Rice in Lebanon
U.S. Strategy: A Necon Method Behind the Apparent MadnessHope for a ceasefire and possible international border force is tied to U.S. neoconservative policy aimed at forcing change in Syria and Iran. ( LINK)
Rice lands in Beirut amidst fierce fighting in the south (LINK)Rice: "What we're seeing here ... are the birth pangs of a new Middle East and whatever we do, we have to be certain that we are pushing forward to the new Middle East, not going back to the old one." (LINK)
The Wider Region
Al-Sadr's Shiite militia reportedly prepares to join the fight in Lebanon
The Washington Times, in a report based on an interview in Baghdad, says Sadr's vicious militia is forming a 1500 member unit to fight in Lebanon. If true, this will be taken in Washington as evidence of ties among Shiites across the Middle East--a key element in the neoconservative dream scenario in widening the war for regime change in both Syria and Iran. (LINK)
Israel set plans for invasion more than a year ago.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports, "Israel's military response by air, land and sea to what it considered a provocation last week by Hezbollah militants is unfolding according to a plan finalized more than a year ago." (LINK)
The Humanitarian Crisis
Fleeing refugees inundate Syria.
Lebanon's border crossings with Syria to the north and east have been inundated with people, with up to a million Lebanese seeking refuge, according to state-run Syria TV. (LINK)
Hezbollah adopting Viet Cong-Style Tactics.
Jane's Defense Weekly says Hezbollah is proving a tough opponent for Israel because of its Viet Cong-style network of tunnels in southern Lebanon. (LINK)
--from the Mother Jones Washington Bureau