Issue XCVI

21 OCT 2016

Today in History


The Lebanon War (1982)


The 1982 Lebanon War began on June 6, 1982, as what was supposed to be a short-term military operation - Operation Peace for Galilee. The operation was meant to destroy militant infrastructure on the Lebanese-Israeli border, which had been used by terrorists to attack IDF forces, as well as the Israeli communities abject to the border.

War's prelim

In 1978 Lebanon up to the Litani River. Once the IDF withdrew its forces later that year, an alliance was formed between the IDF and the South Lebanon Army (SLA), resulting in a buffer zone along Israel’s border.

The IDF's control over several outposts within the buffer zone did not, however, discourage the PLO, as its operatives managed to slip back into the region, southeast Lebanon and the slopes of Mount Hermon. The buffer zone was expanded and relabeled the “security zone,” but the armed Palestinian groups continued to launch numerous attacks from the area.

While battling the Palestinians in southern Lebanon and trying to strengthen the SLA, Israel held covert talks with Christian leaders in Lebanon, who were concerned that an independent Palestinian presence in their country would further deteriorate their already shaky stance within national politics. The understandings reached in these talks, although never made public, went to on play a pivotal part in the events, as they unfolded.

In July 1981 the US negotiated a ceasefire between Israel and the PLO. The ceasefire was violated one year later, on June 3, 1982, when a gunman affiliated with the Ahmed Jibril movement tried to assassinate Shlomo Argov, the Israeli ambassador to London. Argov suffered a serious – but luckily not fatal – head injury. Then-Prime Minister 

War breaks out

IDF forces marched into Lebanon on June 6, 1982 as the government announced that Israel’s objective was to push the armed groups northward, thus ensuring the northern Israeli communities were safely out of fire range. The operation was meant to be no more than 48 hours long, reaching 25 miles into Lebanon. IDF forces, however, ended up reaching the outskirts of Beirut.

As Israeli forces pressed northward, Syrian forces launched an offensive in eastern Lebanon. A clash proved unavoidable as Damascus sent reinforcements to the Bekaa Valley and launched an attack against IDF troops; but the Israel Air Force destroyed most of Syria’s missiles batteries in Lebanon, shooting down 27 Syrian fighter jets in the...

What was the 1982 Lebanon war all about? What was Ariel Sharon's role?

In 1970, after a bitter battle with the Jordanian military, the PLO moved its headquarters from Jordan to Lebanon. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians followed, and the existing camps in Lebanon were soon crowded with refugees. Lebanon played a regional role, and was soon a key focal point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

With hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees living in Beirut and southern Lebanon, much of the governing, from schools and hospitals to licensing and legal systems, was taken over by the PLO. From 1975 Lebanon was stuck in a bloody civil war, pitting sectarian and religious factions against each other. Palestinian guerrillas and Israeli troops also continued to trade rocket fire across the Israeli-Lebanese border. In 1978, Israel took over a strip of southern Lebanon, and continued to occupy it in defiance of UN Resolution 425 which called for Israel to immediately and unconditionally withdraw. Instead of withdrawing, Israel sponsored an anti-Palestinian Christian-led militia, called the South Lebanon Army, by arming, paying, training and supporting them in the occupied zone.

Israel's real goal was to destroy the PLO infrastructure—social as well as military—in Lebanon, and to put in place a compliant, pro-Israeli regime in Beirut. In 1982, when it appeared that Lebanon's civil war could drag on forever without those goals being achieved, Israel decided to move on its own. But first Tel Aviv needed to be sure its allies in Washington would approve.

It was a little bit tricky. After all, the U.S.-brokered ceasefire between Israel and the PLO in south Lebanon and across Israel's northern border had held for almost a year. There wasn't an obvious provocation on which to claim that a direct Israeli invasion was "necessary for self-defense." In May 1982, Israel's Defense Minister Ariel Sharon went to Washington, to meet with President Reagan's Secretary of State Alexander Haig. Former President Jimmy Carter said after a national security briefing that "the word I got from very knowledgeable people in Israel is that 'we have a green light from Washington'."

Then a new provocation was created. On June 3, a renegade, anti-PLO Palestinian faction attempted to assassinate Israel's ambassador in London. The British police immediately identified Abu Nidal's forces as responsible, and revealed that PLO leaders themselves were among the names on the...


Clinton's Ex-partners Guilty

Clinton May Face Political Damage

WASHINGTON — Throughout the long trial in Little Rock, Ark., President Clinton's top aides were monitoring developments virtually minute-by-minute.

They explained their close attention with a nearly unanimous assessment. If the defendants there were acquitted, Whitewater could disappear as a campaign-year scandal.

So when the succession of guilty verdicts was read out in the courtroom in Arkansas on Tuesday, there was clear disappointment at the White House. Whatever else comes out in the tangled saga of Whitewater, Clinton's advocates acknowledged Tuesday, the scandal now may shadow the president right up to Election Day in November.

The Whitewater scandal has been marked by confusion and complication. Congressional hearings produced no bombshells, and politicians from both parties agreed the public was paying little attention.

