Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Drum Roll Please……BE Radio Tonight at 8pm est (and 1000 Credit Raffle)

Yep, it’s Saturday, time for another edition of Live BE Radio with your host, the roamin’ Nomad!  I’ve got some juicy tunes lined up for a Saturday night, so get ready for an evening of fun, friends, and BE radio.

Once again, we’ll kick things off at 8:00 pm est tonight and play 3 hours of your music for you; taking requests, playing dedications, reading your headlines, and holding contests for BE credits. Plus, the party will be going on in BlogExplosion’s Shoutbox chat room, where anything goes as people kick back and celebrate the weekend.  If you haven’t been there yet, you have no idea what you’re missing!

Plus once again I will hold the largest BlogExplosion raffled during the show.  1000 credits will be raffled off at some time during the evening, and those credits could be yours. In case you don’t know, that’s 1000 times people will see your blog, 1000 chances to capture their interest, 1000 potential regular viewers.  Last week Bryelee of the Paranormal Experience took home 1000 credits, this week it may be you!

So add a comment to this post, and you’ll be registered for the raffle.  And while you’re at it, give me a request, or even tell me a headline you would like read over the air.  Then tune in tonight at 8pm est for live BE radio and the party that goes with it. Live BE Radio: radio for bloggers, by bloggers, and yes, even about bloggers!  


Posted by Scottage at 5:59 PM / | |  

Iran and Syria Manipulate Tensions in the Middle East

While, to the untrained eye, things seem to be escalating out of control in the Middle East, in actuality things are far more controlled than people realize – much to the consternation of Iran and Syria.  Acting through Hezbollah, a terrorist group backed by the two countries, Iran and Syria tried to instigate an all-out war in the Middle East by raising sympathies for the people of Lebanon.

Syria and Iran knew how harshly Israel would respond to the attack on Israeli soil on Wednesday.  They knew, as well, that by using Hezbollah to capture the Israelis, they could push most of the consequences on Lebanon, which is guilty of nothing more than being too weak to reign in the terrorist organization which maintains de-facto control over South Lebanon and occupies 23 of 128 seats in Lebanon’s parliament.

What Iran and Syria did not anticipate was the lack of willingness from other Muslim nations to rush to the defense of Lebanon.  Additionally, the countries did not anticipate the lack of stiffer condemnation from the world community of Israel’s aggression, nor did they anticipate that most countries would see through the kidnappings and raid as an attempt at pushing an all-out war with Israel.  As long as this remains a miscalculation, Iran and Syria’s latest plot against Israel will remain a failure.

Iran and Syria’s Intentions

Iran and Syria’s goals are easy to see: help defend Hamas in Gaza and start a large regional war, as these countries have been pushing for since Ahmadinejad’s election last year. The war would be a response to the tragic plight of the Lebanese people, who do not have the prowess to defend against either Hezbollah or Israel.  Already, Lebanon is considered a “disaster zone”, and the offensive is just ramping up.

I wrote last week that, so long as the Muslim world remained unwilling to defend Hamas in Gaza, Israel’s campaign there would be a success, perhaps not in finding Gilad Shalit, but definitely in undermining Hamas’ authority with the Palestinian people.  Israel will never see Hamas as a partner for peace, and has been looking for a way to oust them from power since their election; the kidnapping of Shalit is the perfect excuse to do just that.

The same can be said for Hezbollah.  Israel sees Hezbollah as a continuous threat to Israel’s security.  It is also clear that, in a direct confrontation, Hezbollah cannot stand up to the Israeli military machine.  Thus, unless Iran and Syria can find a way to drag other countries into this latest confrontation with Israel, it seems clear that Israel will use this opportunity to eliminate two of its greatest threats: Hamas and Hezbollah.

Unquestionable Provocation by Two Terrorist Organziations

Every country in the region knows that a regional war would be costly, in terms of both human lives and infrastructure, and the regimes of the Muslim countries are not going to be easily conned into entering the conflict.  They know that, while there can be many questions about Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian people, that the kidnapping of Shalit represents a clear escalation by Hamas, and an escalation that Israel would not sit still for.

