Posted tagged ‘civilian casualties’

World Shrugs as Hizballah Prepares Massive Civilian Deaths

March 21, 2017

World Shrugs as Hizballah Prepares Massive Civilian Deaths, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Noah Beck, March 21, 2017

Like the terror group Hamas, Hizballah knows that civilian deaths at the hands of Israel are a strategic asset, because they produce diplomatic pressure to limit Israel’s military response. Hizballah reportedly went so far as offering reduced-price housing to Shiite families who allowed the terrorist group to store rocket launchers in their homes.

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Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently warned Israel that his Iran-backed terror group could attack targets producing mass Israeli casualties, including a huge ammonia storage tank in Haifa, and a nuclear reactor in Dimona.

Also last month, Tower Magazine reported that, since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, Iran provided Hizballah with a vast supply of “game-changing,” state-of-the art weapons, despite Israel’s occasional airstrikes against weapons convoys.

In a future conflict, Hizballah has the capacity to fire 1,500 rockets into Israel each day, overwhelming Israel’s missile defense systems. Should such a scenario materialize, Israel will be forced to respond with unprecedented firepower to defend its own civilians.

Hizballah’s advanced weapons and the systems needed to launch them reportedly are embedded across a staggering 10,000 locations in the heart of more than 200 civilian towns and villages. The Israeli military has openly warned about this Hizballah war crime and the grave threats it poses to both sides, but that alarm generated almost no attention from the global media, the United Nations, or other international institutions.

Like the terror group Hamas, Hizballah knows that civilian deaths at the hands of Israel are a strategic asset, because they produce diplomatic pressure to limit Israel’s military response. Hizballah reportedly went so far as offering reduced-price housing to Shiite families who allowed the terrorist group to store rocket launchers in their homes.

But if the global media, the UN, human rights organizations, and other international institutions predictably pounce on Israel after it causes civilian casualties, why are they doing nothing to prevent them? Hizballah’s very presence in southern Lebanon is a flagrant violation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1701, which called for the area to be a zone “free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons” other than the Lebanese military and the U.N. Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

The resolution also required Hizballah to be disarmed, but the terror group today has an arsenal that rivals that of most armies. Hizballah possesses an estimated 140,000 missiles and rockets, and reportedly now can manufacture advanced weapons in underground factories that are impervious to aerial attack.

“Israel must stress again and again, before it happens, that these villages [storing Hizballah weapons] have become military posts, and are therefore legitimate targets,” said Yoram Schweitzer, senior research fellow at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).

Meir Litvak, director of Tel Aviv University’s Alliance Center for Iranian Studies, agrees, adding that global attention would “expose Hizballah’s hypocrisy in its cynical use of civilians as… human shields.”

Even a concerted campaign to showcase Hizballah’s war preparation is unlikely to change things, said Eyal Zisser, a senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. Hizballah exploits the fact that “the international community is too busy and…weak to do something about it,” Zisser said. All of “these talks and reports have no meaning. See what is happening in Syria.”

Israel has targeted Hizballah-bound weapons caches in Syria twice during the past week. Syria responded last Friday by firing a missile carrying 200 kilograms of explosives, which Israel successfully intercepted.

If Hizballah provokes a war, Israel can legitimately attack civilian areas storing Hizballah arms if the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) first attempts to warn the targeted civilians to leave those areas, Litvak said. But “it will certainly be very difficult and will look bad on TV.”

While Sunni Arab states are generally united against the Shiite Iranian-Hizballah axis, Litvak, Zisser, and Schweitzer all agreed that Israel could hope for no more than silent support from them when the missiles fly.

Indeed, the “Sunni Arab street” is likely to be inflamed by the images of civilian death and destruction caused by Israel that international media will inevitably broadcast, further limiting support for Israel from Iran’s Sunni state foes.

Rather perversely, the Lebanese government has embraced the very terrorist organization that could cause hundreds of thousands of Lebanese civilian deaths by converting residential areas into war zones. “As long as Israel occupies land and covets the natural resources of Lebanon, and as long as the Lebanese military lacks the power to stand up to Israel, [Hizballah’s] arms are essential, in that they complement the actions of the army and do not contradict them,” President Michel Aoun told Egyptian television last month. Hizballah, he said, “has a complementary role to the Lebanese army.”

Aoun’s declaration means that Lebanon “takes full responsibility for all of Hizballah’s actions, including against Israel, and for their consequences to Lebanon and its entire population, even though the Lebanese government has little ability to actually control the organization’s decisions or policy,” said INSS Senior Research Fellow Assaf Orion.

