Saturday, August 12, 2006

Landis on Charlie Rose Show - Friday, Aug 11, 2006

Charlie Rose invited me to speak on his show with Ambassador Imad Moustapha. Rose was


IMAD MOUSTAPHA, Syria’s Ambassador to the United States

JOSHUA LANDIS, University of Oklahoma



At 8/12/2006 01:19:00 PM, Blogger True Facts said...

August 11, 2006
The Morning After the Morning After
By Thomas L. Friedman
With every war there are two days to keep in mind when the guns fall silent: the morning after, and the morning after the morning after. America, Israel and all those who want to see Lebanon’s democracy revived need to keep their eyes focused on the morning after the morning after.
Here’s why.
The only way that the fighting in south Lebanon will be brought to a close is if all the parties accept a cease-fire and the imposition of a robust international peacekeeping force, led by France, along the Israel-Lebanon border--supplanting Hezbollah.
The morning after that cease-fire goes into effect, everyone knows what will happen: Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah--no matter how battered his forces and how much damage his reckless war has visited on Lebanon--will crawl out of his bunker and declare a “great victory.” Hezbollah, he will say, fought the Israeli Army to a standstill inside Lebanon and rained rockets on northern Israel. Meanwhile, military analysts everywhere will write that Israel has “lost its deterrence” vis-à-vis Arab forces, and blah, blah, blah.
Sorry, been there, heard that, and I don’t buy it. What matters in war, alas, is the balance of destruction on the ground and the political weight it exerts over time.
On the morning after the morning after, Lebanese war refugees, who had real jobs and homes, will start streaming back by the hundreds of thousands, many of them Shiites. Tragically, they will find their homes or businesses badly damaged or obliterated. Yes, they will curse Israel. But they and other Arabs will also start asking Nasrallah publicly what many are already asking privately:
“What was this war all about? What did we get from this and at what price? Israel has some roofs to repair and some dead to bury. But its economy and state are fully intact, and it will recover quickly. We Lebanese have been set back by a decade. Our economy and our democracy lie in ruins, like our homes. For what? For a one-week boost in ‘Arab honor?’ So that Iran could distract the world’s attention from its nuclear program? You did all this to us for another country?”
As Michael Young, opinion editor of The Beirut Daily Star, put it an article in Slate: “Hezbollah’s ... test will be to rapidly alleviate the suffering in its own community and, therefore, avoid losing its base. The party still has substantial backing among its coreligionists, and it is not about to see this disappear. But soon the fate of the hundreds of thousands of Shiites now living in schools, tent cities, and even public parks will be an overriding concern for Nasrallah. Many have fled areas partly or wholly destroyed, to which they might not return for months or years. ... Hezbollah will have to provide funding for reconstruction and rehabilitation that is likely to run into the billions of dollars. ... The party will have a monumental task to revive not only Shiite morale but confidence that Hezbollah can take care of its own. ... Even the party’s most optimistic interpretation of the current war--that it is a heroic achievement--will not spare it having to tiptoe very carefully through Shiite trauma.”
Moreover, if and when a French-led international force is placed along the Israel-Lebanon border, it will be a big loss for Hezbollah. The Shiite militia will no longer be able to directly touch Israel and start a war for Iran or Syria whenever it chooses. And, if Hezbollah tried to lob missiles over the peacekeeping zone, or penetrate it, it would clash with forces from France, Italy and Turkey, the likely peacekeepers. That means Hezbollah, Iran and Syria would not be able to hurt Israel without also hurting their own relations with the European Union.
Israel needs to keep its eyes on the prize. It’s already inflicted enormous damage on Hezbollah and its community, but Nasrallah will only have to pay the full price for inviting all that destruction once the guns fall silent on the morning after the morning after. So let’s get there as soon as possible. That will deter him. What would deter him even more, though, would be if the U.N. would go ahead and impose sanctions on Iran for its illicit nuclear bomb program. After all, it was Iran, Nasrallah’s master, that ordered up this war to distract the U.N. from doing just that. It would be nice to say to Iran: You ravaged Hezbollah for nothing.
Beyond those two limited objectives, there’s no storybook ending for Israel in Lebanon, and it shouldn’t throw more good lives after some elusive knockout blow. It’s just not that kind of neighborhood. As they say in the movies, “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

At 8/12/2006 03:28:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

U.S. assures Israel it will not be forced to withdraw from Shaba

Haaretz Diplomatic Correspondent Aluf Benn reports that an agreement reached between Israel and the United States on the disputed Shaba Farms area, located on Israel's border with Lebanon, enabled a breakthrough in reaching a cease-fire resolution at the United Nations on Friday.

