Sunday, July 30, 2006

On Israel, Lebanon, Hizbollah

I've been busy working on several projects and haven't had the time to write a long item on the "situation." But Tony Karon has been reading my mind, so to speak, and has raised some of the arguments I've been discussing for quite a while. In "Is Israel Fighting a Proxy War for Washington?" he stresses that Bush and Condi have not only given a "green light" to Israel in Lebanon; that they have encouraged that (“Don’t hold back on our account, in fact, make sure you finish them off…”"). And he points out that:
I’ve always maintained that the “pro-Israel” position of the Bush administration, formulated and influenced by hardline American Likudniks (whom, it must be said, are hardly representative of mainstream Israeli thinking) is actually fundamentally bad for Israel. Its infantile, aggressive maximalism precludes Israel from doing what it will take to live at peace with its surroundings, instead demanding a confrontational approach in keeping with Jabotinsky’s “Iron Wall” in which Israel’s survival depends on crush and humiliating the Arabs. Bush may talk the language of “Arab liberation,” but his contempt for Arab democracy is plain — just look at his response to the Hamas election victory. His administration appears to be dedicated to a remaking of the Middle East on America’s terms through violent social engineering. The depth of their failure in Iraq appears not to have deterred them from another adventure in Lebanon, this time using Israel as their agent of “change.” (read the rest)

And Karon writes:
I can’t help thinking that for all of the enthusiasm of the neocon Likudniks, the Bush administration’s “New Middle East” policy is not only bad for the Arabs; it’s bad for Israel, too.

Also recommended is Karon's "Six Fallacies of the U.S. Hizballah Campaign." Here are the six fallacies:
Flawed Assumption #1: Hizballah Can Be Militarily Eliminated
Flawed Assumption #2: If Lebanon is Made to Pay a Heavy Price, It Will Turn on Hizballah
Flawed Assumption #3 (My personal favorite!): The Crisis Offers an Opportunity for the U.S. to Rally Arab Support Against Hizballah and Iran
awed Assumption # 4: Syrian Cooperation Can Be Acquired Cost-Free
Flawed Assumption #5: The Middle East’s Crises Can be Addressed in Piecemeal Fashion
Flawed Assumption #6: Israeli Interests are U.S. Interests ((and read the rest.)

I'm beginning to consider the possibility that contrary to the predictions by Tom Friedman and other Nasrallah will emerge from this crisis more like Sadat after the 1973 war and not like Nasser after the 1967 war.


Anonymous said...

Karon is on to something. Bush is using Israel more than the other way around. Bush knows everyone thinks otherwise though. In truth, both leaderships are doing what they want to, but there is no doubt that Bush is supportive of this attack!

Look forward to seeing you tonight on C-Span.

spfldnet said...

After reviewing, the conspiracy theorists radical perspective seems slightly more plausible. One can follow the weapons trade and easily draw the conclusion that there is nothing behind this but profiteering, and this politics is nothing but subterfuge.

blowback said...

Richard Engel (MSNBC Beirut) has written an article entitled "Hezbollah fighters emerge from the shadows". As usual the money shot, to me, is at the end.

Staying put
After Monday, I would be surprised if there will be any people still living in Qana other than a few young men. But, the young men kept saying, “We have to stay here. We are not going to make the same mistake as the Palestinians made,” referring to the Palestinians in 1948 who largely left their land when Israel come into being.

That’s the way they view this conflict. That if they don’t stay in their homes they will be forced to become refugees. It’s seen in real apocalyptic terms like that.

While I don't want to get into a discussion about whether the Palestinians left their lands or were driven off, these Lebanese obviously regard this battle as existential which goes some way to explaining the ferocity with which they are fighting but this view frames what they (and in the end much of the Arab world) may regard as victory. Not that Hezbollah, Nasrallah or they survive but that their people remain on their land.