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My heterosexual blog partner Charlie is deploying.
As posted here the U.S. has chartered the cruise ship "Orient Queen" for NEO. USS Gonzalez (IDDG-66) to escort.
Given that the number of foreign nationals requiring evacuation will likely reach into the tens of thousands, a cooperative sealift effort involving several nations now appears to be the most likely scenario.
The French ferry initiative is just the tip of the iceberg. Expect the British, Italian and American navies to provide additional sea and airlift, with possible cooperation from other Mediterranean nations.
The President of the United States engages in some private (oops, no it wasn't!) straight-talking.
ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - A microphone picked up an unaware President Bush saying on Monday Syria should press Hezbollah to "stop doing this shit" and that his secretary of state may go to the Middle East soon.
Of course, the writer and editors had their own fun, intentional or not, didn't they?
That noted, the sheepdog in me says the wolf population in that particular neck of the woods could use some thinning. Not that this couldn't bubble over into something larger, but all those Sunni Arab nations aren't going to mind seeing some Shias working for non-Arab Iran get spanked - even by the Israelis. There's been no sleep at CENTCOM this week, and little prospect for any anytime soon, either.
You can read the rest here.
Seven Canadians, all members of the same Montreal family, were killed in an Israeli air strike in Lebanon yesterday.Might get crowded on and above the rooftops of Beirut this week.
News of the deaths swept quickly through Quebec's 50,000-member Lebanese community as the Canadian government stepped up plans to evacuate tens of thousands of Canadians from the war-torn region.
"It's as if that bomb landed in Montreal-North," said one relative, referring to the city borough with a heavy concentration of Lebanese.
Update: A sobering thought from Soldier's Mom in a comment to Smash's post on this topic: "I do not want to know where this goes if there is even one missle fired at us or the British..."
I think a hostage situation is the more likely crisis (there may even be some willing potential hostages - i.e. Hezbollah sympathizers with foreign citizenship) but who knows. In either event I think the US response would be cautious, and unsatisfying to those who are currently clamoring for the Big War. The US - and the rest of the world - had best stay focused on keeping this war small, and planning for the aftermath. If Hezbollah is effectively eliminated, we can "win" by then eliminating the conditions that let them thrive. Difficult, but not impossible.
A look at Hezbollah and it's leadership, along with some speculation on the next few days of combat, and the possibilities in the aftermath of Israel's attack.
After the shooting stops someone's going to have to pick up the pieces - it won't be Israel. Syria and Iran will certainly do it if no one else will.
A military assessment team has arrived at the U.S. embassy in Beirut.
U.S. security teams landed at the American embassy just outside Beirut on Sunday to plan the evacuation of some of the estimated 25,000 U.S. citizens living in war-torn Lebanon.
Witnesses said two helicopters flew in from over the Mediterranean and landed on the embassy grounds, located on a fortified hilltop in the north Beirut suburb of Aukar.
"The arrival of the teams is an important first step in facilitating the safe departure of Americans who want to leave Lebanon," the embassy said in a statement.
This team is not the first wave of an airlift, but likely has beeen sent to assess the situation on the ground, survey likely sites for an evacuation by air or sea, and coordinate with the embassy staff and security detachment.
Also, the British appear to be similar preparations:
The aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious was being prepared last night to sail to the coast of Lebanon to rescue British people stranded by Israeli airstrikes.
Des Browne, the defence secretary, ordered preparations for an urgent evacuation. An estimated 10,000 British citizens and up to 15,000 dual nationals are in Lebanon, which has been bombarded for four days in an escalating crisis triggered by the abduction of two Israeli soldiers.
Illustrious was being readied for the mission in Gibraltar and will be joined by HMS Bulwark, an amphibious assault warship.
Given the large number of people likely to require evacuation, I wouldn't rule out a joint British/American NEO task force.