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A picture is worth a thousand words sometimes

The picture on top of this New York Times story about Iran’s reaction to the conflict in Lebanon demonstrates the problem.

It also distracts from the story itself, which is pretty interesting in the way it describes how many hopes, and fears, the Iranian regime has invested in Hezbollah.

Its fears are about the military damage that Hezbollah is sustaining under the weight of Israel’s attack. That is something that is totally speculative, as we don’t have any way to assess it. However given the weight of fire that northern Israel is under at the moment, it is quite possible that Hezbollah is being weakened quite considerably by the sheer volume of munitions that it is expending.

I am not a military person at all, but I cannot help but wonder what the military situation might be like if Hezbollah used its rocket artillery strictly against military targets.

Be that as it may, Iran feels that it is benefiting from the increased prestige that Hezbollah is getting from Arab populations, which normally would be denied it for sectarian differences. It is a moot point how well that prestige will last when the fighting stops and Hezbollah has to account for its actions to the rest of the Lebanese community, which is by no means pleased with what Hezbollah has done.

But I still can not get over that image from the streets of Tehran.

11 comments to A picture is worth a thousand words sometimes

  • TD

    This NYT article, as well as the anticipation in Iran for a fight, will please Israel and Washington. This is because their grand strategy is to draw Syria into this fight first, then hopefully Iran – and then to finish them off. The more the arab and persian streets expect, the more their leaders will have to deliver. The pressure on both Baby Assad and Asmadasahatter to act must be huge. Israel and Washington will be hoping that they do and are well prepared for thie eventuality.

    But firstly, we can forget Hizbollah. They have fought valiantly but are being brought down. Not that the MSM would have you believe it. In the Iraq war, I learned that the truth was the opposite of what the MSM reported. Same applies here. I watched an hilarious Channel 4 news tonight, which gave the standard MSM line that Hizbollah is winning, Israel is a pariah state that will be subject to war crimes, that Nasrallah has huge support in Lebanon etc – basically, that Israel is a foolish state that has overstretched itself.

    Sorry, but nothing could be further from the truth. Dont get to be the most feared armed force in the region, let alone the world, for nothing. Hizbollah is being soundly defeated by land, air and sea in a classic military operation – they are pinned down, with little support and being killed in large numbers. Nasrallah is hidden somewhere with a cellphone and will be killed also. Israel has the official support of the only country that matters – the USA – with the unofficial backing of most arab states, as well as most western powers. So Hizbollah is almost ancient history. Just dont tell the BBC – OK?

    OK now the bigger picture. The Americans and Israelis have been intimately preparing for the opportunity to bring down Syria and Iran. That moment has come. By directly attacking their proxy in Lebanon, Israel (and the USA) present Assad and the mullahs with a strategic dilemma – do we engage and lose (which they will)? Or do we stay out of it and watch Hizbollah get humiliated in front of the world? Israel and America have bet they will engage.

    The signs are good. Tonight Assad is on the TV saying that he wont stand by and let the Lebanese suffer and has placed Syria’s defence forces on high alert. The Iranians are full of sound and fury. This is perfect for Israel.

    The first part of the strategy is to draw Syria in to the fight. Assad’s inexperience suggests he might be tempted to act rashly. Any aggressive move by Syria will result in them being smashed – no army, no air force, nada. The hope is that with Syria being defeated, Iran will come in – providing the pretext for the Americans to destroy the mulah’s power base. Suddenly the Iraq venture is being seen in its proper strategic light, as it has split Syria and Iran from each other, isolating both and making it easier to pin each down and finish them off.

    Assad has been playing the arab street and is steadily losing face doing nothing while Hizbollah is slowly being crushed. Sooner or later – probably sooner – Hiz will run out of rockets and men. That much is certain. If Baby Assad is smart, he will stay out of the conflict and accept the loss of Lebanon and his proxy. But he aint smart and therefore I expect he will fall straight into Israel’s hands. I expect that Iran will then come in using their mutual defence pact. BOOM – the Americans will act and noone will come to the mullah’s support. Slice and dice time.

    35,000 IDF troops are now on the border and more are being called up. Expect a sudden invasion and thrust to the Bekaa valley in the next few days, right under Syria’s nose. If the war widens, as it will, the outcome is certain but it will be very bloody indeed, with WMD being fired into Israel. Israel would be prepared to lose many thousands of people to survive, but they have also stationed hundreds of anti-missile systems that may destroy a WMD tipped missile.

    Endgame? Syria and Iran will be neutralised as threats, paving the way for a new mid-east.

  • Julian Morrison

    They can’t use their artillery against military targets in any systematic sort of way. They don’t have the luxury of weapons that can be targetted more precisely than “roughly thataway”.

  • Eric Blair

    @TD: What exactly are you expecting the Americans to do if the Iranians ‘come in’?

    The US Army is sitting on top of (a probable Iranian stoked) civil war in Baghdad right now. What do you think will happen if the Iranians decide to lob missles at Israel and the Israelis reply?

    What are the Americans going to do? Bomb Iran? Where? The nuke facilities? Iranian oil refineries? Oil fields?

    I don’t see this as being particularly rosy here.

  • Ari


    I think you have it wrong. Hezbollah is currently winning. The fact that it has taken as long as it has for the IDF to nuetralize Hezbollah makes them look like great warriors in the eyes of many of the Arabs and Iranians. Compounding Israel’s trouble to date is the PR debacle of civilians deaths due to insidious Hezbollah tactics. Now many Lebanese that were not Israel haters have sided with Hezbollah.

    Ultimately, Israels will and might has the ability to crush Hezbollah but my concern is that it might be a pyhric victory, meaning the battle is won but they lose ground in the overall war.

    Also, I don’t believe Syria will jump in. They will get crushed if they do. The international community will step in and force a cease fire before it gets that far.

    God help us all if Iran get’s nukes!

  • Paul Marks

    I hope that TD is correct, but at this stage it does not matter if he (if TD is a he) is not correct.

    Perhaps (as Dale suggested) Israel should have just sat there and let the Hez attack and attack (in the hope that the Hez would gradually lose support in Lebanon).

    However, once the war has started it is too late to suggest that. Any stop to the war, before pushing the enemy out of the area, would indeed be seen as a victory for the Hez (and for Iran) – regardless of the kill ratio during the fighting.

    Like Iraq – once the war has started it is too late to say “I would not start from here”, it is a matter of winning the war.

    Whether the war is easy to win or hard to win does not alter the fact that it must be won.

    As for “unwinnable wars” that is a media invention based on Vietnam (a war that L.B.J. and his people did not want won – indeed “victory” was a dirty concept to them).

    As for civilians: A great mistake in previous counter attacks by Israel (it must be remembered that all operations, including that of 1982, were in response to a long series of attacks) was to leave many civilians in place.

    This both gave the Hez (and others) dead babies to wave about, and gave them civilians to hide behind (hence the dead babies).

    If the Hez is not going to be destroyed (but just pushed out of the south) then civilians should be pushed out of the kill zone (i.e. the area from which missiles can be, and have been for many years, fired into norther Israel) and not allowed back (otherwise the Hez and others will have a population to sneak back to and hide in).

    Of course Jewish people should not be allowed to settle in the area.

    It should be kept empty (of humans), so that everybody knows that anyone who enters the area (to fire a missile or whatever) is a legitimate target.

    Contrary to the media, the vast majority of the Christian population of the south has already been pushed out or killed (by the Muslims) since the 1970’s. There are still Christian villages – but not many of them, so financing new lives for these Christians in the Christian part of Lebanon (or in other nations) would not be a major problem.

    Some Christians in the past have tried making friends with groups like the Hez, but after they have been used (for example to give information about Israel) the various Muslim groups have normally elminated their few Christian friends.

    The Muslim population of the area (according to the B.B.C. and the rest of the media) support the Hez – i..e they not only support the destruction of Israel, but the extermination or enslavment of the entire nonIslamic world. So their friends in Iran can give them new lives (or not).

    Of course if the Hez is destroyed (rather than just defeated) then civilians could be allowed back into the zone.

    Relying on a “multinational force” to keep the Hez out of the south (whilst leaving a civilian population in place) does not seem sensible.

  • Paul Marks: Relying on a “multinational force” to keep the Hez out of the south (whilst leaving a civilian population in place) does not seem sensible.

    I totally agree. It failed already. Was it true that the 4 UN deaths were linked to a Hezb launcher operating for hours 3m away from the outpost? Someone tell me this was a lie.

    All these UN and other interventions and schemes are just as moonbat as people who bleat about civilian deaths. What we keep seeing is a series of “new ideas” about somehow re-designing how a war or armed conflict “must function” just as people “redesigned” housing and “redesigned” education to fit into their ideological unreason.

    It is irrational to expect ANY force to “avoid” deaths. That woudl mean, simply, ZERO action from Isreal as Hezb could just place their launchers on a hospital roof and be immune. Oh, sorry, forgot, thats what people who spin up this sort of “argument” want – zero action by Israel but a free hand for the Hezb OR condemnation of Israel. Neat. Was it true that Hezb prevented people leaving the bunker or invited them in? Someone tell me that was a lie too. Please.

    Regardless I see this as all a smokescreen, not just for Iran’s nukes, but because Abbas almost got agreement from Hamas for a referrendum to accept a 2 state solution. Now THAT would have pulled the Persian rug from under all the jihadists – the people of Palestine accepting the State of Israel??? Why, that would mean….everyone stops playing soldiers, goes home and becomes a man again. Outrageous!

  • CrazyHorse

    “But I still can not get over that image from the streets of Tehran”

    I don’t think that’s anything compared to the future images to come. With the United States bogged down in Iraq and civil war raging the whole region is becoming unglued. I’ve been a serious student of the Middle East for 26 years. Does anybody really think Hezbollah’s capture of a couple of IDF troops lit this fuse? No, now it’s Zealot v/s Zealot ( Zealot is a Hebrew word). The only problem is that we are not talking about a conventional war here, but rather a protracted struggle where both sides use terror only hardens the others resolve and willingness to use more terror. The reality is that there is 1.3 billion Moslems in the world, believe me when I say that Osama has been dreaming of this scenario and the US and Israel are the ‘tar babys’. Don’t think for a second that the US will put troops on the ground in Iran, Don’t have any, and a draft ain’t going to happen. It dosn’t matter anymore who is to blame, there’s plenty of that to go around, and it’s time to pay the reaper. The US and Israel can bomb the crap out of the ‘state sponsered terrorists’ but the outcomes of such actions will be cause the terrorists to did deeper.
    The US dropped bomb more tonnage on Vietnam than it did on all the Axis Armys in WWII. Hell of a lot of good that did, in hindsight. To the cost millions of Vietnamese dead, 57,000 Americans KIA, 300,000 wounded, loss of treasure, political good will, and a divided country. Hell, the Vietnamese are ‘uber’ capitalist’s now.
    FYI, I am very familiar with Katusha rockets the Vietnamese used them, very inaccurate +/_ .6 of a klick, easy to spot, thus take out, useless to take out ‘military targets’. A 60-80mm morter is far more deadly.
    Crazy Horse

  • Totally agree with TD. For a deeper anaysis of why it will happen:

    It is unfolding just as I predicted.

  • Crazy Horse,

    The bogged down in Iraq is a come on. Weakness invites attack. The tactical defensive is the strongest position. The “weakness” is disinformation.

    In any case Iran and Syria are defeated. It is all over but the shooting.

  • CrazyHorse

    “It is all over but the shooting”

    “weakness” is disinformation”

    Where have I heard that before?…..LOL

    WW1: We’ll be home for Christmas

    Vietnam: take us six months to whip ‘VC’ ass

    Iran/Iraq war: Saddam ” this will be over in two weeks”

    2nd Gulf War: 2003 “Mission acomplished” our C&C

    Ah! Orwell would be proud. Since your from the ‘Land Down Under’ I guess I should expect that perspective…lol

    Fought and trained with the Aussies, ‘Magnificent Bastards’…..and balls to the wall insane

    Scott, I stopped beliveing anything any goverment told me a lond time ago. No end to the humor/pathos,since. Well let’s sit back and see how this plays out. I don’t need to be right, ‘I jus calls it, as I sees it’.

  • Paul Marks

    Crazy Horse when were the U.S. military given six months to defeat the V.C. (actually the N.V.A. were more important – if a clear line can be drawn between them).

    The U.S. military was never given six seconds without the regulations from Washington (the control by Bob from Ford and people like him) let alone “six months”.

    As for bombing – if the bombing is “you can bomb today but not tomorrow” or “you can bomb here but not here” then it is a joke – no matter how much explosive is used.

    Both Westmoreland and Sharpe should have resigned and gone public with Washinton’s fantasy war.

    And (as people have pointed out from Ike onwards) any defence of the Republic of Vietnam must include large land forces in Laos (to cut enemy supply lines), Air Power and Special Forces can not do the job on thir own. And, unlike Korea, Vietnam did not have sea on its western flank.

    As for Saddam – he was defeated in two weeks.

    “Mission Acomplished” that was the idea of General Franks (see his autobiography) and it was right in its own terms (although politically it was a mistake).

    “But the locals are still killing each other” – the locals have been killing each other for centuries, so your point is?

    As for Israel: the Israeli military could defeat the Hez if they are allowed to do so.

    However, the consequences of political game playing could be far worse than they were for the United States in Vietnam.

    The United States could afford to fail in a mission thousands of miles away (the mission to protect the Republic of Vietnam and noncommunists in Indo China generally) – although the conseqences of, politically created, failure were terrible (boat people, Year Zero and so on).

    Israel can not afford to be defeated by the Hez. The military must make that very plain to the politicians.

    If the political leadership refuse to allow victory then senior officers should resign – which would force a general election.

    A government that brought such humilation upon Israel (inviting a general Muslim attack by showing weakness) must not be allowed to remain in office.

    The voters must be told the truth and then allowed to make their choice.

    Of course the voters could choose “peace” (i.e. extermination, the peace of the dead). Then (sooner than most people think) Israel would be destroyed by the Muslims – although some Jews might survive to come to the United States.