Was Barak pleading to Gates: "How about your guys bust em"?
When the US marines were in and out of Lebanon in 1983-1984 some of those I met, when visiting their barracks with American journalist Janet Stevens, to discuss Israel's use of American cluster bombs against civilians, had the habit, as did sailors from the USS New Jersey, of referring to the Lebanese Capital simply as "Root." Or sometimes they would call it: "The Root" as in, "We came to "The Root" to kick some butt!"
The Marines were responsible for unexploded ordnance clearance in the area around Beirut airport while Italian, French and a small British force worked in adjoining areas of West Beirut, following the Israeli siege, which sometimes included intensive carpet shelling. The Marines did a creditable job in "their" area trying to make it safe for civilians and took 12 casualties, two fatal, from Israeli dropped American cluster bombs. Unfortunately President Reagan ordered the American forces to support the Israeli backed Phalange government of Amin Gemayel against the popular Lebanese resistance and the marines were soon viewed as being partisan participants in a domestic conflict. This led to the Marines departure following events of October 1983 and, despite recent Israeli proposals, it is fairly unlikely that either American or NATO forces will arrive in Lebanon anytime soon.
But Blackwater USA just might
Despite a series of publicly announced "disassociations" periodically issued from the media offices at the Pentagon and State Department, plus a couple of image polishing name changes including currently, Xe Services LLC ( Xe being short for Xena, the mythical goddess of war) the hydra headed Blackwater (BW), founded in 1997 by Erik Prince and Al Clark is still quite active.
BW continues to sign US tax payer funded contracts whilst spreading its tentacles around the region, ever scanning the horizon and sniffing out softer underbelly money makers to meet the payroll of its $500 per day operatives. Prince told the US Congress last year that his organization is "A professional organization serving as a solutions provider to the U.S. government. We operate in the defense, training, logistics, and intelligence spaces, priding ourselves on getting the job done right".
Two weeks ago in Leidschendam-Voorburg, which abuts The Hague and is the site of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Blackwater USA representatives looking to land a lucrative bounty hunter contract with the STL's registrar's office, preferred to label Hezbollah simply as "Bullahs'. Apparently it's some sort of BW macho lingo term from the organizations combat training bases in North Carolina and California. Some Blackwater mercenaries also used the "Bullahs" label in Iraq in addition to racist terms like "Ragheads", "Hajiis", and "Sand Niggers."
In addition, Black water representatives, presumably offering "to get the job done right," have reportedly met with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and will again during Barak's current visit to Washington. According to an email message from a Congressional Staffer who works for a Committee that receives intelligence briefings, BW has been getting cozy with Israel and may be in the process of setting up a BW "training center" in occupied Palestine north of Kabri which is about 20 miles south of UNIFIL's HQ in Naqoura along the Lebanon-Palestine "blue line'.
Barak, according to the same source, will meet on February 26 with National Security chief Tom Donilon and Dennis Ross to discuss Iran, Hezbollah the STL and the impact of recent regional events on the Israeli-Iranian strategic balance in the region. During his meetings with BW representatives his message to BW may be along the lines of "Hey, don't worry. We'll hold your coats" as Israel increasingly considers following the American lead and hires mercenaries to confront its enemies.
Barak may have a job for BW
Based on sources who attended the recent Special Tribunal for Lebanon media briefings, as well as sources in Congress and North Carolina, it appears that the STL Registrar's 1/17/11 announcement that the Court might be seeking help of the International community to arrest and deliver to the Hague those against whom Judge Daniel Frensen is widely expected to issue arrest warrants, is indeed generating applications.
Following the STL's implied job announcement, Blackwater's HQ, still based in Moyock, North Carolina was abuzz with talk of "business opportunities." According to a stringer for the Daily Southerner in nearby Tarboro, NC, who claims that she dates "BW special forces guys": "Who better to go after the terrorists with arrest warrants from that Court than our local Confederate bounty hunters par excellence?"
By the morning of 1/20/11 and again on 1/21/11, Blackwater representatives, who arrived two days earlier in The Hague on a flight from Israel, tried to convince the Office of the STL Registrar, and, that evening, anyone listening in the nearby Hilton Hotel Grand Cafe' Pearl, that Blackwater could do the job better than Interpol. All they needed to know was that the proposed per head bounty dollar amount was guaranteed and they would do the rest.
After a dinner of pan fried wild sea bass and enjoying bottles of German wine, the more they drank and partied, which reportedly lasted until the wee hours, the more the Blackwater reps claimed to actually relish a long overdue fight with "Bullahs." One BW operative, according to two Dutch journalists who were present for part of the evening, told the groups "tourist hostess" attractive dates, " when even one of them "Bullahs" needs to get his butt busted, cuffed, and dragged to the Hague, we can do the job young ladies! Ya got our word on that!"
Will Blackwater help Israel reoccupy Lebanon?
Ehud Barak's statements this week about Israel reoccupying south Lebanon might lead some to muse whether the defense minister perhaps forgot why, when he was prime minister, he ordered the precipitous Israeli nighttime stealth pullout, during which some local villagers claim they saw some elements of the Golani brigade literally skidding down the hill at Maron al Ras during the night of May 23, 2000 on their back sides as other IDF units fled across the exits points south of Aita Schab and Bint Jbeil with resistance fighters hot on their tails.