MK Naftali Bennett, a veteran of Israel’s 2006 war with Hizballah, believes that Lebanon’s official acceptance of Hizballah and its policy of embedding military assets inside residential areas removes any constraints on Israeli targeting of civilian areas. “The Lebanese institutions, its infrastructure, airport, power stations, traffic junctions, Lebanese Army bases – they should all be legitimate targets if a war breaks out,” he said. “That’s what we should already be saying to them and the world now.”

In a future war, Hizballah is certain to try bombarding Israeli civilian communities with missile barrages. Israel, in response, will have to target missile launchers and weapons caches surrounded by Lebanese civilians.

But it need not be so. Global attention on Hizballah’s abuses by journalists and diplomats could lead to international pressure that ultimately reduces or even prevents civilian deaths.

Those truly concerned about civilians do not have a difficult case to make. Hizballah has shown a callous disregard for innocent life in Syria.

It helped the Syrian regime violently suppress largely peaceful protests that preceded the Syrian civil war in 2011. Last April, Hizballah and Syrian army troops reportedly killed civilians attempting to flee the Sunni-populated town of Madaya, near the Lebanese border. In 2008, its fighters seized control of several West Beirut neighborhoods and killed innocent civilians after the Lebanese government moved to shut down Hizballah’s telecommunication network.

Hizballah terrorism has claimed civilian lives for decades, including a 1994 suicide bombing at Argentina’s main Jewish center that killed 85 people . As the IDF notes, “Since 1982, hundreds of innocent civilians have lost their lives and thousands more have been injured thanks to Hizballah.”

If world powers and the international media genuinely care about avoiding civilian casualties, they should be loudly condemning Hizballah’s ongoing efforts – in flagrant violation of a UN resolution – to cause massive civilian death and destruction in Lebanon’s next war with Israel.

Iran-Backed Rebels Use Hospitals as Human Shields

August 10, 2016

Iran-Backed Rebels Use Hospitals as Human Shields, Gatestone InstituteCon Coughlin, August 10, 2016

The revelation that Iranian-backed Houthi rebels are deliberately using civilian institutions for their war effort inevitably will draw comparisons with the tactics used by other radical Islamist groups such Hamas, which regularly uses institutions such as hospitals to launch attacks against Israel.

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♦ “While the West urges the Saudi-led coalition to use all means possible to avoid civilian casualties, we must also be aware of the tactics the Iranian-backed rebels are using as part of a deliberate policy to discredit the coalition war effort.” — Senior Western official.

♦ Iranian-backed Houthi rebels are using hospitals as military command posts, thereby deliberately putting the lives of innocent civilians at risk, according to a new report into Yemen’s long-running civil war.

Hostilities in the Yemeni conflict resumed at the weekend following the collapse of peace talks in Kuwait. The talks came after Houthi fighters, who are backed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards, rejected a U.N.-sponsored peace plan and announced the establishment of a 10-member governing body to run the country.

Within hours of the peace talks ending, the Saudi-led military coalition, which is backed by both the U.S. and Britain, had resumed air strikes against Houthi rebel positions in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a. Initial reports said that at least 21 people, the majority of them civilians, had been killed, including a number of workers in a potato chip factory in Sana’a. In addition, the international airport at Sana’a was shut down by the airstrikes after Saudi coalition officials notified airlines that incoming flights would be barred for 72 hours.

1774A factory in Sana’a, Yemen, burns after an airstrike on August 9, 2016. (Image source: Al Jazeera video screenshot)

It is the first time in five months that Sana’a has been bombed by warplanes from the coalition, which also includes the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Sudan and other Middle East countries.

Human rights groups, which have repeatedly raised concerns about the high number of civilian casualties, will be particularly concerned by the resumption of hostilities. The U.S.-backed Saudi coalition is seeking to restore the democratically-elected government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, who was forced to flee Sana’a in February by Houthi rebels. The Houthis are being supported by elite units from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). More than 6,000 people have been killed in the civil war, including around 3,000 civilians.

Both sides in the conflict have been accused of causing unnecessary civilian casualties, with the Saudis, who have suffered significant casualties of their own, being singled out for particular censure over the way they have conducted coalition air strikes.

But an investigation conducted by coalition officials into claims that Saudi warplanes have directly targeted civilians found that the air strikes had been justified, because the Iranian-backed rebels had been using civilian institutions, such as hospitals, as command posts to launch attacks against coalition forces and their allies.

A report issued earlier this week by the coalition’s Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) refuted earlier claims by the French-based charity, Doctors Without Borders, that the Saudi coalition had deliberately caused civilian deaths by bombing Haiden Hospital in Yemen’s Saada province. Instead, investigators found that at the time of the attack, Houthi rebels were occupying the hospital, making it a legitimate target.

