in many parts of the country has meant the increased susceptibility of socially vulnerable groups to recruitment.”
Related on YouTube
Posted to YouTube 3/28/2014
Posted to YouTube 1/11/2018
Posted to YouTube 8/2/2016
BackChannels can never “vet” these videos, but most recognize this conflict in Nigeria as involving cattlemen, basically, and farmers. Less played may be the role played by religion in the conflict, which here has been made apparent:
Posted to YouTube 1/16/2018
Considering the 2013 Hezbollah weapons cache story, the latest interdiction of arms involving Turkish (criminal, of course) channeling, the claim of arms coming from Libya and more recent participation associated with Turkey and the activities of Moscow and Tehran in manipulating conflicts and extremism into existence (listen to the BBC interview of a once Soviet admiral on the Ogaden War), the drivers of this latest tragedy in Nigeria may start to surface.
The Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Hakan Cakil, in a meeting with the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), over importation of four containers of pump-action rifles into Nigeria in last eight months vowed to help Nigeria fish out criminals behind the illegal arms shipment to Nigeria.
The question then becomes, how are these insurgents with no clarity of purpose able to recruit members into their dysfunctional group? The answer to this question is not far-fetched. First, the effect of climate change on the rise of social inequality in many parts of the country has meant the increased susceptibility of socially vulnerable groups to recruitment . . . .
On 4 December 2017, Nigeria’s air force sent fighter jets to fire rockets at villages as a “warning” to deter spiralling communal violence, as hundreds of herdsmen attacked at least five villages in Adamawa state to avenge the massacre of up to 51 members of their community, mostly children, the previous month in Kikan.
An Amnesty International team visited the villages in the aftermath of the air raids and gathered witness testimony from residents who described being attacked by a fighter jet and a military helicopter as they attempted to flee.
(Reuters) – Nigeria’s secret service say they have arrested a “terrorist cell” trained in Iran who planned to attack U.S. and Israeli targets in Africa’s most populous nation.
The State Security Service (SSS) said they arrested Abdullahi Mustapha Berende and two other Nigerians in December after Berende made several suspicious trips to Iran where he interacted with Iranians in a “high profile terrorist network”.
The National Chairman of Fulbe (Fulani) Development Association of Nigeria (FULDAN), Malam Ahmad Usman Bello, has declared that they cannot be defeated by any ethnic group in the country.
Bello made the remarks while speaking with Saturday Tribune in Kano, amid the widespread outcry against the murderous activities of Fulani herdsmen in Benue, Plateau and Taraba states and many other parts of the country.
The body also said communal clashes have claimed over 700 lives since last year. AI made its position known in a statement issued on Monday. It stated that clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Adamawa, Benue, Taraba, Ondo and Kaduna states have resulted in 168 deaths in January alone.
Israel does not usually acknowledge foreign military actions, but Liberman told European diplomats Wednesday—the same day that the Mazzeh military airport near Damascus was reportedly hit by surface-to-surface missiles, and a week after two strikes elsewhere in Syria—that that his country was taking action to keep Hezbollah from acquiring “advanced weapons, military equipment and weapons of mass destruction.” His latest comments to the Knesset seemed to suggest that at least one of the strikes was in order to stop Hezbollah from acquiring chemical weapons.“
Our policies and our positions are very clear and are based on three red lines: We won’t allow any harm to the citizens of the State of Israel, we won’t allow any harm to the sovereignty of the State of Israel, and we will not allow the smuggling of high-quality advanced weapons and chemical weapons from Syria to Lebanon for Hezbollah,” Liberman told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
According to political commentator with Russia’s Kommersant publishing house Sergei Strokan, there now exists a “Russia, Iran, Hezbollah military triangle” in Syria.
In a telephone interview with Al-Monitor, Strokan said, “Hezbollah can do some things that Russia can’t afford to do itself,” as putting “Russian boots on the ground [in Syria] is a subject of heated debate [within Russia].”
And the public may read about Hezbollah in Lebanon with the shadow of the Ayatollah moving about in the background, but it may take more work to grasp how Moscow works with Tehran to elevate Hezbollah’s influence in Lebanon while channeling its fighters into action in Syria.