In letters exchanged between U.S. and Israeli leaders, U.S. officials assured Israel that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan would be authorized to determine whether the area belongs to Lebanon or Syria, but that the future status of the territory would only be determined in negotiations between Israel and Farms' rightful owners.

A senior government source said that Israel would not be obligated to withdraw from Shaba Farms, even if Annan's investigation determines that they belong to Lebanon.

In the negotiations that preceded the cease-fire deal, Lebanon demanded that Israel hand over Shaba Farms as a "deposit" to the UN, with the small strip of territory later to be given to either Lebanon or Syria, according to the results of Annan's investigation.

But Olmert strongly opposed the Lebanese demand, telling U.S. officials that Israel viewed the Shaba Farms as part of the Golan Heights, which was captured by Israel from Syria in 1967. He said that a withdrawal from part of the Golan would require a majority of 61 members of Knesset - a majority he does not have - or a national referendum. In 1981, the Knesset voted to extend Israeli law to the Golan.

With Olmert refusing to budge on the Shaba issue, the UN Security Council announced that Annan would determine the exact delineation of area of the Farms and present his findings to the Security Council within 30 days.

At 8/13/2006 05:21:00 AM, Blogger t_desco said...

Washington’s interests in Israel’s war.

The Bush Administration, however, was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s retaliatory attacks. President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preëmptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground.

According to a Middle East expert with knowledge of the current thinking of both the Israeli and the U.S. governments, Israel had devised a plan for attacking Hezbollah—and shared it with Bush Administration officials—well before the July 12th kidnappings. “It’s not that the Israelis had a trap that Hezbollah walked into,” he said, “but there was a strong feeling in the White House that sooner or later the Israelis were going to do it.”

The Middle East expert said that the Administration had several reasons for supporting the Israeli bombing campaign. Within the State Department, it was seen as a way to strengthen the Lebanese government so that it could assert its authority over the south of the country, much of which is controlled by Hezbollah. He went on, “The White House was more focussed on stripping Hezbollah of its missiles, because, if there was to be a military option against Iran’s nuclear facilities, it had to get rid of the weapons that Hezbollah could use in a potential retaliation at Israel. Bush wanted both. Bush was going after Iran, as part of the Axis of Evil, and its nuclear sites, and he was interested in going after Hezbollah as part of his interest in democratization, with Lebanon as one of the crown jewels of Middle East democracy.”

The United States and Israel have shared intelligence and enjoyed close military coöperation for decades, but early this spring, according to a former senior intelligence official, high-level planners from the U.S. Air Force—under pressure from the White House to develop a war plan for a decisive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities—began consulting with their counterparts in the Israeli Air Force.

“The big question for our Air Force was how to hit a series of hard targets in Iran successfully,” the former senior intelligence official said. “Who is the closest ally of the U.S. Air Force in its planning? It’s not Congo—it’s Israel. Everybody knows that Iranian engineers have been advising Hezbollah on tunnels and underground gun emplacements. And so the Air Force went to the Israelis with some new tactics and said to them, ‘Let’s concentrate on the bombing and share what we have on Iran and what you have on Lebanon.’ ” The discussions reached the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, he said.

“The Israelis told us it would be a cheap war with many benefits,” a U.S. government consultant with close ties to Israel said. “Why oppose it? We’ll be able to hunt down and bomb missiles, tunnels, and bunkers from the air. It would be a demo for Iran.”