And the kidnapping of two additional soldiers off of Israeli soil in Northern Israel is an even greater escalation. Hezbollah rhetoric that the attack was on Lebanese soil is directly controverted by the UNs proclamation, agreed to by all Muslim nations in the UN security council, indicating that Israel had withdrawn to the appropriate border in 2000, meaning that the Shabaa farms are indeed Israeli territories.  Thus, Hezbollah’s attack Wednesday must be seen as an invasion of Israel, and must be dealt with.

Hezbollah was supposed to be demilitarized after Israel withdrew unilaterally from Lebanon in 2000.  Instead, they have continued firing missiles into Israel’s northern territories for the 6 years since the withdrawal, leading Israel to also be looking for an excuse to deal with the Southern Lebanon problem.  The invasion of Israel by Hezbollah on Wednesday serves as exactly that excuse.

Excessive Force?  No Surprises There!

One can argue that Israel has exercised excessive force, and certainly that may be true in Gaza and Lebanon.  It is unfortunate that the country of Lebanon is suffering the brunt of the attack, in my opinion.  I think they’ve done little to merit the bombardment from Israel.  But the party to blame is Hezbollah, and backers Syria and Iran, who knew full well how Israel would respond to the invasion and capture of Israeli soldiers.

In every major war Israel has taken part in, they’ve begun by destroying supply lines, then destroying communication lines, and finally taking out command centers, allowing the Israeli military to sweep through a region with far less resistance and achieve its desired objective.  Israel has done the same here, blockading the country from air, sea, and ground, destroying airports bridges, and roads, and finally attacking Hezbollah offices and weapons storage facilities.

Even the civilian casualties could have been predicted.  In 1996, Israel carried out Operation Grapes of Wrath in Lebanon, killing 165 people in 17 days, an operation that was eventually stopped by international pressure after a UN base was shelled accidentally as Israel went after a Hezbollah mobile launching unit that had been stationed behind the base.  To date, 60 Lebanese civilians have been killed in 4 days, and escalation from 1996 but not a drastic one.

Hezbollah knew this, they knew the consequences to Lebanon of attacking Israel as they did on Wednesday.  So why did Hezbollah make such an attack, instead of the normal terrorist actions that merit a more limited response from the Israeli military? Because Syria and Iran, who control Hezbollah, care little for Lebanon or the Lebanese people! These countries used Lebanon as a pawn to be sacrificed with the hope of gaining the support of other Muslim nations, without regard to the repercussions to Lebanon itself.

The Imminent Dangers

Hezbollah, uncaring about the lives of the people in Lebanon, is more than willing to declare war against Israel. It’s a war they cannot win, but if history repeats itself, it’s a war they can escape from when the fighting gets too bad, leaving the Lebanese people to feel the full brunt of the Israeli war machine.

So where does the danger lie, if it’s not in the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, and clearly not in the conflict between Israel and Hamas? The gravest danger lies in the potential to draw in other Muslim countries!  As the fighting increases, there is a growing chance that other countries will step in to defend Lebanon, in many ways victims in this latest conflict. Presently, the other Muslim countries see the dangers of a regional war, and are avoiding it, condemning Israel’s excessive force along with Hezbollah’s provocation.

But will that last?  Will Egypt and Jordan, as well as other countries in the region, stand by while Israel bombards Lebanon mercilessly in an effort to, once and for all, eradicate the threat of Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border?  In the end of the day, removing Hezbollah may be a real positive for the people of Lebanon, who have suffered from the actions of Hezbollah time and again over the years.  But it is doubtful that this will be the view of the other Muslim nations.  At some point they may join the fray.

And there is the possibility of dragging a country from outside the region into the conflict.  Muslim nations have been trying to work with the UN security council and with the US to push Israel to back off this offensive, to no avail; Israel knows that opportunities to really shut down terrorist organizations with some justification are rare, and they are unwilling to let this opportunity slip by. Admonitions by the UN of Israel’s aggression will continue to fall on deaf ears.

But other avenues are being explored.  Already there is talk of Iran shutting off oil shipments should Russia, China and the US allow the attacks on Gaza and Lebanon to continue.  There is a consistent worry that this will be enough to push a country like China, so dependant on Iranian oil, into the conflict, and that this could force Israeli allies, like the US, to also participate.  This is largely why everyone is pushing for calm on this tumultuous front.

