Yesterday’s report that a Hezbollah drone loaded with explosives hit an Israeli ship blockading the Lebanon coast turns out to have been wrong. The news is more troubling than that. Haaretz reports that the ship was actually attacked by a Chinese missile never seen before in the Israeli-Arab conflict:
Initial assessment held that the ship had been struck by an unmanned aerial vehicle loaded with explosives. However, later in the night it became clear that a missile had hit INS Spear.
The missile, is a C-802 radar-guided anti-shipping missile manufactured in Iran using Chinese technology. Its range is estimated to be about 110 km.
Apparently two such missiles were fired on Friday night, one of them hitting INS Spear and the other a Cambodian-flagged freighter, 60 km off shore. A dozen Egyptian sailors from the freighter were picked up by another commercial vessel after their ship sunk following the missile strike.
The Beirut blog, Blogging the Middle East (READ IT!), called it dead right when he wrote about the supposed drone attack:
They claim the gunship was hit by drones; I am not so sure about that. They looked like rockets. Saw the moment of release. They didn’t look much like drones at the moment of firing. I think Israel is trying to minimize the psychological impact by assuring its citizens that it was not a rocket/missile but a “small drone”.
It’s no wonder that Israel first conjectured the explosion was caused by an explosives-laden drone since that is what Hezbollah has done before. Human beings naturally attribute something they’ve never seen before to something they have. They can’t imagine how anything new could come along. But whereas this is human nature it is exactly the opposite of what military intelligence is supposed to be. You’re supposed to imagine every possible scenario the enemy can put before you. The IDF failed miserably on that count it appears. I’m wondering whether there is a head or two rolling there. What does that say about Israel’s vaunted intelligence apparatus?
We know that the attack came as a complete surprise because Israeli ships had their defensive radar turned off so as not to accidentally attack Israeli jets in the air:
The Saar-5 class is equipped with very advanced defensive systems. However, these were not in operation at the time of attack, partly because of the number of IAF aircraft operating in the area. It was feared that if the system was in operation, it would mistakenly identify friendly aircraft as enemy targets and engage them.
Sounds like a tremendous intelligence failure–or as the Israelis would say–a real ballagon (“mess”).
Being the resourceful insurgent force that it is, Hezbollah completely surprised its enemy with an unexpected and unwelcome surprise. It appears that Hezbollah has carefully calibrated its tactics for this operation. One can only wonder what new surprise it has up its sleeves. If I were IDF intelligence, I’d be somewhere close to panicked about what the future holds for the current Israeli invasion.
This attack adds a new geopolitical dimension to the conflict. Before we knew Iran supported Hezbollah but now we know precisely how it has done so. If you add to the mix that the Iranians received the technology from the Chinese and start to speculate whether the latter had any inkling of how their know-how might be used well–it starts getting really hairy. I wonder how or whether China will react to this. If they do not denounce the attack then one may assume that they support the firing at least tacitly. Then we get into the frightening territory of external states interjecting their advanced weaponry into the Mideast conflict. This is ground that we haven’t traversed since the U.S. and Russia were duking it out in 1973 with their proxies of Israel and the Arab states. Do we really want to go back to that sort of brinkmanship? Can the world being the tenuous and crisis-filled place it currently is, afford that?
You can be damn sure that Don Rumsfeld and Condi are on the phone as I write with their Chinese counterparts trying to suss out what China’s role and intentions are regarding this incident. Perhaps China knew nothing of the use to which Iran might put their missiles. As for Iran, their MO appears to be to gum up the works in the Mideast so badly that no one will give a crap what they do with their nuclear program. In so many words they seem to be saying: “Keep putting pressure on us and we will sow the seeds of destruction and you (secifically, Israel) will reap the whirlwind.” It hardly seems they will be successful. But they are causing a world of mischief and that’s probably just as they would have it right now given the pressures they face from the UN.