In all, JIAT investigated eight high-profile bombings where the UN or humanitarian organisations have accused the coalition of killing civilians or bombing hospitals and humanitarian structures. In each case, it concluded that all “safety procedures implemented by coalition forces adhered to international humanitarian law.”

The revelation that Iranian-backed Houthi rebels are deliberately using civilian institutions for their war effort inevitably will draw comparisons with the tactics used by other radical Islamist groups such Hamas, which regularly uses institutions such as hospitals to launch attacks against Israel.

“It is clear that the tactics used by the Houthis, where they are using places like hospitals for their military campaign, has contributed significantly to the heavy civilian death toll,” said a senior Western official. “While the West urges the Saudi-led coalition to use all means possible to avoid civilian casualties, we must also be aware of the tactics the Iranian-backed rebels are using as part of a deliberate policy to discredit the coalition war effort.”

Iran and Israel, compare and contrast

November 8, 2014

Iran and Israel, compare and contrast, Power LineJohn Hinderaker, November 7, 2014

As Scott noted earlier today, the Obama administration’s warm attitude toward Iran’s mullahs has been in the news. Its view of Israel, on the other hand, is much chillier.

Last night, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave a talk in which he lauded Israel’s avoidance of civilian casualties during the recent Gaza conflict, and stated that the U.S. military has sent a team of experts to Israel to study best practices in that regard. Via Yid With Lid:

I actually do think that Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties. In fact, about 3 months ago we sent, we asked [IDF Chief of Staff] Benny [Gantz] if we could send a lessons learned team – one of the things we do better than anybody I think is learn – and we sent a team of senior officers and non-commissioned officers over to work with the IDF to get the lessons from that particular operation in Gaza. To include the measures they took to prevent civilian casualties and what they did with tunneling….

But they did some extraordinary things to try to limit civilian casualties to include calling out, making it known that they were going to destroy a particular structure. Even developed some techniques, they call it roof knocking, to have something knock on the roof, they would display leaflets to warn citizens and population to move away from where these tunnels. But look, in this kind of conflict, where you are held to a standard that your enemy is not held to, you’re going to be criticized for civilian casualties. So I think if Benny were sitting here right now he would say to you we did everything we could and now we’ve learned from that mission and we think there are some other things we could do in the future and we will do those. The IDF is not interested in creating civilian casualties, they’re interested in stopping the shooting of rockets and missiles, out of the Gaza Strip and in to Israel, and its an incredibly difficult environment, and I can say to you with confidence that I think that they acted responsibly.

So today a reporter asked State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki whether the Department agrees with General Dempsey’s assessment. Psaki parroted the Obama administration line: Israel should have done more. Here she is:

What that “more” might be is, of course, unspecified; nor is there any suggestion that Hamas and Fatah should have done more to stop the firing of rockets at Israeli civilians. But of course, civilian casualties are a greater or lesser issue, depending on which administration is under discussion. Just yesterday, a reporter asked Ms. Psaki about reports that civilians had been killed in a U.S. drone strike. Her answer, in essence: Hey, we’re doing the best we can:

QUESTION: Do you have any confirmation of reports that any civilians were killed in these – this latest round of strikes?

MS. PSAKI: Well, as you know, this is – any reports of civilian casualties we take very seriously. The Department of Defense looks into that. We understand that there have been reports from activists alleging that civilian casualties occurred. I’ll just reiterate that no other military in the world works as hard as we do to be precise and avoid civilian casualties. But while we strive to avoid them, when any allegation is presented we investigate it fully and strive to learn from it as to avoid it in the future. So that would, of course, be under the Department of Defense.

QUESTION: Yes.

MS. PSAKI: Asia?

QUESTION: Yes.

QUESTION: Wait. No other military in the world –

QUESTION [SIC]: Other than Israel.

QUESTION: Yeah, exactly. I seem to recall the Israelis saying this – the same thing. You think you’re better at it than the Israelis are?

MS. PSAKI: We think we hold ourselves to a high standard, and we continue – encourage all countries to do the same.

Michael Ramirez gets the last word. Click to enlarge:

RAMclr-110514-netanyahu-WS-wide.gif.cms_

Obama’s Peace Process for Iraq, Syria and the Islamic State begins [Caution: includes satire]

October 2, 2014

Obama’s Peace Process for Iraq, Syria and the Islamic State begins [Caution: includes satire], Dan Miller’s Blog, October 2, 2015

Obama was heard to remark during a recent presidential golf game,

“Israel is a terrorist war criminal. It won’t even yield to my reasonable demands for a two state solution with my beloved Palestinians, whose children and other innocent civilians it relishes murdering. However, Iraq, Syria, ISIL, etc. are humanitarians and will recognize that I am like them, as I lead them to peace through the Light of My true wisdom and greatness.”

