Current Events

New Chaos for Lebanon?

On November 13, The Australian reported the following about developments in Lebanon:

“The prospect of renewed chaos loomed over Lebanon at the weekend after the Hezbollah movement and its Shia allies quit the Government, plunging the country into a political crisis that could quickly spill into the streets. The resignations of all five Shia ministers–two from Hezbollah, two from the Amal movement and one independent–from the cabinet of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora were announced hours after the collapse of high-stakes talks aimed at soothing rising sectarian tensions in the wake of the devastating war with Israel last summer… the withdrawal of the Shia ministers effectively ended Shia representation in the coalition governing the country, threatening Lebanon with a period of renewed political uncertainty and potential civil strife at a time when it is still struggling to recover from the ruin inflicted during the war.”

Lebanese Guerrillas Are Back

Britain’s Sunday Times reported on November 12:

“Four months after Israel launched its onslaught against Hezbollah, the Lebanese guerrillas are back in south Lebanon stronger than ever and armed with more rockets than they had before the conflict, according to Israeli intelligence. During the month-long war, which began on July 12, Hezbollah fired 200 to 250 rockets a day into Israel, killing 43 civilians and terrorising much of the north of the country.

“‘Since the ceasefire, additional rockets, weapons and military equipment have reached Hezbollah,’ said an Israeli intelligence officer. ‘We assume they now have about 20,000 rockets of all ranges–a bit more than they had before July 12.’ Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, has confirmed the Israeli estimate. In a recent interview with al-Manar, the Hezbollah television station, he claimed his organisation had restocked its arsenal and now held at least 30,000 rockets, sufficient for five months of war… The Israeli military estimates that at least 5,000 rockets are hidden in secret shelters along the border, which it failed to find before the ceasefire came into effect on August 14.”

Iran Wants Israel’s Destruction

On November 15, 2006, ynet published the following report:

“Iranian newspapers Kehyan and Resalat have urged Muslims around the world to prepare for a ‘great war’ to destroy the State of Israel… ‘Hizbullah destroyed at least half of Israel in the Lebanon war… Now only half the path (to its destruction) remains,’ an editorial in the conservative Keyhan newspaper declared. ‘It was proven that, by means of an offensive operation that need not be equal to Israel’s moves, it is possible to neutralize the Zionist navy,’ the article said triumphantly. It continued: ‘Just as in one 33-day war more than 50 percent of Israel was destroyed, and the hope of its supporters for the continued life of this regime was broken, it is likely that in the next battle, the second half will also collapse. On that day… Jordan will not be able to prevent the Jordanian Islamists from operating through the long Jordan-Palestine border, and the millions of Egyptian Islamists… will not let the Sinai-Israel border remain quiet, and the Syrian Golan Heights will not remain as a (mere) observer of the battle. That day is not so far off.'”

“The Resalat newspaper struck a similarly bellicose tone with an editorial entitled ‘Preparations for the Great War.’… It added: ‘For the first time in the 60 years of its disgraceful life, the Zionist regime–the West’s beloved in the Middle East–tasted the taste of defeat, and the citizens of this regime trembled at the menace of Hizbullah’s missiles… The nation of Muslims must prepare for the great war, so as to completely wipe out the Zionist regime, and remove this cancerous growth. Like the Imam (Ayatollah) Khomeini said: ‘Israel must collapse.'”

No Condemnation for Israel

The Los Angeles Times reported on November 13:

“The United States vetoed a Security Council resolution Saturday that would have condemned Israel’s military actions in the Gaza Strip and demanded a withdrawal of Israeli troops. The resolution, sponsored by Qatar after an Israeli attack last week killed 18 civilians in the town of Beit Hanoun, received 10 votes in favor and four abstentions, but was killed by the U.S. veto [In the vote, the four countries which abstained were Britain, Denmark, Japan and Slovakia. The ten countries which were in favor were: Argentina, China, Congo, France, Ghana, Greece, Peru, Russia, Qatar and Tanzania.].”

