Monday, July 31, 2006

Israeli Attacks Strengthen Hezbollah

Israel has taken the bait. The obvious targeting of civilians in Lebanon has only harmed Hezbollah —if at all —in a very superficial way. In the long, term Hezbollah is strengthened now that it can point to a credible Israeli threat to all of Lebanon.

As recently as April, 2005, Daniel Byman in Foreign Affairs wrote:

Most of Lebanon's ethnic and religious communities want Syria to leave, and even some Lebanese Shiites joined the recent anti-Syrian protests. Hezbollah has always tried to remain above Lebanon's communal fray, portraying itself as a resistance movement that transcends petty politics. But by opposing the cross-communal alliance against Syria, the Party of God has been undercutting its claims as a national organization.

...

Hezbollah can no longer use its anti-Israel campaign to win broad popular support.

Daniel Byman, Hezbollah's Dilemma

Until now!

Byman pointed out that Hezbollah had enjoyed considerable popularity throughout Lebanon and that no Lebanese government was likely to bring Hezbollah to heel in the foreseeable future. Less so now! Hezbollah seems to be alone in its suprisingly stiff opposition to the Israeli incursion; it's position is, therefore, strengthened. With more to lose on this gamble, Israel is weakened.

Byman stated, in 2005, that "...U.S. attempts to compel an independent Lebanese government to crack down on the party would likely backfire. " Had anyone considered what kind of "backfire" might be caused by a disproportionate attack on Lebanon by Israel?

By 1985, Lebanon —the most peaceful of Mediterranean countries, the region's best hope for democracy —had become very nearly synonymous with war and violence. Beirut had been called the Paris of the Middle East. Israel's incursion into Lebanon was, we were told, intended to drive out the PLO. But, in that decade, Lebanon suffered a disproportionate share of death, violence and destruction —much more so than it its neighbors Syria and Israel. Mere numbers cannot begin to tell the complete story of Israel's occupation of Lebanon, an occupation of some 20 years, an occupation from which Lebanon was just recently recovering.

Some still hold out hope that Israel will withdraw. Some still hold out hope for peace even as conservatives talk of WWIII and, in the case of George Will on ABC, a "...cascading escalation". But, realistically, there is little hope for a quick return to even the reviled status quo ante short of some acknowledgment of the privations and destruction forced on Lebanon over a period of some 30 years.

Rice visited the war zone with double talk about status quo antes and false hopes of a "lasting peace" amid an on-going crisis. It is too much, therefore, to ask of the nations of the world that they rally behind Bush who lacks a plan to rally 'round.

It is not realistic to expect that Bush —who lied about Iraq in order to attack and invade that nation —can lead the Middle East out of its morass. Bombs and firepower are no substitute for moral authority.

It cannot be hoped, therefore, that Bush's regime can act as an honest broker in the Middle East. Nevertheless, the best hope for the avoidance of a larger war is that —despite Bush, despite Rice —the international community step up to the plate to urge Israel to acknowledge its civilian Lebanese victims.






The Existentialist Cowboy

17 comments:

Ang said...

It is not realistic to expect that Bush —who lied about Iraq in order to attack and invade that nation —can lead the Middle East out of its morass.

Awwwwww come on. Have a little faith. Give him another year or two to really prove himself able to run this country and be the leader he claims he is.

Unknown said...

I will spare you my stock reply having to do with out of work commedians. LOL

Anonymous said...

Yes, Beirut used to be called the Paris of the Middle East, and Lebanon was known as the Switzerland of the Middle East. What tragedies Israel has wrought on this beautiful country over the past thirty or so years, as if Israel cannot tolerate a prosperous and peaceful Arabic country at its border.

Sebastien Parmentier said...

Latest pearl from Bush's mouth:

"We get oil from parts of the world where people don't necessarily like us."

Isn't that sad?

Fuzzflash said...

Moment Of Truth For Maccas.

Hype faded for embattled global hamburger franchiser, Macdonalds, as Israel's war on Lebonon continues unabated. A visibly distressed corporation spokesperson, Hamish McFlack, said earlier today, "Never before have two countries who sell our wares gone to war. This breach of trust demolishes one of the tenets underpinning our core business model and founding philosophies."
Business in Beirut has dedeclined alarmingly over the preceeding weeks as laser guided precision "smart bombs" have inexplicably gone astry, causing massive collateral damage to younger patrons lured outdoors in response to an advertising blitzkrieg for Macdonald's grounbreaking "3 for 1 SuperSale". Hamburger Universities worldwide have closed their teaching kitchens as a mark of respect and stood down all academic uberchefs. Expecting a massive global decline in sales and a concommittant PR nightmare, the outfit's mascot, Ronald, has pre-emptively distanced himself and has signed with Fox. He is expected to debut in the new season's Simpsons as Krusty's sidekick.
Mr.McHack added,"Our founding fathers assured us that we are not really in the business of selling burgers, what we are all about is Real Estate. So I guess this kind of thing comes with the territory....."

Unknown said...

if Israel cannot tolerate a prosperous and peaceful Arabic country at its border.

And "defensible borders" is beginning to look like a euphemism for "land grab".

Jennie said...

--Had anyone considered what kind of "backfire" might be caused by a disproportionate attack on Lebanon by Israel?--

"Backfire"?? Bushco is the King of Backfire. No need to consider the type of backfire, because with our leader, the US is tops in manufacturing any international event that ultimately backfires any common idea of peace anywhere. Just look at Iraq. Oh, and Afganistan. Is there an award or trophy we can proudly display in the Capitol rotunda to show the world we are tops in Backfires?

