Israel launches new air strikes on Beirut
BOURJ AL-MULOUK, Lebanon - Israel renewed airstrikes on Beirut's southern suburbs Thursday and an Israeli missile killed three people in a border village, a day after Hezbollah launched its biggest rocket barrage yet on the Jewish state.They also killed four Israeli soldiers in combat in Southern Lebanon. The fact that Hizbollah is still able to do this after 23 days marks a tremendous defeat for the Israelis. Bilmon has a good analysis here.
The Shiite guerrillas retaliated by firing at least 132 rockets at northern Israel — 100 within several minutes — killing at least eight people in Acre and Maalot. The death toll matched Israel's bloodiest day of the conflict, when eight people were killed July 16 near a train maintenance depot.
Three weeks into the conflict, six Israeli brigades — roughly 10,000 troops — were locked in fighting with hundreds of Hezbollah guerrillas in southern Lebanon, and the battle looked likely to be long and bitter.
Meanwhile back in Iraq things weren't going any better for the cons. In a confidential memo William Patey told Tony Blair that
Civil war is a more likely outcome in Iraq than democracyThis was followed by Donald Rumsfeld and a couple of his pet generals admitting that Iraq was at least close to a civil war.
Abizaid, echoing Rumsfeld, told the committee Thursday that “Iraq could move toward civil war” if the violence is not contained.That hissing noise you hear is the air coming out of the tires of the neocon Hummer.
“I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I have seen it,” he said, adding that the top priority in Iraq is to secure the capital, where factional violence has surged in recent weeks despite efforts by the new Iraqi government to stop the fighting.
General: Up to Iraqis to avoid civil war
Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the panel that “we do have the possibility of that devolving into civil war.” He added that this need not happen and stressed that ultimately it depends on the Iraqis more than on the U.S. military.
“Shiite and Sunni are going to have to love their children more than they hate each other,” Pace said, before the tensions can be overcome. “The weight of that must be on the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government.”
President Bush and Rumsfeld have steadfastly refused to call the situation in Iraq a civil war, although Rumsfeld, at a news conference on Wednesday, acknowledged that the violence is increasing.