The article continued:

“The U.S. veto highlights the difficulty of achieving Security Council accord on taking any action on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. The United States, a close ally of Israel, contends that resolution of the conflict should be handled by the peace intermediaries known as the quartet–the U.S., Russia, the European Union and the U.N. Washington almost always rejects resolutions related to Israel that don’t mention Palestinian provocation or contain a denunciation of terrorism. The veto Saturday by the U.S. was its fourth in three years on the issue. The U.S. vetoed a similar resolution in July that sought to condemn Israeli military operations in Gaza after the capture of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian militants, calling it ‘unbalanced.’ The other permanent members–Britain, France, Russia and China–say the long-standing conflict is a clear matter of peace and security that should be handled by the council…

“Israel apologized for the civilian deaths, saying that they had been caused by a ‘technical error’ but that its army would continue to defend the country against rocket attacks launched from Gaza… British Deputy Ambassador Karen Pierce condemned the Israeli attacks, saying, ‘It is hard to see what this action was meant to achieve and how it can be justified.’ But she said Britain abstained because it did not consider the resolution to be ‘sufficiently balanced nor to reflect the complexity of the current situation.'”

Any Solutions for Iraq?

The “State-South Carolina,” as posted by, wrote on November 11:

“What a difference a day makes. On Monday [of last week] those who questioned the wisdom or competence of Bush foreign policy were being dismissed by Republicans as ‘defeatocrats.’ Only last week President Bush vowed to keep Don Rumsfeld on as secretary of defense until 2008. Then, on Tuesday, the public registered a stunning vote of no confidence in Bush foreign policy–driven by dissatisfaction with Iraq. Democrats will control the House and the Senate. On Wednesday–before the results were even final–the president dumped Rumsfeld. And Bush talked repeatedly about ‘bipartisanship’ and the need to find ‘common ground’ with Democrats.

“It may be too late for even sincere bipartisanship to save Bush’s Iraq venture…  The president still makes key decisions. And his decisions over the past three years have left only bad options in Iraq… [But] Republicans unhappy with Bush foreign policy are now free to join Democratic counterparts in seeking a way out of the Iraq trap… at this point there are no miracles available to rescue Iraq policy…”

The article concludes: “Whether Bush and the Democrats can work together in a bipartisan fashion is far from certain.”

Iraq Is “Not Winnable”

On November 13, Der Spiegel Online published an interview with Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. According to the magazine, “A widely respected foreign policy expert, Haass warns that the Middle East could become dangerous for years to come.”

Set forth below are excerpts from his interesting interview:

“Iraq was a war of choice that proved to be much more difficult and expensive than Americans bargained for… I can’t think of a time when the United States has faced so many difficult challenges at once. What makes it worse is we are facing them at a time when we are increasingly stretched militarily. We are divided politically. We are stretched also economically, and there is a good deal of anti-Americanism in the world. It’s a very bad combination…

“I believe largely because of the American decision to go to war in Iraq and how it has been carried out, as well as the emphasis on promoting democracy and a lack of any serious energy policy, the Middle East has considerably grown worse. It’s one of history’s ironies that the first war in Iraq, a war of necessity, marked the beginning of the American era in the Middle East and the second Iraq war, a war of choice, has precipitated its end…

“Visions of a new Middle East that is peaceful, prosperous and democratic will not be realized. Much more likely is the emergence of a new Middle East that will cause great harm to itself and the world. Iran will be a powerful state in the region, a classical imperial power. No viable peace process between Israel and the Palestinians is likely for the foreseeable future. Militias will emerge throughout the region, terrorism will grow in sophistication, tensions between Sunni and Shia will increase, causing problems in countries with divided societies, such as Bahrain, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. Islam will fill the political and intellectual vacuum. Iraq at best will remain messy for years to come, with a weak central government, a divided society and sectarian violence. At worst, it will become a failed state racked by all-out civil war that will draw in its neighbors…

“The Iraq situation is not winnable in any meaningful sense of the word ‘winnable.’… The war is one the American people weren’t quite prepared for: They had not been told it was going to be that difficult and expensive. After the military battlefield phase, they thought it was going to be easy. So this has proven shocking. Nearly 3,000 Americans have lost their lives. Maybe 15,000 – 20,000 Americans have been wounded. Hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent. It has been disruptive on many levels. The danger is that the United States now will be weary of intervening elsewhere, like the cat that once sat on a hot stove and will never sit on any stove again… There is no doubt that the world needs the United States.”

