Saturday, August 12, 2006

Wrong Photo Caption 1

Starting 6th August GettyImages had an image in their gallery with an awfully wrong caption:

The caption read: Tyre, LEBANON: Rockets fired from Israel are seen falling in the outskirts of the southern Lebanese port city of Tyre, 06 August 2006. [...]

This of course is untrue, what we´re looking at is Hezbollah rockets getting launched, as evident by their motors firing. Fortunately, GettyImages corrected their mistake after 3 or 4 days, as can be seen here.

A snapshot of the original wrong version is also available: Link

Use of cluster bombs by the IDF

On Forums I frequent it was often suggested that Israel indiscriminately uses cluster bombs in the war. Known facts don´t support this assumption.
First off, from a military standpoint, what the Israeli Air Force is mainly hitting are point targets (houses, bridges, single launchers etc.), for which cluster bombs are of limited use. They are meant to be used against area targets and troop concentrations, which Hezbollah of course avoids (and that easily, blending among the civilan population).
Secondly, there has been no footage of unexploded bomblets or cluster bomb impacts so far (or any other proof for that matter), suggesting that the use, if at all, is very limited.

The only cluster ammunition confirmed to be currently used by the IDF is the M483A1 DPICM artillery shell, containing 88 Submunitions. It can be fired by the M109 based self propelled guns in the IDF inventory. A picture of the ammunition can be found at HWR´s website .
In a report on the dangers of UXOs to friendly forces, the US Army estimates the dud rate to be 5%, while human rights watch estimates it at 14%.
It is currently not known how large the portions of DPICM shells vs. "conventional" shells fired is, I suspect they´re mainly used for counter battery fire.
For further info about the kind of submunition used in M483A1 see the Database on Demining Accidents and Victims here , describing a yugoslav copy of the M42 submunition.

Conclusion: While it is confirmed that cluster munitions are used, the area of their used is limited, specifically to the border region that israeli artillery can reach. The intensitiy of their use is currently unknown. The submunitions produce duds possibly dangerous to everyone who approaches them.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Destruction in Beirut

Media reports often suggested that a large part of Beirut was destroyed. A few satellite images were published ( here ), on the first look giving the impression that a huge part of the city was flattened. Comparing this area with the whole city of Beirut though clearly shows that those images in fact don´t support the "Beirut destroyed" theory. Quite to the opposite, a certain area appears to have been destroyed selectively, but the surrounding structures look unscathed. What we´re looking at is the Haret Hreik quater, said to be a Hezbollah stronghold ( for example here ).

Destruction of Haret Hreik in satellite imagery ( (c) Digital Globe)

The same area marked in Google Earth:

Medium Distance:
And whole city view:

Conclusion: It appears that only few parts of Beirut have been destroyed. The most prominent part Haret Hreik, mentioned the most in the media in connection with the bombing of Beirut ( see also Google hits ) , is pictured above and represents only a small fraction of the city area.

First Post

Hello Everyone,
with this blog I´ll try to collect facts about the ongoing conflict in the middle east, mainly correcting mistakes made in the media. Unlike some other blogs I want to try to do this in a unbiased and more rational way. Unfortunately, on many other blogs a real witchhunt has begun, going over the top with accusations against liberals, the MSM etc.
I want to expose mistakes in the media, but I don´t consider myself "at war" with them, a rethoric other blogs are using.