Earlier this summer, before the Hezbolla kidnappings, the U.S. government consultan said, several Israeli officials visited Washington separately, “to get a green light for the bombin operation and to find out how much the Unite States would bear.” The consultant added, “Israel began with Cheney. It wanted to be sur that it had his support and the support of hi office and the Middle East desk of the Nationa Security Council.” After that, “persuading Bus was never a problem, and Condi Rice was o board,” the consultant said.

The initial plan, as outlined by the Israelis, called for a major bombing campaign in response to the next Hezbollah provocation, according to the Middle East expert with knowledge of U.S. and Israeli thinking. Israel believed that, by targeting Lebanon’s infrastructure, including highways, fuel depots, and even the civilian runways at the main Beirut airport, it could persuade Lebanon’s large Christian and Sunni populations to turn against Hezbollah, according to the former senior intelligence official. ...

The Israeli plan, according to the former senior intelligence official, was “the mirror image of what the United States has been planning for Iran.” (The initial U.S. Air Force proposals for an air attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear capacity, which included the option of intense bombing of civilian infrastructure targets inside Iran, have been resisted by the top leadership of the Army, the Navy, and the Marine Corps, according to current and former officials. They argue that the Air Force plan will not work and will inevitably lead, as in the Israeli war with Hezbollah, to the insertion of troops on the ground.)

Cheney’s office supported the Israeli plan, as did Elliott Abrams, a deputy national-security adviser, according to several former and current officials. (A spokesman for the N.S.C. denied that Abrams had done so.) They believed that Israel should move quickly in its air war against Hezbollah. A former intelligence officer said, “We told Israel, ‘Look, if you guys have to go, we’re behind you all the way. But we think it should be sooner rather than later—the longer you wait, the less time we have to evaluate and plan for Iran before Bush gets out of office.’ ”

Cheney’s point, the former senior intelligence official said, was “What if the Israelis execute their part of this first, and it’s really successful? It’d be great. We can learn what to do in Iran by watching what the Israelis do in Lebanon.”

The Pentagon consultant told me that intelligence about Hezbollah and Iran is being mishandled by the White House the same way intelligence had been when, in 2002 and early 2003, the Administration was making the case that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. “The big complaint now in the intelligence community is that all of the important stuff is being sent directly to the top—at the insistence of the White House—and not being analyzed at all, or scarcely,” he said. “It’s an awful policy and violates all of the N.S.A.’s strictures, and if you complain about it you’re out,” he said. “Cheney had a strong hand in this.”

The surprising strength of Hezbollah’ resistance, and its continuing ability to fir rockets into northern Israel in the face of th constant Israeli bombing, the Middle Eas expert told me, “is a massive setback for thos in the White House who want to use force i Iran. And those who argue that the bombin will create internal dissent and revolt in Iran ar also set back.

Nonetheless, some officers serving with the Joint Chiefs of Staff remain deeply concerned that the Administration will have a far more positive assessment of the air campaign than they should, the former senior intelligence official said. “There is no way that Rumsfeld and Cheney will draw the right conclusion about this,” he said. “When the smoke clears, they’ll say it was a success, and they’ll draw reinforcement for their plan to attack Iran.”

There are also questions about the status of Condoleezza Rice. Her initial support for the Israeli air war against Hezbollah has reportedly been tempered by dismay at the effects of the attacks on Lebanon. The Pentagon consultant said that in early August she began privately “agitating” inside the Administration for permission to begin direct diplomatic talks with Syria—so far, without much success. Last week, the Times reported that Rice had directed an Embassy official in Damascus to meet with the Syrian foreign minister, though the meeting apparently yielded no results. The Times also reported that Rice viewed herself as “trying to be not only a peacemaker abroad but also a mediator among contending parties” within the Administration. The article pointed to a divide between career diplomats in the State Department and “conservatives in the government,” including Cheney and Abrams, “who were pushing for strong American support for Israel.”
The New Yorker

At 8/13/2006 05:38:00 AM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

You were quiet impressive on the show. much more realistic than Imad Mustapha.

