Creative Destruction

July 24, 2006

Innocence Is Drowned

Filed under: International Politics,War — Off Colfax @ 9:47 pm

Well, folks. Looks like it is going to happen.

As I said here, “in the realm of military action, there are few coincidences.” And there is absolutely zero room for coincidence in this report.

The bodies of Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers killed by the Israeli army in Lebanon have been transported to Syria and flown to Tehran, senior Lebanese political sources said.

Israeli and Egyptian security officials confirmed the news, which follows a report that first appeared in The New York Sun, that Iranian forces posted to southern Lebanon have been aiding Hezbollah terrorists in their attacks against Israel, including helping to fire rockets into Israeli population centers.

Got the important part of the lede? Here, let me point it out, just in case someone can’t see it from way up in the cheap seats.

The bodies of Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers killed by the Israeli army in Lebanon have been transported to Syria and flown to Tehran, senior Lebanese political sources said.

Now, you are probably wondering why Iranian units, nominally stationed in Syria, are taking up positions in southern Lebanon.

(Assuming you have read through this far. Which some of you probably won’t, because you worry more about the stagnant-yet-constantly-FUBAR’d situation in Iraq than a whole new crop of bloodshed in Israel. But that’s okay. I’ve got glazed meatloaf and garlic mashed potatoes: the ultimate comfort food.) (I did mention I knew how to cook, didn’t I?)

Unfortunately, the answer is simple. And not really what I suspected at first. I display some of my international relations geek-ery after the jump.

According to this paper put out last week by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers I presume to have been killed in recent days were part of units on station in southern Lebanon since 2002. 1200 members of the IRGC were sent to train Hezbollah militants in the use of the Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 Multiple Rocket Launcher systems. A safe assumption would be that these weapon systems, not necessarily known for steel-on-target accuracy, were delivered at approximately the same time as the arrival of the IRGC units.

Another safe assumption would be that this deployment was made official, and legal via a very narrow interpretation of international law, two years later. In the mutual defense treaty between Syria and Iran of 2004, southern Lebanon was specifically mentioned as part and parcel of the Syrian sphere of influence. Yet following the Cedar Revolution, when Damascus withdrew all Syrian troops from Lebanon (Not without significant amounts of foot-dragging, however.), the IRGC troops remained to carry out their work with Hezbollah. As to why this situation was allowed, I cannot find any references.

And this is where the situation turns ugly. For the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon left a power vacuum for Hezbollah (which is well-established as being a cat’s-paw for and/or totally-owned subsidiary of both Damascus and Tehran in the first place), with the IRGC coming in under the radar to join in the fun, to essentially take complete military control over the Lebanese-Israeli border region. And as Hezbollah is dedicated to the destruction of the state of Israel with such a ferocity by which even the other PLO organizations can no longer abide, Israel is placed in a quandry: removal of a nation-state dedicated to your destruction only to watch a non-state-actor move into the breach. For nations can be controlled, if not sidetracked, via diplomacy. Non-state-actors cannot.


So. Fast-forward to events over the past two weeks. To avoid repeating myself, I will simply link again to my summary from last week and move on to recent developments.

On Saturday, NewMexiKen linked to this NYT article about Israel activating the advance order of weapons, specifically precision-guided munitions, which indicates “that Israel still had a long list of targets in Lebanon to strike.” After which, Ken follows it up with:

Sorry, don’t mind me, it was just the photo of some poor Lebanese grandpa’s infant Sweetie with its head blown off that got to me.

I wonder why Ken doesn’t mention all the Israeli grandpa’s infant Sweeties that continue to be injured and killed by the not-accurate-over-one-kilometer MLRV-launced Fadj-3’s and -5’s that have hit cities from Haifa to Tiberias. Or that the munitions heading towards Jerusalem are more accurate by multiple orders of magnitude than the Hezbollah/IRGC possess. Or that the U.S.-based weapons are not packed with ball-bearings so as to increase the personnel damage rating. Or that, while the IDF is targetting buildings that are used both by Hezbollah as well as civilians, Hezbollah is only targetting civilian population centers, and indiscriminately at that.

Which tells me that Hezbollah is, in essence, hiding behind the corpses of their Lebanese shields, just as Iran and Syria are hiding behind Hezbollah. And that Israel does not really want to kill the Lebanese civilian population and, if they end up doing so, reduce the number of civilian casualties by a) using satellite- and laser-guided bombs and b) continuing to drop leaflets warning to civilian population that a strike is imminent.

So with Ken’s remark, yet another line from Yeats’ The Second Coming is fulfilled.

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.


I bet you didn’t see that one coming, Nostradamus.

[Turn signal: In The Bullpen via Protein Wisdom]

EDIT: If you’re interested in the meatloaf (Which you should be. Everyone loves meatloaf.) then head over to Left Off Colfax where I reveal the recipe. Or don’t. Your loss.


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