When asked, ” What could Europe do?,” Haass replied:

“The one-word answer is: More… One wants Europe to be more internationally oriented. If you could make a criticism that the United States has under-used the diplomatic tool, Europeans often under-use other tools… What Europeans have control over is not American foreign policy. What they have control over is their own capacity and willingness to act — and that is what they ought to focus on.”

Iraq’s “Thanks”

On November 14, Der Spiegel Online published an interview with Iraq’s health minister, Ali al-Shameri. In the interview, the following startling and revealing statements were made by al-Shameri:

“The Americans are the reason for the disaster in our country. Rumsfeld made many mistakes, and we are pleased to see him go. The Americans understand nothing about Iraq. They are not protecting us, but just themselves… The Iraqi government must be able to act as a sovereign body. We want to deploy our police and military forces the way we think is right. So far we have always had to ask the Americans. Personally, I would have no objection to their leaving the country tomorrow. In any event, in the future we must tie the presence of their troops to conditions… The Americans must leave the cities and withdraw to their bases. They should only come when they are needed and called for…

“The ordinary citizens, including the Sunnis, want the Americans to go. But those in the government and in political groups are now worried about their jobs. They get their support from Arab countries. As a result, more and more suicide bombers are coming into our country… Iran is a friend, but we receive neither weapons nor money from them, not even medications, which we urgently need… Both Iran and the Arabs should stay out of the affairs of Iraq… About 100 people die every day as a result of violence, and three times as many are wounded. Doctors are being threatened and are fleeing the country. Of a total of 18,000 doctors, the best — close to a thousand — have already left the country. I don’t have enough hospitals and far too few beds. We are running out of strength, both financially and otherwise, and we will not be able to survive much longer.”

Germans Dissatisfied With Democracy

Der Spiegel Online reported on November 3:

“In a survey released on Thursday evening by the German public television station ARD, 51 percent of the 1,500 people surveyed answered negatively to the question, ‘Are you satisfied with how democracy functions in Germany?’ It’s the lowest result since the station began asking the question in 1997… Similarly, the number of Germans who say that the situation in the country is ‘unjust’ continues to rise. Only 27 percent regard the current situation in Germany as ‘just’, with 66 percent disagreeing… The high levels of German dissatisfaction with the functioning of the country’s democracy could well be due to the current political atmosphere in Germany. One year after welcoming Angela Merkel and her grand coalition — the pairing of the Social Democrats with the conservatives — to power, Germans are increasingly dissatisfied with the government’s work. Only 27 percent think the current government is doing better than ex-chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s government. And with the grand coalition looking increasingly unwieldy, it may be some time before Germans cheer up again.”

America Lacks Faith in God

On November 9, WorldNetDaily wrote about America’s lack of faith and trust in God.  Although we don’t agree with much of the article, the point that the U.S.–as a nation–lacks faith in the true God of the Bible is very well taken. We are quoting the following excerpts from the article:

“You say we also believe in God today? No, we don’t–not as a nation… Today, America and Europe are being transformed by Islam because there is a spiritual vacuum in these once-Christian lands. Especially in Britain and Europe, where the Islamic invasion is already well advanced, analysts concede it’s simply a matter of time before some of these nations have Muslim majorities… The Netherlands’ justice minister, Piet Hein Donner, recently announced he would let Shariah law take over his European nation–already rapidly filling up with Muslims–if the majority votes for it… The French are so terrified of the Muslims that comprise 10 percent of their population that Parisian police won’t even venture into Muslim communities on the outskirts of the capital city… What about America? Though the percentage of Muslims in this huge nation is much lower than in Europe, radical Islam already has a powerful foothold in many parts of American society… We need to wake up and remember who we really are. We need to realize the bottom-line reality that man is a spiritual creature, and that he will have faith, one way or the other. If he doesn’t embrace true faith, he will embrace false faith… When God withheld His protection from ancient Israel because of the disobedience and faithlessness of His people, there was only one possible solution: They had to repent of their pride and folly and come back to Him. Do we somehow expect the Almighty to grant a different remedy to us?”

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