Monday, September 11, 2006

For Lebanon or Iran?

This is a detailed story written by Debka Files on the military build-up in Lebanon and its territorial waters. According to this source, the build-up is more in relation with the upcoming confrontation with Iran and the USA rather than the creation of a buffer zone between Israel and Lebanon. If the details in this article are exact and that Europe is mobilizing its most impressive force since WWII, then I would tend to believe the story of a Europe attempting to contain a possible war with Iran.

“Lebanese Security” Is the Pretext for the Naval Babel around Lebanon’s Shores

Exclusive Military Report
September 4, 2006, 11:37 AM (GMT+02:00)
The extraordinary buildup of European naval and military strength in and around Lebanon’s shores is way out of proportion for the task the European contingents of expanded UNIFIL have undertaken: to create a buffer between Israel and Hizballah. Close investigation by DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources discloses that “Lebanese security” and peacemaking is not the object of the exercise.
It is linked to the general anticipation of a military clash between the United States and Israel, on one side, and Iran and possibly Syria on the other, some time from now until November This expectation has brought together the greatest sea and air armada Europe has ever assembled at any point on earth since World War II: two carriers with 75 fighter-bombers, spy planes and helicopters on their decks; 15 warships of various types – 7 French, 5 Italian, 2-3 Green, 3-5 German, and five American; thousands of Marines – French, Italian and German, as well as 1,800 US Marines. It is improbably billed as support for a mere 7,000 European soldiers who are deployed in Lebanon to prevent the dwindling Israeli force of 4-5,000 soldiers and some 15-16,000 Hizballah militiamen from coming to blows as well as for humanitarian odd jobs.
A Western military expert remarked to DEBKAfile that the European naval forces cruising off Lebanese shores are roughly ten times as much as the UNIFIL contingents require as cover, especially when UNIFIL’s duties are strictly non-combat. After all, none of the UN contingents will be engaged in disarming Hizballah or blocking the flow of weapons incoming from Syria and Iran.
So, if not for Lebanon, what is this fine array of naval power really there for? First, according to our military sources, the European participants feel the need of a strong naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean to prevent a possible Iranian-US-Israeli war igniting an Iranian long-range Shahab missile attack on Europe; second, as a deterrent to dissuade Syria and Hizballah from opening a second front against American and Israel from their eastern Mediterranean coasts. Numbers alone do not do justice to the immense operational capabilities and firepower amassed opposite Lebanon. Take first the three fleet flagships. From France’s nuclear-powered 38,000-ton Charles De Gaulle carrier, 40 Rafale M fighter craft whose range is 3,340 km can take off at intervals of 30 seconds. The ship also carries three E-2C Hawkeye surveillance craft. The combat control center of the French carrier can handle 2,000 simultaneous targets. The carrier leads a task fore of 7 warships carrying 2,800 French Marines. Charles De Gaulle s also a floating logistics center operating water desalination plants for 15,000 men and enough food to feed an army for 90 days. The USS Mount Whitney has the most sophisticated command and control suite in the world. Like the French Charles De Gaulle , it exercises command over a task force of 1,800 sailors, Marines, Air force medical and other personnel serving aboard the USS Barry, the USS Trenton , HSV Swift and USNS Kanawha.
Available to the fleet commander, US Vice Admiral J. “Boomer” Stufflebeem, formally titled commander of Joint Task Force Lebanon, is the uniquely advanced C41 command and intelligence system through which he can flash intelligence data to every American commander at any point between the eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf and Iran. USS Mount Whitney communications are described as unsurpassed for the the secure transmission of data from any point to any other point in the world through HF, UHF,VHF, SHF and EHF.
The third carrier joining the other two is the Italian aircraft-helicopter carrier Garibaldi , which has launch pads for vertical takeoff by 16 AV-8B Harrier fighter-bombers or 18 Sikorsky SH-3D Seak King sea-choppers (or Italian Agusta Bell AB212 helicopters), designed to attack submarines and missile ships. Military experts estimate that the Garibaldi currently carries 10 fighter planes and 6 helicopters.
The new European naval concentration tops up the forces which permanently crowd the eastern Mediterranean: the Italian-based American Sixth Fleet, some 15 small Israeli missile ships and half a dozen submarines and the NATO fleet of Canadian, British, Dutch, German, Spanish, Greek and Turkish warships. They are on patrol against al Qaeda (which is estimated to deploy 45 small freighters in the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean). The British have permanent air and sea bases in Cyprus. This vast force’s main weakness, according to DEBKAfile’s military sources, is that it lacks a single unified command. A sudden flare-up in Lebanon, Syria or Iran could throw the entire force into confusion.
On paper, it has three commanders:
1. French General Alain Pellegrini is the commander of the expanded UNIFIL ground, naval and air force in Lebanon. In February 2007, he hands over to an Italian general who leads the largest of the European contingents of 3,000 men. It is hard to see France agreeing to place its prestigious Charles De Gaulle flagship under non-French command.
2. The American forces opposite Lebanese shores are under direct US command. Since the October 1993 debacle of an American peace force under the UN flag in Somalia, Washington has never again placed its military under UN command. (There is no American contingent in the UNIFIL ground force either.) In other words, USS Mount Whitney , while serving the European fleets as their operational and intelligence nerve center will stay under the sole command of Vice Admiral Stufflebeem in all possible contingencies.
3. Similarly, the NATO fleet will remain under NATO command, and Israel’s air and naval units will take their orders from Israeli Navy Headquarters in Haifa and the General Staff in Tel Aviv.
The naval Babel piling up in the eastern Mediterranean may therefore find itself at cross purposes when action is needed in an armed conflict. Iran, Syria and Hizballah could be counting on this weakness as a tactical asset in their favor.