Again, on general terms, the KGB Era catch-all “Active Measures” may preoccupy wonks — enthused amateurs and professionals in intelligence and foreign affairs — while barely signaling up through the background clamor set by the entertainment and sports industries. As much — specifically, public ignorance of the mechanisms involved in the KGB-style sustaining of “political absolutism” (try using that one down at the bar) by way of a totalitarian approach to a political theater of realpolitik — moves this chatter into more specialized but also open circles.
This is the stuff of political thrillers in films and novels.
In general, both Hezbollah and Hamas may be interpreted as the advanced troops of Tehran as ultimately backed by Moscow. Again, the prize: political absolute power and destruction of democracies and the decimation of the concept — as demonstrated in Syria — of human rights.
Shaharabani said that the July 2006 Lebanon War “was the longest Israel had experienced since its War of Independence in 1948,” but any future clash with Hezbollah will make those destructive 34 days pale by comparison. According to his FDD coauthors, the Israeli government estimates that Hezbollah has approximately 150,000 rockets today as opposed to the mere 14,000 it possessed prior to the 2006 conflict. Writing for the Weekly Standard, Vanderbilt University law professor Willy Stern said that this gives Hezbollah a “bigger arsenal than all NATO countries – except the United States – combined.”
The Obama Administration has played the weak hand in relation to overt confrontations while possibly working behind-the-scenes to kick the legs out from under the should-be-defunct Soviet arrangements. As I don’t live “behind the curtains” — or the doors of the CIA, Defense Department, and State and other national security and defense elements — I encounter the news with an analytical bent that really can’t confirm nor deny American weakness in the encounters with serious challenges. Neither, perhaps, can America’s enemies produce better estimates, so it would seem. In the end, the despots, the commanders, and their generals wage bets with every act of war. For these, if they don’t aggress in the face of weakness, they’re pussies (sorry); if they do and have their asses handed to them (eventually), they’re gone but with some grudging respect for following orders and going over the cliffs together. It’s a dubious honor, but so many belligerent “Armies of God” seem so completely invested in the medieval beliefs and visions that serve their handlers that they have no exit into the modern world. War, in essence, becomes for Hezbollah and others a loopy dead end.
The 21st Century’s investment in total in feudalism may be immense: it goes far beyond Hezbollah and into any number of “state capitalist” dictatorships (whatever the “ism” they preach) and criminal enterprises. Still, the medieval outlook and the barbarism associated with it, whether mafia, state mafia, or religious mafia, becomes less and less wanted given the modern tools enabling more fair distributions in power and greater security to the lawful through the earnest development and sustaining of “rule of law”.
Probably, the lands of the lawless have always to implode over internecine doubts, jealousies, suspicions, and rivalries. The depth of their tragedies, whether of Hitlerian or Stalinist proportions, may be measured in the suffering in extent and time of the constituencies made to ride along with maddened power inherently inherently malign and narcissistic.
The prompt was a comment suggesting Hezbollah’s possession of Syrian chemical weapons stocks, an issue that had been in the news in 2013 and appears more recently in The Wall Street Journal (July 23, 2015): http://www.wsj.com/articles/mission-to-purge-syria-of-chemical-weapons-comes-up-short-1437687744
Other of the Morning’s Remarks
Promotion of the Shiite vs Sunni feud promotes the medievalism endorsed by Putin, Assad, Khamenei, and Baghdadi whose own positions rest on sustaining political “absolute power” (dictatorship) for themselves!
From the modern and perhaps outside perspective, the medieval worldview brings its horrors to the surface in continuous and unresolvable conflicts. The medieval order has become today a ceaselessly demonstrated death machine.
With comparatively less headcount, a solid foundation in a single ethnolinguistic cohort, and thousands of years of varied history, the Jews have unhappily but successfully ejected much of what failed them over the years — animal sacrifice may serve as a convenient symbol of the abandonment of priestly magic. When the near 0-CE Hillel makes principle ascendent over ritual and works to improve convert access to Judaism, the religion “tails forward” (my opinion) to the Ethical Culture Movement associated with Felix Adler. It’s not the end of the story, God willing, nor a story about the abandonment of Judaism, but it is a story about staying the same and changing at the same time. Some beliefs, ideas, and rituals have well stood the tests of time, and time may disappear altogether between the lighting of the Sabbath candles between millennium.