i am 56, and i have been following world news for some time, and at times it seems our ‘leaders’ have a kindergarten mentality. they REALLY can’t see the forest throught the trees. we had the chance, SEVERAL times, to win the korean war, the viet-nam war AND mnay TIME TO GET RID IF IRAN!!! SINCE 1979!, we, the U.S. HAS been attacked several times. at least 2 embassy bombings, andd a ship, AND WHAT DID WE DO? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!! why? because we hav e gutless, traitorous men in our gov’t that want to bring this country DOWN!!! we knew who did these bombings. why didn’t er go after them?? GUTLESS!!!! pure and simple. ALL WE DO IS TALK, and let the enemy do what he wants to. if i were pres. reagan, and i found out that our men were captures like the ones during the iran crisis, i would put our military on war movement, and told iran, that they had 24 hrs. to have our men back on OUR soil, and if this was not done, they would have been nuked off this planet!!! YES, we would have lost thise men, BUT we would have remained a super-power. what are we now?? a wimp!! am i against this country?? not one bit! i am just against us sitting on our butts, and not doing what should be done!!! we even had the chance to tell china a thing or two back in the 50’s, but our great ‘leader’ then did not like maccarther, so he did things his way, instead of listening to the guys who fight the war ans really see what is going on out in the field. we had MANY chances to win the korean war. iran’s nuke facility MUST BE DESTROYED!!! iran, china, russia, AND england, ARE NOT OUR ALLIES!!!. people in this country HADbtter WAKE UP!!!! AND, the rest of the world DOES NOT help get rid of haezbollah, this planet IS going to be in a world of hurt. ISLAM IS NOT OUR FRIEND!!! PERIOD!!! the U.S. MUST back israel at any cost. if we do not, then ths country WILL BE DEFEATED!!! we know who our enemies are, and we just sit around and play patty-cake with them. HOW MORONIC AND STUPID!!! what is it going to take to put the guts back into us?? we did make 2 very STUPID mistakes! 1. by getting rid of the draft. 2. putting women in combat zones!. our leaders don’t havea lick of brains. a pet-rock has more. and now we have a senate full of traitors, and the house full of cowards. we are in such good hands. well, God is watching, and biding HIS time. the land that the palestinians claim is theres, IS NOT!!! never has been, and never will be. allah is NOT the God of the bible. Jesus’ teachings NEVER taught ANYONE to go around blowing innocent people up. can israel do this alone? yes, with God’s help. AND if the U.S. does not support her, then God WILL deal with us!!! as He will with the rest of the world, WHEN that time comes. israel IS on her own because of the gutless nations in this planet. the world sees how the people in these islamic countries are treated, AND this WILL BE the way any nation and its people WILL be treated if theses cowards get in!!! it is just that simple. God is the ONLY one that can save this country. we are only as strong as the One we rely on!!! we had the viet-nam war won, except for the traitor j. carey! why won’t this country learn? when will it learn. the next time WILL BE TOO LATE. WE WILL BE DEFEATED!!!! the deoms ARE traitors! and the repub. are gutless to stop them. i am not for either party, but i will say this right now. we will bet a demo in the white house next term, and that will be the final straw that brings the down-fall upon this great nation!!! we know what iran, china, russia and all the others are like AND what they want to do, BUT we just sit back and be STUPID, and do nothing, except flap our gumbs!!1 how superior we are. BULL. israel has to be very careful in every thing she does. AND i totally believe that the MEDIA should STOP giving EVERY etail on what is going on. they are part of the problem. israel has got to think this over. keep doing what they are doing, but be very careful. the rest of the world had better get off their backside and join, or they will lose in the end. this whole planet will. thnaks for listening. curtis
Richard Silverstein says
That’s quite a rant. Not much if anything I agree with though.
I am curious.
How does the weak Lebanese keep out the Israelis?
It’s hardly surprising that Hezbollah is covertly being funded by the Chinese and Russians. The economically wrecked Russia and the energy hungry Chinese realize that the key to defeating US imperialism over global energy resources is to weaken Israel. Instead of banking on the weak willed Arab leaders, its better to simply support a militia that is dedicated and KNOWS how to fight.
Israel’s bright future lies in fully integrating itself within the Arab world instead of doing America’s dirty imperial work in the Middle East. Israel also needs to abandon its own imperial ambitions in the region by stopping the plunder of Palestinian water in the west bank, and giving up Arab land. I currently reside in the United Arab Emirates, and believe it or not, you cannot even call Israel form here. Is this what Israelis want? Total isolation? The Palestinians are sitting on their own door steps looking in, do you expect them to forgive? It’s time for Israel to really make some difficult decisions about its future.
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Mel: amen brother, amen.