But Tuesday's verdicts, in a case where the president appeared as a witness for the defense, produced the kind of clarity that had not previously existed: convictions of Clinton's former business partners, James and Susan McDougal, and the man who succeeded him as governor of Arkansas, Jim Guy Tucker.

''I think it has the potential to be a very significant event,'' said Earl Black, a political science professor at Rice University. ''I think it will be interpreted as a situation in which the president's word was not persuasive to a jury of his own state.''

The verdicts by themselves do not redefine the presidential race between Clinton and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole. But they keep alive gnawing questions that have plagued Clinton since the Whitewater case first unfolded and provide Republicans with a fresh opportunity to press the public to make character and credibility central issues this fall.

Although Clinton was not a defendant in the case, he stands to suffer politically from Tuesday's verdicts. While the White House and Democratic defenders pointed out that the case had nothing to do with the Whitewater land deal the Clintons and McDougals participated in, Republicans countered that his past business relationship with the McDougals - and his appearance as a witness for the defense - made him a central figure in the proceedings.

''It says to the American people there were some crimes committed here,'' said Greg Stevens, a Republican political consultant. ''The public doesn't understand the issue or what went on, but it's not a...

Clinton Pardons Susan McDougal


...and then, on President Clinton's last day in office in January 2001

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Susan McDougal, who served time for fraud convictions stemming from the failed Whitewater land deal, said Saturday that President Clinton's pardon reinforced her assertion that she is innocent.

In one of his final acts as president, Clinton pardoned 140 people, including three other people convicted during investigations linked to Whitewater: former Whitewater real estate agent Chris Wade, university professor Stephen A. Smith, and former Madison Guaranty appraiser Robert W. Palmer.

Not on the list were McDougal's former husband, James McDougal, who was convicted in the same 1996 trial and died while serving his prison sentence; former Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, who was convicted with the McDougals, and Webster Hubbell, a former law partner of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Justice Department official.

A jury convicted Susan McDougal, a former business partner of the Clintons, of four counts of fraud in a 1996 trial.

She served 18 months for contempt for refusing to answer questions about Clinton, then three months of a two-year sentence on the fraud convictions before being sentenced to time served and released because of health problems.

``I am so grateful,'' McDougal said Saturday in a telephone interview from a friend's house in Arkadelphia. ``There are tears down my face right now. I don't think I stopped crying since I saw the announcement.''

Tucker served 18 months' home detention for the 1996 convictions, but still has appeals pending in the case.

Hubbell, who was a law partner of Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Rose Law firm in Little Rock, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison over his billing practices at the firm. He did not seek a pardon.

Until word of her pardon arrived, McDougal said she was uncertain whether Clinton would grant her clemency.

``It might have been human nature to hold some anger toward me because the investigation had to do with business dealings my husband and I had with them,'' McDougal said.

She said the pardon lifted a burden she'd carried since she was first investigated in 1986.

``I wasn't guilty. It's a horrible thing going through your life knowing you are innocent,'' McDougal said. ``This is a wonderful lifting of that stone that I had carried a long time.''

Although Wade was a salesman for Whitewater, his felony charges were unrelated to the business. He pleaded guilty in March 1995 to bankruptcy fraud...


Pilot Facing Adultery Charge Agrees to a General Discharge

MINOT, N.D. -- In a military morality play that captured the nation's attention, the country's first female B-52 pilot has agreed to accept the Air Force's offer of a general discharge rather than face a court-martial for adultery, lying and other charges.

The decision by the pilot, 1st Lt. Kelly Flinn, 26, represents a striking retreat from her stance of only days ago. Flinn had declared that if the Air Force refused to grant her an honorable discharge, she would face the military jury in a courtroom spectacle that neither side wanted.

If convicted on all charges, she could have been sentenced to nine and a half years.

But on Wednesday night, the Air Force informed Frank Spinner, Flinn's civilian lawyer, that Air Force Secretary Sheila Widnall would not grant an honorable discharge. Spinner calculated that the best he could get for his client was the general discharge. Throughout the night, her parents, her two brothers and Spinner pressed Flinn until she reluctantly acquiesced.

At a news conference at the Pentagon, Widnall said Thursday she had decided to grant a general discharge rather than the honorable discharge to protect the values of the Air Force.

"Although it is the adultery charge that has received the greatest public focus, it is the allegation of lack of integrity and disobedience to order that has been of principle concern to the Air Force," Widnall said. "It is primarily those allegations that have made an honorable discharge unacceptable."

Spinner, at a news conference at the Air Force base here in northern North Dakota, harshly accused the Air Force of bungling his client's case and branding her a criminal. But he also conceded that Thursday's decision allowed Flinn to move on.

"Lieutenant Flinn recognized that nobody was going to win ultimately in a trial, sort of like engaging in a civil war," he said. "There was going to be a lot of blood is spilled amongst people who really care about each other."

When she realized that the Air Force was not going to forgive her, Spinner added, "she had to modify her position to one that would at least save some face for the Air Force."