Blogger Sam said...

One thing I have noticed is that this site is logging fewer and fewer posts. I guess fewer people care, and even more know that it all prop and fluff.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

As to the blog, is there a difference? I see as do allot of people that they're now the same. It's a country run by terrorists just like Sryia, Iran & Iraq. So call it what makes you feel good. I look at it as a froce stabalizer. I hope our US troops aren't lead by UN commanders, the UN is a useless tool.

A powder keg is building and I'm glad I am here and the only people besides the US military to suffer will be the rags in the third world. Israel will be okay, they will hold their own.

7:41 PM  
Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

I hope, mrtez, that you do not take Debka tooo seriously. I have done a spoof on same subject here:

Not to mention the fact that most of the armoury and ammunition mentioned in the article are there most of the time anyway, some of them came by only for the ceremony of unloading some soldiers with great pomp. Doesn't mean anything in the long run

P.S. Have you ever considered black text on a bright background?

7:58 PM  
Blogger mrtez said...

sam sam sam...again you talk of nothing that would advance any of our comments. how unfortunate that you keep on deviating the subject from its actual focal point.

snoopy thanks for your comment. you might not realize the force being put together from where you are, but here we keep on seeing movement of ships, truckloads, soldiers, tanks and equipment. all under UNIFIL. and just this morning i was awoken by a convoy of trucks leaving the port and heading south of lebanon. believe me, its an impressive mobilization. if debka is very serious, i would agree with you on that, but they do put together a pretty accurate list of whats coming to the region...

8:20 PM  
Blogger Bryansaid said...

mrtez, This build is a good thing in my opinion, first it shows that Europe has a will to project force to maintain peace, second it also shows Syria and Iran what they will face if they do not straighten up. I also think that this build up may be part of the reason that Iran is starting to change its toon about its nuke. weapons program, which would be great because I was somewhat afraid that a wider gulf war would break out if Iran refused to stop its nuke. program. If this build up shows Iran that the U.S. and Europe are serious without anybody getting killed in a conflict I say bravo to the Europeans!!!

1:16 AM  
Blogger Bryansaid said...

9/11/2001 We shall never forget and always honor those who died that day..........

During the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, the people of the United States took part in silent reflection and fresh mourning. The day was marked with quiet observances at the three attack sites. After attending tributes at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and crash site of United Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa.
Solemn tributes and memorials were held in cities and towns across the nation.

"If I could build a staircase to heaven, I would, just so I could quickly run up there to have you back in my arms," Carmen Suarez, widow of city police officer Ramon Suarez, said at the Ground Zero podium while reading names of the 2,749 people who died there five years ago
On the 16-acre New York City expanse where the World Trade Center towers once stood, four moments of silence were held at 8:46, 9:03, 9:59 and 10:29 a.m., the times when jetliners struck each of the twin towers, and when each tower fell.

