Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,

Attack ship on fire...

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, gave a speech on Al Mansar television today, declaring that an Israeli navy ship was ablaze off the coast of Beirut.

Here is the full text of his statement, which I am translating from a French translation:

"Dear fellow-citizens, I thank you for your support, your sacrifices and your patience.

For those citizens who are undecided in your actions, you are faced with a hard choice:

1 - To fold and subject ourselves to Zionist domination
2 - To resist.

I promise the victory to you, and remind you that I have never failed in my promises. As for those of you who are Israeli citizens, I know that you will believe me when I say to you that you are directed by incompetent cretins. These leaders have violated the rules of the game, and will have to assume the consequences. I declare open war and you will see that I have the means of pursuing such a war. Our children will not be the only ones to die. Haifa will not just be attacked once, but be attacked repeatedly, and other Israeli cities will be attacked as well. To conclude, I ask you to look at the burning Israeli ship off the coast of Beirut."

So, basically, Hezbollah is more than willing to go to war against Israel, and the choice of the average Lebanese citizen is basically to to submit to Israeli domination or essentially to support Hezbollah. Oh joy. Israel, of course, seems all too willing to accept a conflict and drive the Lebanese people into the arms of their enemies.

Lebanese security sources reported that two rockets had hit the Israeli warship and said that the warship, which had bombed Lebanon earlier in the day, suffered considerable damage. Israel's Haaretz news also reported that the ship was seriously damaged, having been hit by an unmanned drone packed with explosives. It said a fire broke out on board and its steering system was damaged. Al Jazeera television has reported that four Israeli troops were missing at sea, and one Lebanese weblogger reports that their news has since reported that the Israeli gunship has sunk. No pictures to confirm this yet, however. Power is out throughout most of Lebanon at this point.

It has been reported that Israeli IDF ground forces have entered 20 km into southern Lebanon in Haret Hreik, a southern suburb of Beirut. It remains to be seen whether this is merely a probing attack on suspected Hezbollah locations, or part of a more serious ground invasion of Lebanon. In any event, such attacks could easily escalate, if strong local resistance is encountered.

Additional Israeli air and naval artillery strikes poured into Lebanon, killing over 60 people so far, most of whom were clearly civilians. Additional missile strikes into Israel also took place, bringing the death toll so far to 4 Israeli civilians. In addition, approximately 80 Palestinians have died in the Gaza strip, though Israeli forces appear to be withdrawing, at least temporarily.

Israel's effective blockading of Lebanon might come back to haunt them, as it ironically traps hundreds of foriegners -- including many Israeli, U.S., and British civilians -- inside of Lebanon. Stratfor argues rather persuasively that these foriegners would be attractive hostages for Hezbollah under the circumstances, as they could be used as bargaining chips in order to pressure Israel into peace.

The US State Department announced today that Americans in Lebanon should consider leaving when it is safe to do so, but that "Right now ... from the U.S. government perspective, there aren't any reliable ways to get out by air, land or sea." Nevermind the fact that the Bush administration has essentially given a green light to this current state of affairs, thereby endangering hundreds of American civilians.

Oh dear. Maybe we'll have to send in the Marines to protect our citizens... assuming there are any left to send in. And we all remember what happened last time, right?!

Needless to say, things there could get pretty ugly rather quickly.

For some alternative perspectives on the conflict, I recommend watching the latest edition of Mosaic and following their reports as the story unfolds, as it provides a wider perspective on how the Arab world is viewing the attacks.

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