FINALLY, He has a plan!

His best plan yet!

Obama functions at His very best with no intelligence. Intelligence would imperil His domestic and foreign priorities and perhaps even His brilliant world view.

I don’t think the problem is Obama’s inattentiveness. It’s not the demands of his golf game. It’s not his incessant fundraising. It’s his worldview. [Not satire.]

(The video is not satire)

The first Peace Process phase

In Iraq and now in Syria, Obama is trying to appear less humanitarian. It’s the initial focus of His Peace Process (PP), through which He plans to arrange a three state solution among the Non-Islamic Islamic State, its cohorts, friends and associates, Iraq and Syria. During His initial PP phase, He intends to gain credibility with and empathy from the Islamic State, et al. Accordingly, He has lifted His rules of engagement, previously intended to minimize civilian casualties, when striking forces of the Islamic State, et al.

The White House revealed on Tuesday that its usually strict rules of engagement, intended to prevent civilian casualties of US airstrikes, have been relaxed in the current offensive against the Islamic State and other radical Islamist groups. [Emphasis added.]

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told Yahoo News in an email that a much-publicized statement last year by President Barack Obama that US drone strikes would only be carried out if there is a “near certainty” of no civilian injuries would not apply to the US campaign against jihadi forces in Syria and Iraq.

Hayden wrote that the “near certainty” rule was intended “only when we take direct action ‘outside areas of active hostilities,’ as we noted at the time.

“That description — outside areas of active hostilities — simply does not fit what we are seeing on the ground in Iraq and Syria right now,” she continued, but added that the strikes, “like all US military operations, are being conducted consistently with the laws of armed conflict, proportionality and distinction.”

The statement came after reports that a dozen civilians, including women and children, were killed on September 23 after an errant Tomahawk cruise missile hit a house in the village of Kafr Daryan, in Syria’s Idlib province, believed to be a stronghold of al-Qaeda-linked militants. [Emphasis added.]

In a briefing to the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week, Syrian rebel commanders described scenes of devastation as the bodies of women and children were pulled from the beneath the rubble of the destroyed building, which was apparently being used as a shelter for displaced civilians. [Emphasis added.] [Not satire.]

It’s His most clever strategy yet, and only Obama could devise it: by showing the Islamic State, et al, that He agrees with their strategy of maximizing casualties, both combatant and civilian, Obama will easily convince them of the benefits of the true peace and security His PP will provide.

When asked whether, during the next Gazan conflagration, Israel should adopt His modified rules of engagement, Obama was heard to mumble at the 15th hole, “That’s entirely different. Hamas does not threaten My popularity in My country.” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki hinted at much the same in August:

US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki delivered an unusually strong condemnation of an Israeli strike near a Gaza school being used as a shelter in Rafah, saying that the US was “appalled” by the “disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school. [Emphasis added.]

The shelling, which left 10 people dead according to Palestinian reports, drew harsh condemnations worldwide, including from the United Nations, London and elsewhere, amid growing international criticism of the 27-day-long operation. [Emphasis added.]

The IDF issued a statement saying that forces had targeted three Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists on board a motorcycle in vicinity of an UNRWA school in Rafah, and added that “the IDF is reviewing the consequences of this strike.”

However, the US said that the presence of combatants did not justify targeting areas near the school. [Emphasis added.]

. . . .

Before the reports of the latest strike came in, senior White House adviser and Obama confidant Valerie Jarrett addressed the ongoing violence on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday morning.

Describing the conflict as “a devastating situation,” Jarrett asserted that “Israel absolutely has the right to defend itself, and we are Israel’s staunchest ally.”

At the same time, she added that “you also can’t condone the killing of all of these innocent children,” referring to the hundreds of civilian casualties reported in Gaza over the course of the past three weeks. [Emphasis added.] [Not satire.]