Some spouses and partners of Trade Center victims who read off names included brief personal tributes to their own loved ones.

"Honey, I want you to have a happy grandparents' day in heaven," said Elaine Moccia, addressing her late husband, Frank Moccia Sr, as she released a balloon gently into the sky where the towers once rose 110 stories above the New York skyline
Families of the victims began arriving before 7 a.m., many clutching pictures of their loved ones, descended the ramp into what's known as "the pit" to roam the area and lay flowers. Some wore pins bearing pictures of the victims. The mournful sound of bagpipes, so familiar from the seemingly endless funerals that followed Sept. 11, echoed across ground zero after a choir performed the national anthem.

"We've come back to remember the valor of those we've lost, those who innocently went to work that day and the brave souls who went in after them," former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said in a ceremony at Ground Zero
Family members at Ground Zero held up signs reading "You will always be with us" and "Never forget," and quiet sobs could be heard as the moments of silence were observed. Some victims' relatives crossed themselves and wiped away tears.

"Five years have come, and five years have gone, and still we stand together as one," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "We come back to this place to remember the heartbreaking anniversary — and each person who died here — those known and unknown to us, whose absence is always with us."

A youth choir sang "America the Beautiful" and "My Country 'Tis of Thee," and religious leaders of several faiths offered words of comfort.

"I think it's important that people remember as years go on," said Diana Kellie, of Acaconda, Mont., whose niece and niece's fiance were killed on one of the planes. "The dead are really not dead until they're forgotten
Firefighter Tommy King and others stood beside a fire truck with a windshield emblazoned with the names of two comrades who died on Sept. 11.

"It's just weird being back here," King said outside the World Financial Center, where he hasn't been for five years. "This building here was a morgue."
Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynn, attended a service of prayer and remembrance in Washington Monday morning. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher joined them. Cheney then joined Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a ceremony at the Pentagon.

Rumsfeld choked up during his brief remarks at that event.

"I remember working our way through that long tragic day," he said, pausing in between sentences, noting that family and friends of those lost wore double American flag lapel patches. "Know that you are always in our thoughts and prayers," he added.

Cheney said, "September 11 ceased to be an ordinary day in America."

"We honor the men, women and children whose lives were taken suddenly and so coldly here at the Pentagon, the World Trade Center and on a field in Pennsylvania," the vice president continued. "We remember all that we saw and heard and felt on that Tuesday morning and how the world changed on the eleventh of September, 2001. Nine-eleven is a day of national unity that stays with all of us … we were meant to take it personally and we still do take it personally."

Camp Blanding, Fla., remembered Florida soldiers killed in action since Sept. 11. Firefighters and law enforcement officers were to be honored at Idaho's Statehouse. And in Muncie, Ind., a service was set at a funeral home that features a Sept. 11 garden with twin glass towers that light up at night.

In Chicago, people filled churches to pray and remember the victims. In Virginia Beach, Va., firefighters and residents formed a human flag. Firefighters in Akron, Ohio, displayed 3,000 American flags on a 10-acre spiritual center.

3:42 AM  
Blogger Mr Wrath said...

The UN force has no U.S. fighters, and the U.N. players will up and leave if America goes to war with Iran.

Maybe we should stay out of Irans business? Maybe you should get beaten severly and jailed like some people in Iran for running a blog? You think the young people of Iran like living under the thumb of an oppressive government? These people who seek rights and liberties have no all, other than outside assistance coming in demanding the people of Iran are given decent rights and freedom.

Seems countries making money off Iran could care less if they set people on fire daily as long as it doesn't effect them....let's ask an Iranian...oooops, could luck finding the 10 of them online who would give any opinion about their government and face a beating or death.

2:35 AM  
Blogger Lilu said...

Debka is to be taken with a huge grain of salt.. they have very little credibility and have a tendency to promise armaggedon on just about anything (Israel alone was supposed to have been wiped out already several times by the Iraqis, the Iranians, and perhaps Martians, according to past Debka reports).

But I doubt Europe is up to do much to contain a possible war with Iran. I have gotten the feeling lately that a regional war sparked by the conflict with the Iranians is inevitable, but I don't think the Europeans are taking that option too seriously. The European attitude seems to be one of doing too little too late, sticking their head in the sand until someone forces it out.

Debka's fishing on this one, I think.

1:24 PM  

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