At 8/13/2006 07:49:00 AM, Blogger t_desco said...

Professor Landis on Charlie Rose Show (my transcript): "... Nasrallah has said many times Lebanon is a mosaic and we have all to fit together. Now, right now he is in a big struggle and he needs the help of every radical Muslim in the Muslim world and he is repeating over and over again "Israel is illegal", "we are going to go and push the Jews into the sea", and... He has opened up this wound because people are very angry and that's the way for him to gain support."

Professor Landis,

having listened to (most of) Nasrallah's speeches during this crisis, I don't remember hearing him say "we are going to go and push the Jews into the sea" (please correct me if I am wrong).

You were probably using the expression/phrase in a metaphoric sense (and it is certainly true that Hizbullah doesn't recognize the state of Israel), but many listeners will not understand that and think these were the actual words he used (implying terrible images of massacres against the Israeli population). Would Noam Chomsky meet with somebody who says such terrible things?

Western reporting on the Middle East is already full of inaccuracies (some of it due to ideology and some of it due to lack of knowledge/the language barrier), perhaps only an English al-Jazeera will be able to alleviate the problem (for example, I learned only very recently that Nasser himself also didn't use this expression/phrase).

I also don't think that his speeches were mainly addressed to "radical Muslims" in the region. To the contrary, one central theme was the national unity of Lebanon (including Christians, Sunnis and Druze).

Which brings me to another observation: the seeming inability of the Western press to provide even the most basic summary of what Nasrallah actually said. The reporting seldom went beyond cherry picking and misrepresenting ("We will attack Tel Aviv..." instead of "We will attack Tel Aviv if central Beirut is hit", etc).

At 8/13/2006 09:01:00 AM, Blogger Ameen Always said...

Good observation, t_disco> I have not viewed the video above, and I hope Landis will take your observation into consideration.

At 8/13/2006 03:29:00 PM, Blogger Ameen Always said...

So called Syrian Nationalist Party:

I noticed that you keep reposting the above disgusting post, and you speak of Jews as if they are all in one basket; at times I feel your hatred to them that is beyond reason. Do you think Jews are different than you or me?

Anyway, your language is not acceptable to most Syrians. Keep religion and racism out of the discussion. Politics may seem to you to be about race, or religion, but this is so only to the superficial people.

So please give us peace, and stop your BS.

At 8/13/2006 04:12:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

UN resolution 1701, is not going to be followed, it is unbelievable that HA after this strong resistance,and show of power,it is not possible to go away,this is not surrender,it is breathing time,HA will rearm,and regain its power more people will volunteer to join it,to think HA will leave the south,and give up its weapons is naive.Isreal must exchange prisoners,gives up Shabaa farm,leaves Lwbanon,or the fight will resume soon.

At 8/13/2006 04:14:00 PM, Blogger Nur-al-Cubicle said...

When are these troglodytes going to learn to post a link to editorials in other publications? Such anti-digital commons behavior!

Prof. Landis, you looked very good, distinguished and with the proper air of gravity. Good show indeed!. Thanks for the link.

Someone asked upthread about Nasrallah and "pushing the zionists into the sea". The quote is at Juan Cole's site, I'm fairly sure.

At 8/13/2006 10:59:00 PM, Blogger True Facts said...

Well Landis, it looks like it's getting quite boring on this blog. I would say time for you to take a fishing trip as someone suggested earlier. There aren't too many takers. Your cheerleading team has been exposed as a bunch of naïve self praising nuts!!! You are fighting a loosing battle ‘my friend’! Some may cheer impressive or more or less realistic. But it is all in the eye of the beholder. I would say it is fair to say one was ridiculous and the other was ludicrous!!! Nick Burns was the only bright spot in all the show with the only intellectually convincing opinion worth listening to!!!

At 8/14/2006 10:37:00 AM, Blogger abu youssef said...

Awww... wassa mattah "True Facts", did your feelings get hurt because you didn't hear the pro-Zionist spew you so readily get from CNN? Don't worry - Charlie Rose is actually on your side. And, like you, he just doesn't know any better.


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