Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Environmental Disaster On Lebanese Coast

How not to "Win Friends and Influence People":

The fires continued to burn Monday at a seaside power plant, the source of 15,000 tons of heavy fuel oil that spilled into pristine Mediterranean waters after an Israeli attack two weeks ago. The resulting slick has fouled close to 50 miles of beaches and rocky coastline, and threatens aquatic life and the fishing industry.

Emergency teams at the Jiyah plant on the southern Lebanon coast are allowing oil to burn, sending up towering plumes of black smoke, in an effort to prevent further spills into the sea. But it is too late for the coastline from Damour in the south to the prime beach district of Amchit and Byblos north of the capital....

"We are really talking about an environmental massacre here, with about 15,000 tons of heavy fuel oil," said Edgard Chehab, head of the U.N. Development Program unit for energy and the environment. By comparison, the tanker Exxon Valdez released about 38,000 tons of crude oil after running aground in Alaskan coastal waters in 1989.

"This is affecting algae, rocky and sandy beaches, as well as aquatic life," he said. Because of the thickness of the oil, "oxygen cannot enter the water and the life chain of aquatic vegetation that fish eat to survive will die. Fishermen who make their daily living off this sector are doomed," he added.

Israel in Lebanon has already proved to be as challenged in the area of "4th Generation Warfare" as has the U.S. in Iraq, and still apparently needs further lessons:

The Israeli security Cabinet today unanimously approved extending its military campaign in southern Lebanon with a ground sweep four miles into Lebanese territory.

The plans kill off hopes of an early ceasefire and resolution to the conflict, which were raised by optimistic comments by Condoleezza Rice and Tony Blair yesterday. Ms Rice claimed that a ceasefire was achievable within a week.

Today even the 48-hour halt to Israeli air strikes appeared to be null and void, as Israeli warplanes carried out numerous bombing missions overnight at the scene of fierce fighting between Hezbollah and Israeli troops near the border.

The cessation had been trumpeted by the US State Department on Sunday night as a diplomatic success for Ms Rice, but more cautiously described by Israel as a "restriction" in aerial attacks in response to the massacre of Lebanese civilians at Qana on Sunday, while reserving the right to continue using air strikes if it came under attack....

The Israeli army claimed that it had advanced half a mile, and rejected a claim by Hezbollah, the Shia military and political grouping, that it had forced Israeli troops to retreat in another part of the border, 20 miles to the south-west.

6 Comments:

Blogger Meatball One said...

Israel can have a lot of people and groups incensed with them, but they best not piss off the 12 year old dolphin loving girls of suburbia - for then their fortunes will surely turn for...even worse.

8/01/2006 11:41 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...

M1:

Israel would love to have the quality of the intelligence networks that the 12-year-old girls do.

8/01/2006 2:56 PM  
Blogger DrewL said...

I had wondered if a part of the Israelis' purpose in all of this nonsense was to bring down the sprouting economy and tourist trade of their neighbor to the north. A burgeoning, successful Lebanese economy and tourist trade would surely put a big damper on Israel's ability to attract investment as well as tourists.

Beirut was once the jewel of the eastern Mediterranean. It seems Israel is doing its best to keep that from becoming a reality once again. Bombing the airport and defiling the beaches would seem to be the right tack if one wants to keep vacationers away.

8/01/2006 7:27 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

DrewL:

Destroying the Beirut tourist trade definitely eliminates a main source of revenue for Lebanon. Keeping an adversary in poverty is a time-tested method to cripple their war fighting capability and readiness.

Ask the former Soviet Union.

I would think that this is a more likely explanation than the desire of Israel to siphon off Lebanon's tourist trade for themselves. For one thing, the prospective tourist that seeks fun and games in Beirut would not seem to be the type that would be thrilled to venture instead to one of Israel's Mediterranean beaches.

8/01/2006 8:04 PM  
Blogger Meatball One said...

Some say Hizzy was beginning to fear the rising prosperity of Lebanon and it was in their interest to bring down the house a notch or two. I ain't subscribing to this per se, just mentioning it. All I know is that I've cancelled my plans for skiing and Meza in Lebanon this winter. I won't be replacing the trip with a soothing swim in an Israeli dolphin petting pond.

8/03/2006 6:45 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...

M1:

Can't we interest you in a working vacation on one of the agricultural kibbutzim?

8/03/2006 8:04 AM  

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