Archive for the ‘middle east’ Category

By Christopher Harper

The Israeli invasion of Lebanon, which began 40 years ago this week, created a variety of unintended consequences from the rise of militant Islam to a Shia swath from Lebanon to the Arab Gulf. 

I traveled as a reporter throughout the Arab World for many years, covering some of the worst episodes of human despair and devastation of the 20th century. But the Israeli invasion, which began with Tel Aviv’s goal of removing the Palestine Liberation Organization from Lebanon, had a devastating effect on the world.

On June 6, 1982, Israeli forces launched an invasion of Lebanon called “Operation Peace for Galilee.” About 60,000 troops and more than 800 tanks, heavily supported by aircraft, attack helicopters, artillery, and missile boats, crossed the Israel–Lebanon border. A few days later, the Israelis and their Christian allies had encircled Beirut, where my colleagues and I reported on a siege that would end nearly three months later when the PLO evacuated Lebanon for other Arab countries.

Accurate casualty figures are difficult to find, but the independent Beirut newspaper An Nahar published an estimate of deaths from hospital and police records that claimed that more than 17,000 people died, roughly half civilians.

After the PLO’s departure, Christian forces murdered between 700 and 2,000 people in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in South Beirut. Israeli forces stood by as the massacre happened in September. I worked on an excellent documentary about the tragedy, “Oh, Tell the World What Happened,” for ABC News.

Although the PLO had many flaws, it was distinctly nonreligious. After the Israelis drove the PLO from Lebanon, Shia Muslims took control of the Lebanese government, creating an even more hostile force with Syria and Iran’s military and religious backing. That resulted in an attack on October 23, 1983, when 241 Marines and seamen died in a truck bombing in Beirut. The attack used Iranian funds, Syrian know-how, and Shia bombers. 

Here is the ABC 20/20 investigation I produced:

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfhAAhQ4FBg&t=2s

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgAFQYIYGpY&t=11s

The cross-border confrontations between Israel and Hezbollah, the Shia group in Lebanon, led to a war in 2006, which emboldened the Islamists. Furthermore, Hezbollah joined forces with Hamas, a Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip that continues to harass Israel today.

The Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon became a critical training ground for guerrillas and terrorists worldwide under the control of both Sunni and Shia extremists. Many foreign soldiers who fought U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq in the 2000s got some of their training in the Bekaa Valley. 

It’s rare that a decision from 40 years ago continues to create havoc, but that’s precisely what occurred when Israel decided to invade Lebanon in 1982. 

Righteous Among the Nations

Posted: May 31, 2022 by chrisharper in Israel, war
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By Christopher Harper

Master Sergeant Roderick “Roddie” Edmonds didn’t talk about his heroism in World War II, including his actions to save hundreds of his fellow soldiers, including several hundred Jews.

Edmonds served in the 106th Infantry Division, 422nd Infantry Regiment in the United States Army. He was captured and became the ranking U.S. non-commissioned officer at the Stalag IX-A POW camp in Germany, where – at risk to his life – he saved an estimated 200-300 Jews from being singled out from the camp for Nazi persecution and possible death. 

Edmonds arrived in the combat zone in December 1944, only five days before Germany launched a massive counteroffensive, the Battle of the Bulge. During the battle, on December 19, 1944, Edmonds was captured and sent to a German POW camp: Stalag IX-B. Shortly after that, he was transferred, with other enlisted personnel, to another POW camp near Ziegenhain, Germany: Stalag IX-A. 

As the senior noncommissioned officer at the new camp, Edmonds was responsible for the camp’s 1,275 American POWs.

On their first day in Stalag IX-A, on January 27, 1945—as Germany’s defeat was approaching—the commandant ordered Edmonds to tell only the Jewish-American soldiers to present themselves at the next morning’s assembly so they could be separated from the other prisoners. 

Instead, Edmonds ordered all 1,275 POWs to assemble outside their barracks. The German commandant rushed up to Edmonds in a fury, placed his pistol against Edmonds’s head, and demanded that he identify the Jewish soldiers under his command. Instead, Edmonds responded, “We are all Jews here.” 

He told the commandant that if he wanted to shoot the Jews, he would have to kill all of the prisoners.

The commandant backed down.

After 100 days of captivity, Edmonds returned home after the war but kept the events at the POW camp to himself.

After Roddie died in 1985, Edmonds’ wife gave his son Chris some of the diaries his father had kept. Chris, a Baptist minister, began researching his story and stumbled upon a mention of the event at the POW camp. He located several Jewish soldiers his father saved, who spoke about Roddie’s heroism. 

The interviews resulted in the 2019 book, No Surrender. See https://www.amazon.com/No-Surrender-Young-Readers-Extraordinary/dp/0062966170/

For his defense of Jewish servicemen at the POW camp, Edmonds, a Christian, was awarded the title “Righteous Among the Nations,” Israel’s highest award for non-Jews who risked their own lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

h/t to dawife Elizabeth

The real danger is that we who support the war will reach the point that we say “we might as well be taken as wolves then as sheep”.

