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Saturday, July 15, 2006

International Pressure on Bush


U.S., Needing Options, Finds Its Hands Tied

The administration may yet reconsider its approach in light of the escalating tensions. After all, Ms. Rice has already gone further toward traditional diplomacy than many neoconservatives within the administration would like, by prodding Mr. Bush to offer to join European talks with Iran on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Bush Declines to Call for Israeli Cease-Fire
Other World Leaders Denounce Military Strikes Against Lebanon, Which Seeks U.N. Action

"One can ask oneself whether there isn't a sort of desire to destroy Lebanon," French President Jacques Chirac, who will be among the leaders meeting with Bush here, said in a television interview. "I find, honestly, like most Europeans, that the reactions are completely disproportionate." He added that he also considered Hezbollah guerrillas "completely irresponsible" for firing rockets at Israel.

Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Israel was "making a mistake" in striking Lebanon because "it won't bring anything other than an escalation of violence." The Vatican said it "deplores right now the attack on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation." Jan Egeland, the U.N. humanitarian chief, called Israel's attacks a "violation of international law," adding, "You are supposed to do something to the armed group. You are not supposed to hurt the children of people who have nothing to do with this."

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is hosting the Group of Eight summit, already is moving to put the fighting on the agenda as draft statements were being written. "We will press all the parties to immediately stop the bloodshed," he said.

Ynet: Report: Israel gives Syria ultimatum

London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Hayat says Israel gave Syria 72 hours to stop Hizbullah’s activity, bring about release of kidnapped IDF troops. ‘Israel will not end military activity until new situation created that will prevent Syria, Iran from using terror organizations to threaten its security,’ newspaper quotes Pentagon official as saying

Bush resists pressure on Israel

Mr. Bush called the leaders of Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan to explore ways to end three days of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. Turning aside complaints that Israel is using excessive force, the president rejected a cease-fire plea from Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora.
"The president is not going to make military decisions for Israel," White House spokesman Tony Snow said.
In urging the U.N. Security Council to impose a cease-fire, Lebanese Foreign Ministry official Nouhad Mahmoud said Israel's stepped-up military campaign was aimed at "bringing Lebanon to its knees and subverting it by any means."

Mission imperative
By Victor Davis Hanson
July 15, 2006

Ultimately, the Bush administration needs to do a better job of presenting this current war in a far larger context. Jihadists of the Arab world for decades have been at war not with George Bush alone, but with modernity itself. The radical Middle East street may be fascinated by the Internet, satellite television, ATMs and cell phones -- but not by the foreign anathema of democracies, religious tolerance, free markets and gender equality that ultimately accounts for such goodies.
Here at home, we witness the end of the multicultural dogma. Yes, there are really evil people who wish to kill us for who we are, not what we do -- and they embrace cultural assumptions that are not just different from our own, but, let us be honest enough to admit it, far worse.
So, there are many fronts in our struggle against Islamic terrorists from the seventh century. The American people must be reminded of our challenges constantly in lieu of platitudes about the inevitable triumph of freedom and democracy. In short, our government should provide much more explanation of this complex war and far less simple declarations about it.

A new war, but both sides recall old ones

Artillery, rockets and tanks mass along the border

“This was a very bad gamble,” Alex Fishman of Yedioth Ahronoth wrote of Hezbollah’s attack on Wednesday. “(Israel) is acting as if every valve that had been locked for six years has been released and all restraints are off. Everything is permissible.”

In Maariv, Ben Caspit demanded Churchillian resolve from Israelis facing Hezbollah rockets — about 80 missiles hit Israeli towns yesterday, killing a woman and her five-year-old grandson and wounding more than 40 people,. “Not for naught is a parallel being made here between terminology from the World War Two period, the tenacious British resistance against Hitler’s blitz. This threat must be abolished. Nasrallah must die.”

Radical Shiite Cleric Hints at Militia Attacks to Protest Israel’s Actions

BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 14 — The radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr said Friday that Iraqis would not “sit by with folded hands” while Israel struck at Lebanon, signaling a possible increase in attacks from his mercurial militia, the Mahdi Army.

Readers' Opinions
Forum: The Middle EastIn a written statement, Mr. Sadr also said that he considered the United States culpable in the conflict unfolding in Lebanon, since America was the largest foreign ally of Israel.

Mr. Sadr’s statement was issued at a time of rising tensions between the American military and the Mahdi Army, with American forces carrying out raids against Mahdi hideouts and arresting senior leaders.

American commanders have strongly denounced militias in recent days and have pledged to try to curtail the militias’ death squads, which they say are feeding the spiraling cycles of sectarian violence. Many Sunni Arabs blame the Sadr militia for abductions and killings, including an episode on July 9 in which militiamen seized up to dozens of Sunni Arabs in the Jihad neighborhood of Baghdad and shot them in the head.

“Eyes are shedding tears, and the heart feels pain and sadness for our people in Lebanon due to the bombing, terror and clear aggression that the Zionist enemy conducts and that is shielded by a number of countries, including the United States,” Mr. Sadr said in the statement.

“Let it be known to everybody that we in Iraq will not sit by with folded hands before the creep of Zionism,” the statement continued.

The fury was echoed in a Friday mosque sermon given by a cleric allied with Mr. Sadr, Sheik Asad al-Nasri, to worshipers from the southern holy cities of Kufa and Najaf.

“We address all the arrogant powers of the world, including the United States and Israel, and tell them to realize the true reality and take lessons from history that show that all world powers, no matter how strong they are, prove to be failures and will definitely vanish,” the sheik said...

Syria says fully backs Hizbullah against Israel
"The Syrian people are ready to extend full support to the Lebanese people and their heroic resistance to remain steadfast and confront the barbaric Israeli aggression and its crimes," said a communique from the party's national command issued after a meeting. (Reuters)

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