Hmmmm... The way this Israeli attack occurred makes me wonder how much the King of Backfire was involved in encouraging this encounter??? Who's fingerprints are on those "smart bombs"?

Anonymous said...

Condoleezza Rice is fond of spicing up her international conversations with a bit of Latin to make her appear more "edjeecated" to we trailer-park types. Not to mention a merciless talking-point recycler, who wrests every diversion back on message like Yngwie Malmsteen used to play guitar (competently, but every song was a 30-minute lead solo). The Arabs and Persians see right through her.

Yes, it was funny to hear Bush (AKA the Texas Turnip, with apologies to the state) understate the case when he suggested "we get oil from parts of the world that don't necessarily like us". As long as he's speaking of himself and his administration, he can add this one to the list.

Unknown said...

I just deleted another post. It was a series of several links to bigoted, white pride, anti semitic bunkum.

It was filled with hate and venom...for almost everyone except, maybe, WASP RR's! This was mindless prejudice and Nazi racism at its most offensive.

That crap gets deleted!

Unknown said...

Condoleezza Rice is fond of spicing up her international conversations with a bit of Latin to make her appear more "edjeecated" to we trailer-park types.

I'll bet she googled it before she used it.

Not to mention a merciless talking-point recycler,

It may have been Condo who coughed up the "...no one could have foreseen" defense as a blanket innoculation for endemic incompetence —past, present, and future. Very neat! Her rumored lover —Bush himself —was so enamored of it, that he told Diane Sawyer: "No one could have foreseen that the levies would fail...."

In fact, everyone but Bush had foreseen precisely that. Nat'l Geographic had even done a very astute and prescienct documentary about it. Bush was obviously watching Pox...uh...FOX and missed it.

benmerc said...

Don't forget that ever precious H2O...

Unknown said...

he way this Israeli attack occurred makes me wonder how much the King of Backfire was involved in encouraging this encounter??? Who's fingerprints are on those "smart bombs"?

You are not alone in that opinion, jen. I've heard network pundits state without qualification that Bush gave Olmert a "greenlight". In this case, "greenlight" is a code word for "conspired"! When crimes are concerned, people don't collaborate, they "conspire".

Anonymous said...

What a wonderfully evocative phrase is "plausible deniability". As Leader Of The Free World, I merely have to convince you, the public, that I was too stunned to know what was actually happening, and I get a free pass!!

It will be very interesting to see what leaks out to the public if the Republicans lose their stranglehold on secrecy.

Sebastien Parmentier said...

Fluctuat Nec mergitur!

Sebastien Parmentier said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sebastien Parmentier said...

It's not even a matter of debate if Israel obtained got any kind of greenlight or not. It goes just without saying that Tel Aviv woudn't even proceed into their bombing campaign without a iota of US approval, or just a mere "whatever dude, do your thing!".

Israel is so completely dependant on the US for their very economic or simply mere survival that Olmert must have done at leat a phone call to Bush prior any israeli F-16 living the ground. if he hadn't, Bush would have probably been still polites about the whole thing but not as supportive as he has done in the past two weeks!

First, a huge shipment of missile was rotting in US warehouses whose suppliers needed a bit of work. (and Iraq only has street war going on, alas!); plus. considering that Israel is borderline another US states, which makes their enemey our enemy per se (See Condi, I can do it too), and considering that 5 of 6 or 7 (who knows exacly?) billions of our tax dollars goes to finance any Israeli military moves, the US HAS GOT to be asked by Isreal for any military adventures from the jewish state. it's not even a matter of diplomacy: IT'S AN ORDER!

No one has to be guessing anything or to be fervent in foreign policy in order to fully understand these concepts. Trust me, arab streets know these fact as good as Mohamed (peace be on him - as they say) is the prophet of the Islamic religion.

The war in Lebanon is just another proxy war between the US and Iran, period. The US has a heck of an experience in these kind of wars; and it's so funny how these proxy wars always follow another American quagmire. Plus the US has got so good at making the world believe that she has nothing to do with it, despite the confusing US aid raining over civilians at the same time as US mad(e) bombs.

When American is streched militarily, and another "American interest" is being threaten, America makes a few phone calls... and newspapers get filled with another round of Armaggedon-is-coming-soon.

Anonymous said...

Your use of Latin sent shivers down my spine - Condi better sleep with one eye open. However, I venture to suggest you have the U.S.-Israeli relationship backwards, in terms of who takes orders from whom.

It'd be nice to believe the U.S. was the puppet-master and Israel the puppet, probably a few in Congress who should know better DO believe it.
Nonetheless, it should be clear from
that embarrassing fiasco of the U.S. pretending to be trying to cobble together a cease-fire, and then being told to hang a zipper on their collective lip by Israel.

If further evidence is needed, it can be seen in the Israelis allowing Condi to be blindsided by their latest bombing atrocity. She looked like she swallowed a Corona bottle. That's not how you treat your friends, or even a respected enemy.

“ If we don't stop behaving like the British Empire, we will end up like the British Empire”

Patrick J. Buchanan, in The American Conservative

“We have all some experience of a feeling, that comes over us occasionally, of what we are saying and doing having been said and done before, in a remote time - of our having been surrounded, dim ages ago, by the same faces, objects, and circumstances - of our knowing perfectly what will be said next, as if we suddenly remember it.”

Charles Dickens, from "David Copperfield"