Mary Flinn, Flinn's mother, described the situation in more human terms. "At first Kelly was very, very much against this," Mrs. Flinn said. "She was pretty broken up. She wanted to fight, until we told her this was best. What good is it to become a convict and go to jail...

Lt. Kelly Flinn forced to quit; commander in chief skates

OPINION From 2013

I wonder how many people remember Lt. Kelly Flinn of the United States Air Force. In 1997, when Bill Clinton was our president and commander in chief, Lt. Flinn was the first female B-52 pilot and subject of a media circus involving sexual discrimination within the Air Force.

On June 29, 1989, Flinn was accepted by both the United States Air Force Academy and the Naval Academy. She chose to enter the Air Force as a member of the Class of 1993, and was considered to be one of the top cadets at the academy.

Lt. Flinn flew cap-10 and received the highest possible scores on all her evaluations and earned the designation of Distinguished Graduate of her class. In October 1995, Flinn spoke to several national military leaders, including Air Force chief of staff and secretary, concerning women in combat. That same month, Flinn was mission qualified for the B-52-H Stratofortess. By December, as deputy commander, she was planning and executing all aspects of the B-52 operations, including conventional and nuclear combat training. Flinn faced court martial on May 20, 1997, for military charges of adultery. She was allowed to resign from the Air Force rather than a dishonorable discharge.

I now wonder how many times our commander in chief had affairs in the White House. Cheating and lying to not only his wife and his daughter, but the people of the United States. Now we can see him laughing and smiling through his teeth on TV with people applauding him and scrambling to buy his book. He is laughing all the way to the bank with millions made from the American public. Ask yourself with an open and honest mind, would you tolerate this type of behavior from your spouse? Why should our president be treated any different than Lt. Kelly Flinn?

The commander in chief lies to his family, the federal grand jury and the American people. Is this not a double standard, or are we being a bunch of hypocrites? If this were a Republican in the White House you can only imagine what the outcome would be.



Nigerian president declares state of emergency


State of Emergency in 2013

Nigeria's president declared a state of emergency Tuesday across the country's troubled northeast, promising to send more troops to fight an increasingly violent Islamic insurgency.

Islamist sect Boko Haram -- whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the Hausa language of Nigeria's north -- has intensified its attacks on security forces and government targets in its northeast stronghold this month, prompting President Goodluck Jonathan to declare a state of emergency in certain states.

Last week, dozens of Boko Haram fighters in buses and machine gun-mounted trucks laid siege to the town of Bama, in Borno, killing 55, mostly police and other security forces, and freeing more than 100 prison inmates. Days earlier, scores were killed in the fishing village of Baga, also in Borno, on the shores of Lake Chad, when troops from Nigeria, Niger and Chad raided it looking for Islamists. Local residents said soldiers were responsible for many civilian deaths.

 President Jonathan, speaking live on state radio and television networks, also warned that any building suspected to house Islamic extremists would be taken over in what he described as the "war" now facing Africa's most populous nation. However, it's unclear what the emergency powers will do to halt the violence, as a similar past effort failed to stop the bloodshed.

"It would appear that there is a systematic effort by insurgents and terrorists to destabilize the Nigerian state and test our collective resolve," Jonathan said.

Jonathan said the order will be in force in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. He said the states would receive more troops, though he will not remove state politicians from their posts. Under Nigerian law, the president has the power to remove politicians from their posts and install a caretaker government in emergency circumstances.

The president's speech offered a stark vision of the ongoing violence, often downplayed by security forces and government officials for political reasons. Jonathan described the attacks as a "rebellion," at one point describing how fighters had destroyed government buildings and "had taken women and children as hostages."

"Already, some northern parts of Borno state have been taken over by groups whose allegiance are to different flags than Nigeria's," Jonathan said.

The president later added: "These actions amount to a declaration of war and a...

Nigeria: Reps to Debate Jonathan's Request for Extension of Emergency Rule Wednesday


...and now in 2014

The House of Representatives will on Wednesday debate President Goodluck Jonathan's request for extension of the state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, has said.

Mr. Tambuwal stated this at plenary on Tuesday in Abuja when he read the President's letter of request.

Mr. Jonathan, relying on the provisions of Section 305(6) (c) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), said in spite of the pending emergency rule, "the security situation in the three states remained daunting".

"Honourable members, the security situation in the three states remains daunting albeit to varying degrees in the face of persistent attacks by members of the Boko Haram sect on civilian and military targets with alarming casualty rates," the letter read.

The president urged the lawmakers to consider and approve by resolution, the extension of the proclamation of the state of emergency in the affected states by a further term of six months from the date of expiration of the current term.

Mr. Jonathan had proclaimed a state of emergency in the three states on May 14, 2013, following onslaughts by members of the Boko Haram sect.

The emergency rule was extended for another six months, beginning from November 12, 2013 after same was approved by the National Assembly.

The president requires both chambers of the National Assembly to support the extension before it can become legal.

While Mr. Jonathan has called for an extension, critics of the emergency rule say it has not hindered the Boko Haram from continuing their terror activities.

Over 2000 people have been killed in Boko Haram-related activities in 2014 alone.