Monday, July 31, 2006

Why Qana is a stalking horse

This weekend this Israeli Defense Force (IDF)struck a suspected Hezbollah position in Qana Lebanon. It has been reported that 60+ civilians were killed in the attack including women and children. International outrage was immediate with calls for a cease fire and accusations that Israel had either been sloppy in their targeting (i.e No Hezbollah connection) or that it was an intentional massacre.

I reject those contentions:

The first thing to know about Qana is that it was the scene of a similar incident in 1996. That incident was instrumental in forcing Israel to accept the cease fire that left Hezbollah entreched in southern Lebanon.

Next we have to look at the timing of events and physical situation in southern Lebanon.

a. Over the past three weeks Hezbollah operatives dressed as civilians have been guiding foreign journalists through the combat zone. A number of journalists have noted the emplacement of military equipment in civilian neighborhoods.

The Herald Sun in Australia has an article and photos.

Note the civilian clothes and the placement of the antiaircraft cannon in a residential area. Both are violations of the Geneva Conventions.

b. On July 29th Israel rejected a peace offer from Lebanon which was also endorsed by Hezbollah.

Knowing these factors sets the stage and leads us to the actual bombing in Qana.

The Lebanese government and Hezbollah both claim that no weapons were in operation around Qana. The IDF disputes that and has release footage of rockets being fired from the vicinity of the building which was bombed.

The IDF located weapons in the area and attacked them, after having repeatedly dropped leaflets warning civilians to evacuate.

The building collapse took place 8 hours after the attack.

Others have noted some other disturbing events associated with this incident:

a. Immediately after the incident a 30 foot tall full color banner of Condoleeza Rice was unfurled.

b. Others have noted that the same children appear in multiple shots at different times and wonder if the photos are being staged.

c. Hezbollah has a history of operating from proscribed positions and denying it. (i.e. The bombing of the UN observation post, originally condemned by Kofi Anan, as a deliberate attack on peacekeepers. It was later revealed from e-mails written by a Canadian soldier stationed at that post that Hezbollah did operate from their seeking shelter from Israeli counter attacks)

These issues taken together make me think that having failed to force the UN to mandate Israel cease their attack Hezbollah has manufactured an incident to force them to accept the cease fire proposed on the 29th. A cease fire incidentally in which Hezbollah does not have to disarm.

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