The Qur’an’s promotion of the authoritative voice and injunction may make movement away from the medieval world more difficult. What I witness (by having been here day after day for years) are the channels, trials, and errors of a community that plainly will not travel further with the Muslim Brotherhood’s (et al.) guidance, but how people deal with Bad Baghdadi and similar others seems varied. Atheists, “apostates”, converts, modernists, reformists — everything but barbarians, and the barbarians (that go off to join ISIS or knock around in the killing fields — and the odd bombing — with Hezbollah) may be setting themselves up for slaughter. Many things will be tried as the future gets under everyone’s feet (as it apparently has in Egypt) and we hope a few things will work and peace will prevail between the “Abrahamic religions”.
Re. Obama: I don’t know that region that is “what’s really going on”, but it appears evident that Obama wants the world to police itself because he has most of American military policy focused on acute issues (like ISIS in Iraq) and covert and policing this-and-that in Somalia and other places where efforts only occasionally ping the headlines but have to have been continuous for those headlines to appear.
Re. Islam: it appears to have an issue with Baghdadi, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood Organizations, and with the medieval troika Putin-Assad-Khamenei — but ALL of that involves a potentially archaic feudal world from which modern souls should and do wish to depart. Getting more people across that bridge may be what the modern world needs to do to survive itself. However, that world appears flanked by two “superpowers” — Russia under Putin’s aegis and a China that straddles the medieval and modern worlds with the appropriation — via investment — of western assets and continuing “state capitalist” / political elite control of its nation, which might serve to keep away chaos from 800 million residents of the state.
Re. Trump: he’s a businessman, not a politician; he’s a pretend “tough guy”, a poker player, not a statesman; and I believe he’s ill-educated for leadership in the foreign policy of the United States. The world is not a China shop, but he’s a bull in it nonetheless and in need of a completely different education to come up to speed.
Israel’s a strong state in command of its own defenses and related defense doctrine. However, as life need not be always a competition between similar entities, comparisons involving the cliches of Israeli prowess and Arab ineptness seem to me always questionable as well as certain to induce jealousies and resentments.
Immediate Arab states of affairs start with much greater populations and a more challenging melange of environmental and social themes. While the Hebrews have forged their lives apart, a kind of breakout or breakaway from despotism and disorder, Arab leaderships — and the latest suffered by the Persians — have wrestled long with systems of patronage and repression that have alternately kept the lid on darker forces or let them out, a bipolar political swinging fit to the medieval world that the modern might strive to attenuate but with a node for the scale and scope of the effort.
The BackChannels editor may cover a lot of topics in a day, but all talk and no reading (or play) makes for a dull pundit. More importantly, the greater the familiarity with political material, the stronger the need for more in-depth reading, other research, and talk, and that and other interest may slow the feed to this blog.
When you look at any state-of-the-art military machinery, you’re seeing the result of a long forward-looking process that started with talk, got the design bench, won funding, and produced a small industry in supplier contracts. In part, the incessant preparation for war _across the spectrum_ helps keep war in abeyance and the process of its part in aggression slow. Still, that process is there.
What I find frightening is after so many post-Nixon years of expanded investment and trade, the Chinese communist talk (despite all the mansions of Melbourne, AU sold to elites — plus ownership of the world’s largest bank) hasn’t changed a jot. Back-Channels observation of the defense of medieval political absolutism in relation to the Moscow-Damascus-Tehran axis of power may well apply to Moscow-Beijing. With Putin perhaps the Baghdadi of despotism, these old familiars may well be ganging up to force the United States and the world to accept what Assad plus the invasion of Crimea represent to Europe and the United States: i.e., the will of the despotic to impose themselves on the world at any cost to humanity.
If the United States had gambled on money as being the first principle of power, it appears to be losing its own shirt. Indeed, while the west has been kicking the legs out from under the old Soviet order (Moscow-Damascus-Tehran), a part of the arrangement may well be kicking back, and for the west, the distribution of money through constituent populations count for much more than it appears to in Moscow and Beijing (where Russian and Chinese development may be traded off for the ambitions of imposed military power and subsequent plunder, which may be the point of that power for those leaders).