Correctly Placing the Blame

Still, many world leaders, including leaders in Lebanon, around the Middle East, and around the world, are calling for Syria and Iran to reign in Hezbollah.  They all recognize that the orders are coming from the two nations, and that should they call for the bombings of Israel to cease, the bombings will, indeed, cease.  

But so far Iran and Syria have shown no willingness to pull back on attacks on Israel.  Neither country is feeling any direct repercussions to their aggressions, and as such there is no reason to stop the offensive. Neither Iran nor Syria care for the well-being of Lebanon or the Lebanese people, and as long as attacks do not hit Syrian or Iranian soil, there is little reason to believe they will call off the Hezbollah attacks.


Right now, the war in Lebanon, Israel, and Gaza is not as out of control as people believe, and if the status remains as it is today, the outcome is bright for Israel, and perhaps even for the region.  True, there will be many casualties, but the end result will be the removal of two of the largest terrorist threats in the region in Hamas and Hezbollah, both of whom have experienced increasing power over the past few years.

However, many scenarios exist that could allow this conflict to spiral out of control, most of which focus on drawing other countries into the conflict, and these scenarios are much scarier than the one being seen today. It is in everyone’s best interest to ease tensions before other countries do enter the fray, resulting in a situation which could become catastrophic in a short amount of time.

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Posted by Scottage at 5:28 PM / | |  

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Hezbollah Captures 2 Israeli Soldiers, as Tensions Mount

Last week I reported the optimism I had in seeing most of Palestine’s Islamic allies not backing Hamas capture of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. I spoke of being at a crossroads, and the promise that was being shown as we moved through it.  But I also mentioned that tumultuous times are seen as we pass through the crossroads, and we are seeing them today!

Hezbollah, which operates out of Lebanon and Syria, is a terrorist organization backed by the Syrian and Iranian governments. Over the years, most of their attacks on Israel have occurred from war-torn Lebanon, whose government is largely influenced by Syria.  With the jungle-border between Lebanon and Israel and Syria’s lack of caring for the people of Lebanon, Hezbollah has found Lebanon a convenient launching ground for attacks against Eretz Yisrael.  

And we are about to see the same today, as Hezbollah has escalated the crisis over captured soldier Shalit by capturing two more soldiers in Lebanon, a country which Israel had been at war with since the early 1980s and withdrew from in May 2000.  Already, Israeli troops have invaded the country, in an attempt to prevent the soldiers from being moved too far north, but suspicions are that the soldiers have already been moved to Beirut.

This is a volatile situation. Having dug their heels in over Shalit, Israel cannot simply back down over the two soldiers, as yet unnamed, in Lebanon.  But finding the soldiers in Lebanon will be no easy feat, and performing the type of operation in a country where Israel has already fought one jungle-war will be far more complicated than find Shalit in Gaza.  And the clock is ticking; if these soldiers do make it north of Beirut, Israel will only find them through an all-out invasion of Lebanon, a dangerous mission.

Already, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz is ready to unleash the dogs of war.  He has called for an end to restraint against Hezbollah, which has been far less active in the past few years, and has also said that Lebanon itself should be made to “pay a heavy price” for their role in the capture of the Israeli soldiers.  Thousands of reserve infantrymen have been called up and ordered to the Lebanese border, and residents of the towns bordering Lebanon have been told to move into their bomb shelters.

Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister of Israel, has called this an “act of war” by Lebanon.

"The Lebanese government, of which Hezbollah is a part, is trying to shake regional stability," he said at a press conference in Jerusalem. "We are already responding with great strength," he said, threatening "very painful and far-reaching" action. "There are people ... who are trying to test our resolve. They will fail and they will pay a heavy price for their actions."

Hamas and Hezbollah inside Lebanon see the capture as an unmitigated victory against Israel.  They indicate the two groups will cooperate to force Israel to release prisoners from the Israeli jails.  Simultaneously, residents of south Beirut, home of Hezbollah, fired guns in the air and set of firecrackers for over an hour when they heard of the capture of Israeli soldiers.

"We have proven to this enemy (Israel) that the one option is the release of Palestinian, Lebanese and Arab captives. All captives, without exception," Osama Hamdan, Hamas' spokesman in Lebanon, told Al-Jazeera television.

And Hezbollah released this statement to Al-Jazeera, indicating that they saw, as I indicated earlier this week, that Israel’s success in Gaza gave them no incentive to negotiate for the freedom of captured Palestinians:

"In order to fulfil a promise to free the prisoners and detainees, the Islamic Resistance captured at 9:05am [0605 GMT] two Israeli soldiers at the borders with occupied Palestine," Hezbollah said referring to its military wing.

"The two prisoners were moved to a safe place," it said. The Syria-backed group "expressed readiness to start a process of negotiations for a prisoner exchange deal with Israel", a Lebanese political source said.

This is a huge escalation in the present conflict. Of course this is partially because Israel now is beginning to feel the sting of their operations to rescue Shalit, where before they acted with relative impunity.  But primarily this is an escalation because we know Israel will not, and should not, let this action go by without retribution, and retribution in this case equals an invasion of Lebanon.

I pray for the return of the recently captured Israeli soldiers as I do for Shalit.  But I also pray that this doesn’t escalate out of control, as these moves could lead to a the type of conflict in Lebanon we were thankful to leave behind in May of 2000.

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Posted by Scottage at 11:02 AM / | |  

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Epcot Hosts Death Trap

I’ve always been something of a thrill seeker; I love to drive fast, I mountain climb for fun, and I love a good roller coaster. Thus, hearing that an attraction is now killing its riders is, strangely enough, appealing to me. I mean, what could be a bigger thrill then riding in a death trap?

And apparently, that’s exactly what Disney World’s “Mission: Space” ride is. Since opening last year, two people have died while riding the Disney attraction. The first was a 49 year old man, who actually died the day after riding “Mission: Space” of severe bleeding from the brain. The second was a 4-year-old Pennsylvania boy who died of an irregular heartbeat while on the ride.  

Yesterday a 35-year-old woman lost consciousness while exiting the ride, and had to be flown by helicopter to Orlando Regional Medical Center. Today she’s in stable condition.  And while officials refuse to link any of the incidents to the ride, it stands to reason that a ride where the centrifuge spins at such a rate as to expose riders to twice the normal force of gravity could have some medical effects on its riders.

So to me, the question is an obvious one: when are we going to hit Epcot?  Because any ride that is that dangerous is one I’ve gotta try! At the very least it will be a few moments of fun, and who knows where we’ll go from there!

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Posted by Scottage at 10:39 AM / | |  

Meshal Press Conference Shows Success of Israel’s Offensive in Gaza

Today, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal held a press conference on safe turf in Damascus that did nothing more than confirm the Hamas position that Palestine will not release Gilad Shalit, the kidnapped Israeli soldier and teenager, without Israel releasing Palestinian prisoners.  This was Meshal’s firest appearance since Israel’s attempt to assassinate him, and he did not release the location of the conference before the event.

Meshal is trying to assure that Hamas saves some face in this whole incident, as opposed to giving up Shalit without receiving any compensation. This appears to be more important than ever for the group, as Israel’s continued offensive divides the Palestinian people, many of whom have are ready to return to normal life as opposed to the chaos seen in the Gaza Strip over the past 3 weeks.

Already, Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Palestinian Authority but not a member of Hamas, has suggested reductions in what Palestine requires in return for the release of Shalit.  And a joint Saudi/Egyptian proposal includes the release of some Palestinian prisoners and Shalit in a deal that also would ease the boycott on Hamas.  Israel has agreed to promise to release prisoners, but will not commit to releases.

Israel shows no signs of letting up the offensive in Gaza.  The Israeli military has already rounded up most Hamas leaders and sent the rest into hiding, it has waged a constant war that has not only included the search for Shalit but also served to prevent the firing of Qassam rockets from Gaza, and have deteriorated life in Gaza to such an extent as to seriously undermine Gaza’s influence amongst the Palestinian people.

In Israel’s eyes, the offensive has been a complete success!

It is doubtful that Israel will accept a proposal that calls for any return of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the safe return of Shalit, so long as the Gaza offensive is effective. Israeli authorities note the lack of support from surrounding Muslim communities as an indicant that the offensive can continue until Shalit is returned or Hamas is removed from power. Even the return of Shalit may not stop the offensive.

Around the world, worries grow as the hostilities in Gaza increase, and the death toll rises.  But in Israel, while everyone mourns the capture of Gilad Shalit, the situation has been an answer to the prayers of the Ehud Olmert administration. It allows Olmert to destroy the Hamas regime, and to bring the Palestinian people to the point where they will welcome back the rule of the Palestinian Authority as opposed to the chaos of life under a Hamas regime.

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Posted by Scottage at 1:20 AM / | |  

Monday, July 10, 2006

Click & Comment Monday

Another blogger who I love Love LOVE to read is Cat, of Living with Multiple Personalities. She comes at life with a positive perspective that is simply infectious, and carries that to a number of little projects she does to make her little corner of the world a better place.  I’m consistently ecstatic to be in that corner.

One of her projects is Click & Comment Monday, where the goal is to leave comments on as many sites as possible. The way it works is simple: click on the icon of a blog’s renter, which will take you to their site, and then comment.  Then, click on their renter, and comment.  Keep going as long as you can.  I’m sure you know the comments can make a person’s day, and it’s a fun exercise all the way around.

So give it a shot!  My renter, found on the left side of the page, is ANO, who I posted on last night, and I’m sure you’ll find plenty of great posts there to comment on.  And make sure you check out Cat’s site while you’re at it.  Thanks for contributing, and for hitting my site.


Posted by Scottage at 1:55 PM / | |  

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Weekly Housekeeping; A New Renter, A New Raffle, and The Best Readers in the World

Hi folks, time for another housekeeping post, and this one I’m very psyched about.  I have all sorts of good things to report on a beautiful Sunday evening, and it all begins with my new renter, AllNightOrg!

I love ANO’s blog.  She is an amazing combination of socially conscious, roll-on-the-floor hilarious, and totally sexy!  I’m not sure if I prefer her posts on the plight of the puppies, her exploits in the night (or 4am as the case may be), or her pictures from Half-Naked Thursdays, but any way you slice it her blog is a daily read.

ANO, as we affectionately call her, has also started a second site. This site is on the slightly-morbid topic of serial killers, and includes everything from descriptions of the exploits of some killers to warning signs so you can recognized the serial killer around the corner. I think ANO kills us with love, but if so, what a way to die!

Feel like earning some credits? On ANO’s main site, she has a post called “I Can’t Make This Stuff Up”, where she reveals the prize she takes from her victims. Tell me the article of clothing that ANO kept from her late-night rendezvous, and I’ll give you 50 credits.

Another piece of housekeeping is that, as of this weekend, I hit 50,000 visitors to Perspectives of a Nomad.  I gotta say, I love you all, even those whose comments show you don’t love me so much.  It’s no problem; I appreciate everyone’s opinions, and glad you all stopped by. For my part, I will do my best to provide you with quality content from here on out.

Another big announcement: tomorrow night, at 10pm est, is the first episode of Survivor BE Island!  In BlogExplosion’s Shoutbox chat room we will meet and compete.  I believe I am like many of the contestants in being very curious as to what the game will entail, but I’m psyched for it.  So come be a spectator, it should be fun!  Plus, if you want to see the list of contestants, check out this short video on the whole crew.

Finally, during my regular Saturday radio show, I raffled off 1000 credits, the second time I did this, and we had a winner, Bryelee of the Paranormal Experience! Check out her site, it’s a lot of fun.  And comments here will be the first contestants in next week’s 1000 credit raffle.  Who knows, maybe you’ll win 1000 credits on Live BE Radio, with your friendly neighborhood Nomad as a host.

Well, that’s all the news from this end.  I wish everyone a good Monday, and a great start to the week!


Posted by Scottage at 11:40 PM / | |  

Haveil Havelim Is Up

Haveil Havelim #77 is being hosted this week by Me-Ander, and has been posted. For those who don’t know, HoH is a roundup of the greatest blog posts by Jewish bloggers from the past week, and there are always many posts in there to make you think. Batya’s HoH is very creative, with a summer musical theme, and I think you’ll really like it. Definitely fun, definitely summery, definitely worth a read!  So if you’re interested in some cool reading on a hot summer day, check it out.  I guarantee you’ll be happy you did.


Posted by Scottage at 10:24 AM / | |