Monday, July 24, 2006

Lebanon war continues

Things are still going cruddy in Lebanon.  I haven’t paid a lot of attention this weekend, just enough to know it’s still going on and Israel is still pushing into the southern part of the country.

I think we all know that Iran and Syria had something to do with this, at least in the sense of providing support for Hezbollah, but this statement at the end of an article from India provides some context that puts suspicion in it’s place.

      Above all, the kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah took place on 12th July, the deadline set by the international community for the Iranian acceptance of the multilateral proposal for the nuclear standoff. Since then the crisis along the Israel-Lebanese border, and not Iran’s suspected nuclear ambitions, has dominated the international agenda. Even the meeting of G8 leaders in St. Petersburg that was supposed to evolve a consensus stand vis-a-vis Iran was hijacked by the new crisis.

That’s interesting.  So Iran might have planned this in order to deflect attention from what they are up to.  If so, they are probably selling out Hezbollah for their own interests, as Israel might just pull off eradicating them this time.  At least they are strongly motivated and serious to do so.

It also shows continuing depth to what the international community is thinking regarding the conflict.  There is definitely not the united chorus against Israel this time around, although there is still some of that.  There is a ubiquitous recognition that Hezbollah bears a lot of blame here.

Contrary to some sensationalists, this is not yet WWIII.  Yes, there is a war on terrorists, sponsored by the U.S.  and yes there is a war in Lebanon.  However, this is far from worldwide in scope, and as this editorial argues, we can’t take our eye off the nuclear ball in Iran and N. Korea.  Because it could turn into world war without western resolve in those arenas.

As for Israel, I’ve stated many times to friends that I sympathize with what Israel is going through here, i.e. we’ve had enough and we’re not going to take it any more.  The fact that they are killing innocent Lebanese, to a certain extent can’t be held against them, otherwise you would have to blame America and England for bombing Dresden or Hiroshima.  There’s always going to be collateral damage in war, even if you are trying to target military installations or Hezbollah outposts only.

Although you could defend the WWII allies somewhat by blaming all Germans collectively for putting Hitler into power, I don’t think you can say that of the Lebanese.  They have had events more or less thrust upon them.

This article by David Horowitz takes issue with the claim that Lebanon is innocent in all this.  He points out that Lebanon hosts Hezbollah and has for years.  Hezbollah has a significant presence in the government, and continues to get supplied through the Syrian border, which Lebanon seems to allow.

However, I think Horowitz is being unfair to the Lebanese.  It ignores the fact that Lebanon was occupied by Syria for well over a decade.  During that time, Lebanese hatred of Hezbollah has grown and their desire for freedom and democracy increased.  But Hezbollah has been in place for quite a while, and was strengthened by the Syrian occupation.  Now they are better armed than the Lebanese army, and after decades of civil war, the last thing Lebanon wants is another one.

It’s true that Hezbollah has a large presence in the government, but they have a pretty sizable population in southern Lebanon, and in a truly representative government, you are going to have some representation by all major groups.  Would democracy be served by excluding groups of people, even if you didn’t agree with what they stood for?  (Temper that with the fact that a democracy just might decide that a certain group defies everything your country stands for and you might have justification for exclusion.  I.E. if a party running in the U.S. had violence and distinct anti-constitutional values on it’s platform you might see censure here)

Give them a break, they’re getting bombed currently.

Other news:
Israel would agree to international forces on the border, but make them NATO, not UN.
Condi Rice made a visit to Beirut on her way to Israel.  She declared Aid for Lebanon in the wake of the war, but didn’t say anything significant toward Israel and their role in all that.  Which is telling.

Syria wants to talk, but their opening bargaining chip is that they want Israel to give up Golan Heights.  Yeah, whatever.  Call us back when you have a serious offer.

No comments: