It's a flipping mess
34 youths among 56 dead in Israeli strike. A building in the town of Qana where refugees were seeking shelter from the air raids collapsed after a bombing. Israel now admits that was “a mistake.” The bombing will continue.
Before the airstrike, Olmert told Rice he needed 10-14 days to finish the offensive in Lebanon, according to a senior Israeli government official. The two said they would meet again Sunday evening.”We will not stop this battle, despite the difficult incidents this morning,” Olmert said said during Israel’s weekly Cabinet meeting, according to a participant in the meeting. “We will continue the activity and if necessary it will be broadened without hesitation.”
…”One must understand the Hezbollah is using their own civilian population as human shields,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry official Gideon Meir. “The Israeli defense forces dropped leaflets and warned the civilian population to leave the place because the Hezbollah turned it into a war zone.”
Of course, CNN also reported this AM that many of the residents who are in those basement shelters cannot get out because gas stations have been bombed, roads and bridges out of town are destroyed, and people are afraid of being killed while trying to make an escape. A billion leaflets won’t fix that problem.
Lebanese official tells Condi: ‘don’t bother coming.’ Without a proposal for an immediate ceasefire, Condi’s disinvited. Rice’s statement was that she called Lebanese PM Saniora to postpone her visit; angry Lebanese officials said their government called off the meeting.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said the attack has halted any talks about a resolution to the fighting between Israel and Lebanon-based Hezbollah militia. Siniora also called for an immediate, unconditional cease-fire and an international probe of the attack…A senior Lebanese official said that Lebanese government told Rice not to come.”It is a very bad time to talk today at this very tragic moment,” the official said. He said the priority is to deal with the aftermath of the attack.
And all of this chaos has activated masses still left in Beirut: UN building stormed amid Lebanon rage over Qana.
Angry Lebanese protestors have stormed the building of the United Nations in Beirut, smashing glass doors and hacking at the furniture in rage at Israel’s deadly bombing of homes in Qana.
After the violent protest at UN headquarters, thousands of people — some in tears and others shouting angry slogans — converged from both Christian and Muslim areas of the capital on Riad Solh Square where the building is located. After hearing news of the carnage in Qana which killed 51 people, including 25 children, a group of protestors attacked and briefly occupied the UN House in downtown Beirut where they smashed windows, burned curtains and destroyed furniture.
…A small group of protestors burned an American flag while shouting: “Death to America.”…”Thank you America for your smart bombs, on behalf of our slain children,” read one banner carried by the protestors, most of whom were also raising Lebanese flags. Activists also waved flags of several parties, including the yellow standard of Hezbollah. “Dear (Hassan) Nasrallah, strike Tel Aviv,” they chanted, addressing the head of the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah which has met Israeli attacks with fierce resistance for the past 19 days, firing rockets into northern Israel.
Of course, Israel is going to have a hard time eliminating/controlling/beating back Hezbollah if the militia is spread out among the population, located in civilian dwellings. An interesting interview and report by Kevin Sites shows how weaponry is stored inside houses and fighters await calls to action.
We meet “Hussein” at his home and sit down to talk in his living room, while his four-month-old baby daughter lies on a blanket on the floor. He is in his late 20s and has a calm face. He is polite but has a resolute sense about him that creates a cautious distance. Like many fighters, he says, he has another job and only joins the militia when he’s needed.
…”I have a job to do and if the Israelis want to come inside,” he says, “then we’ll do our job and defend our families.” He shows me what he will use to defend them. In a closet in an adjoining bedroom he reaches into the top shelf and pulls out a green shoulder harness full of ammunition clips.
Then, from the corner of the closet, next to some shirts on hangers, he pulls out an American-made M-16 assault rifle and places it on the mattress in the room next to the ammo belt. He goes back to the closet and from the same corner reaches for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and two canvas shoulder bags. He places these on the bed as well.
I ask if nearly every house in the neighborhood has a stash of small arms like this. “Some have more,” he says, pulling an AK-47 from one of the canvas bags and locking on a 30 round banana clip, named for its banana-like curve. “But the larger weaponry is kept somewhere else.”
This is FUBAR.