Neither Psaki nor Jarrett mentioned Obama’s popularity at home expressly. However, increasing civilian (mainly Muslim) casualties in Iraq and Syria, and demanding that Israel do even more to engage in strictly proportionate kinetic actions against Hamas Islamists, are both calculated to increase Obama’s popularity at home. This twofer is consistent with an address prepared for Him by my confidential White House informant, The Really Honorable I.M. Totus:

Israel’s actions have been disgracefully disproportionate and must stop. If they do not cease before I leave for my much needed family vacation at Martha’s Vineyard on August 9th, my red line will have been crossed and upon my return I may issue an Angry Executive Decree chastising Israel. Here is what Israel has done and what it must stop doing:

Israel has used WMDs (Weapons Minimizing Death and Destruction) including “Iron Dome,” warning sirens and shelters to thwart missile attacks. The Palestinians in Gaza have no even remotely comparable WMDs: They have no Iron Domes, their tunnels — clearly dug as air-raid shelters — have been destroyed maliciously and their air-raid sirens often can not be used due to Israel’s inhumane refusal to furnish electricity. They are therefore forced to use civilians, including small children, to guard their missile sites. They do so in the forlorn hope that Israel will take pity on them and refrain from attacking. Merciless Israel continues to attack, wantonly and intentionally wasting the precious lives of many innocent Palestinians. [Emphasis added.] [Satire.]

Second PP phase

Unlike the Obama Nation and its splendid coalition of the unwilling, the Islamic State, et al, have no aircraft. Nor have they any WMDs comparable to the Iron Dome used by wickedly ferocious Israel. Despite that, airstrikes have done little to diminish their effectiveness.

As of Tuesday, the U.S. and its coalition partners had conducted nearly 310 air attacks on Islamic terrorist targets, more than 230 in Iraq and 76 in Syria, a Pentagon spokesman said.

And while the air campaign has forced the terrorists to change their tactics, “We still believe ISIL remains a very potent force,” Admiral John Kirby told reporters on Tuesday. [Emphasis added.]

“Yes, they’ve changed some of their tactics, there’s absolutely no question about that, in response to the pressure that we put them under, but that doesn’t make them less dangerous or less potent over time,” Kirby said. [Emphasis added.] [Not satire.]

Accordingly, during the second phase of His PP strategy, Obama will cease all air strikes. He will also require Iraqi, coalition and any U.S. boots on the ground to use only stolen or abandoned weapons, ammunition and vehicles. As the photo provided below clearly shows, Islamic State, et al, forces have little more than rocks for weapons and that is not fair. Neither is forcing them to steal the few they do have, vigorously punished under Sharia law.

islamic-state-stoning-from-dabiq-magazine-ip_0 (1)

Additionally, all lethal weapons heretofore provided to those fighting disproportionately will now be provided only to the Islamic State, et al. Obama will make it perfectly clear that, in return, non-Islamic freedom fighters must read their rights under Sharia law (to be drafted by Attorney General Holder) to all whom they intend to execute. If convenient, the notification must be read in languages they are believed able to understand.

These steps will level the playing field and help the non-Islamic Islamic State, et al, to understand that Obama is the Messiah of true Peace, Virtue and Understanding based on true Islamic values under Sharia law, as recently articulated in a letter signed by one hundred and twenty-six moderate Islamists (not satire). They may even accept Him as the Mahdi, an honor greater even than His highly regarded and equally well deserved Nobel Peace Prize.

Third PP phase

With the realistic understanding of His life, His universe and everything which Obama will thus give to them, they will follow Him anywhere He may lead, particularly from well behind. They will jump, shout with joy and fire our their rifles into the air when He receives His second Nobel PP prize.

Conclusions

According to Reuters, Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House on October 1st — the same day that His new rules of engagement increasing civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria were announced.

Even as Netanyahu pressed Obama over Iran in White House talks, the president urged the Israeli leader to help find ways to prevent Palestinian civilian casualties like those inflicted in the recent Gaza war between Israel and Hamas militants.

. . . .

While Netanyahu put the emphasis on Iran, Obama was quick to focus on the bloody 55-day Gaza conflict, which ended in August with no clear victor. This followed the collapse of U.S.-sponsored peace talks between Israel and Palestinians in April. [Not satire]

“Iran? Nukes? What’s wrong with that,” Obama didn’t ask. He probably knows that a nuke deal allowing the Islamic Republic of Iran to get (or to keep) nukes will enhance His popularity ratings if Iran doesn’t actually use them until He leaves office in January of 2017, in accordance with His informal understanding with the Islamic Republic. And to Him, that’s what matters. When He leaves office, anything bad that happens will be somebody else’s fault, as He will be quick to point out.

Anne in PT, my favorite Israeli blogger, wrote a serious article about Obama’s hypocrisy titled Hypocrisy as demonstrated by the White House. She began,

In this post I want to highlight the brazen double standards and utter screaming hypocrisy demonstrated by that ill-mannered hostile man who stands at the head of Israel’s ostensible best friend, America. [Not satire.]

She then does so, clearly and well. I had considered writing a similar article but didn’t have the stomach for it. Therefore, I tried to write this bit of satire instead.