Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, May 21, 2007

Picking Up Where Israel Left Off

Don't expect worldwide protestations; there won't be a global tsk-tsk directed at Lebanon for picking up where Israel left off last summer, even though AP, perhaps erroneously, referred to the current attacks by the Lebanese Army on Fatah Islam as "the worst eruption of violence since the end of the 1975-90 civil war."

Does that mean the shelling of the Palestinian refugee camp outside Tripoli was more intense than the Israeli military assaults last summer? Hmm. Whatever; it was intense:

Hundreds of Lebanese army troops, backed by tanks and armored carriers, surrounded the refugee camp Monday. M-48 battle tanks unleashed their cannon fire on the camp, sending orange flames followed by dense black plumes of smoke. The militants fired mortars toward the troops at daybreak.

An army officer at the front line said troops directed concentrated fire at buildings known to house militants in the camp. He said troops also had orders to strike hard at any target that directed fire back at them.

"Everything we know that they were present in has been targeted," he told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

The strikes against the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp are, in fact, strikes against Syria:
On Sunday, Fatah Islam's spokesman in Nahr el-Bared, Abu Salim, would not say whether the group was linked to al-Qaida but claimed its aim was to liberate Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, one of Islam's holiest sites, and to protect Sunnis.

"We are a Jihadi movement, and we have hoisted the banner of Islam,'' he told a local TV station -- language often used by militant groups associated with al-Qaida.

But Lebanon's national police commander, Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi, denied Fatah Islam's al-Qaida links, saying it was a Syrian-bred group.

"Perhaps there are some deluded people among them but they are not al-Qaida. This is imitation al-Qaida, a 'Made in Syria' one,'' he told The Associated Press.

Lebanese security officials said Fatah Islam split last year from the Syria-based Fatah Uprising, itself a 1980s splinter of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's mainstream Fatah. But they say the alleged split from Fatah Uprising was only a cover and that they are part of the Syrian intelligence security. ( emphasis added)
It's interesting that the Lebanese, who can't take the fight directly to Syria, also apparently do not have authority to enter the Palestinian camps on their own soil; that authority was ceded to the Palestinians. Welcome to "self-governing," Palestinian style.

The base problem, of course, is that there are Palestinian refugee camps anyway. Had Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and other Arab nations allowed the Palestinians to assimilate 50 years ago, they wouldn't be shelling camps today. And they wouldn't be getting this kind of criticism:

Ahmed Methqal, a Muslim cleric in the camp, told Al-Jazeera that five civilians had been killed.

"You can say there is a massacre going on in the camp of children and women who have nothing to do with Fatah Islam," he said. "They are targeting buildings, with people in them. What's the guilt of children, women and the elderly?"

Sound familiar? No matter who attacks them, the Lebanese, the Israelis, the Martians, it's the Palestinians who are always the suffering victims. If there were as many "massacres" as they say there are, how come there are any Palestinians left?

If they're not going to police themselves, someone will have to do the policing for them. The Lebanese Army has squished a few cockroaches; many more scurried into the dark shadows. Soon, they'll attack with bombs on buses and cafes and raids to capture Lebanese soldiers who will then be mutilated as cameras roll, so the tapes can be aired on Al Jaz.

Vermin are vermin, no matter who's trying to stomp them out.

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