Me at Instapundit May 31st 2006

OK Israel let’s face facts.

It’s been 16 years since you pulled out of Gaza leaving greenhouses and infrastructure intact as a good will gesture toward peace and to some degree Israel reaped rewards from this to wit:

  1. It shrunk the area that needed to be defended
  2. It demonstrated the bad faith of the Palestinians
  3. It demonstrated Hamas’ inability to take care of the basic needs of a population
  4. It opened wide the conflict between Hamas & Fatah
  5. It demonstrated that the Palestinians are less interested in a state and more interested in a launching ground for attacks.

But in the end all of these demonstrations to the world lose their meaning in a world were actual reality doesn’t matter. When you have a press that doesn’t see the difference between people who fire rockets at a population from within civilian structure and people who defend their countries from it. For example there is a lot of talk about Iron Dome and its excellent success rate but it’s a system that no other country wants to buy, why? Because any other country faced with such attacks would have gone in and crushed those attacking it.

It’s time for Israel to do the same.

Israel should roll back into Gaza, take the territory and either annex it or give it a status as a non-voting province.

What will the world and the press do? Attack and condemn Israel? They do than anyways.

What will Hamas and the PA do, try to kill Jews? They do that anyways.

As for the left in the west what are they going to do , hate Israel more then they do now? Hate Jews more than they do now? As I said many years ago on Instapundit concerning Haditha:

Our press and the anti-American left both in this country and outside of it has been reporting “Hadithas” over and over again over the last three years.

Time and time again our friends have accused us of every possible atrocity that there is to the point that internationally people are already able to believe this or the 9/11 stuff or all the rest.

Because of this, internationally it is totally irrelevant if the Marines actually violated the rules of war. Our foes are going to say that we’ve done things if we do them or not, so the only people that it really matters to will be; the people killed (and family) and the people in our own country who support the military.

The real danger is that we who support the war will reach the point that we say “we might as well be taken as wolves then as sheep”.

How the left in the west reacts is the least important question to answer.

The important question is: What will the Arab states do? There is one simple answer, likely nothing.

The states that made peace with Israel didn’t do so because they loved Israel or didn’t hate Jews. They did so because they are threatened by Iran and will be no less threatened if Israel is in Gaza. The question is will they decide they’re less threatened if Iran though Hamas no longer controls Gaza or more threatened as Iran’s ability to hit the Jewish state is curtailed? I think it’s the former.

It’s time for Israel to stop being sheep and given the a taste of General Sherman’s war so that Generations will pass before they again appeal to it.

Now if they prefer to have their citizens duck rockets every few years when a Democrat or a weak republican is in office it’s their country.

But if they take my advice the rockets will be over.

Update: Apparently Israel’s PM reads this blog:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is pursuing “forceful deterrence” against Gaza’s Hamas rulers and does not rule out a further escalation.

Meeting with foreign ambassadors on Wednesday, he said “you can either conquer them, and that’s always an open possibility, or you can deter them.”

“We are engaged right now in forceful deterrence, but I have to say, we don’t rule out anything.”

Oil Refinery, from Wikipedia

One of President Trump’s greatest achievements was to drive America away from importing Middle East oil. It made the United States capable of sitting out any regional crisis, which in the Middle East seems to happen on a frequent basis. For example, if the Iranians threaten to close the Straits of Hormuz, the United States can take its time to act accordingly, not being pressured by rising gas prices at home. Heck, the U.S. could tell other countries to solve that crisis if it wanted to. Having options makes it harder for your opponent to win, and puts you in control.

India is, ironically, fast approaching where the U.S. was in terms of oil a few years ago. India is the third largest consumer of oil (behind the U.S. and China), and it imports almost 85% of that oil. This leaves India vulneable to any oil interruption, and with OPEC cutting production this month, India is actively trying to diversify its energy and vehicle oil usage. This is also why India is OK negotiating with Iran (which supplies 10% of India’s oil), mainly because it doesn’t have a lot of choices.

By the way, none of this is news, it was being called out last year and the year before that, so India “unsheathing a weapon” is a bit of a misnomer, since they’ve been working on this for some time. This could have been a great moment for the United States and Canada to step in and sell lots of oil to India. Not only would it be democracies helping democracies, but it would provide a 1 billion person counterweight to China’s aggression. Plus we’d make money on the deal. What’s not to love?

India probably paid attention to history and saw how the U.S. got screwed in the 1970s, plus how President Trump gave the U.S. more foreign independence. They are pushing lots of initiatives like solar cars and solar cells to reduce transportation and home usage, but these take time to build in, and India’s sporadic infrastructure doesn’t help the process. Again, all these initiatives provide opportunities for the U.S. to work with India and strengthen that relationship, something we sure don’t seem to be pushing all that much.

Oil isn’t leaving anytime soon as the fuel of choice, and inter-country relationships will continue to be heavily influenced by who produces, consumes and ships oil. The United States has a pretty significant interest in helping countries like India source their oil from friendly places while seeking to become energy independent in the long term. Not only does it make our planet better, but it makes our foreign policy a lot more stable, and we could all use that.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.