Sunday, July 16, 2006

Israel and Lebanon.

This Israel/Lebanon thing is degenerating further and further into sheer horror. The Israelis are now trying to drag Iran and Syria into this -- I really question the wisdom of antagonizing countries that may or may not have nuclear weapons and biological weapons.

I really don't have much to say beyond what I already have here. The Israelis have clearly gone right off the deep end and, as long as the US condones it, they will not be held accountable. The Lebanese are being caught in the crossfire. And, bizarrely, Hezbollah might actually be (somewhat) justified in their behaviour: they're only hitting military targets in a country they consider an enemy.

The justification is "somewhat" because a non-state entity attacking a state is, as far as I can tell, the definition of terrorism. Although, there is an interesting counter-argument here:
They are not terrorists. They carry out terrorist attacks, but they are not terrorists. They are something far more dangerous. They are fully functioning political, social, religious, and military organizations that use terrorism tactics, but they are far more formidible [sic] than terrorist groups like Al Qaeda or the Basque Terrorist Organization. They do have the resources and the personnel to project force, sustain operations, and cannot be easily defeated. Unlike the Egyptian and Syrian armies in 1973, Hamas and Hezbollah will not easily fold and cannot be defeated in a seven day war. If that is the assumption among some Israeli military planners it is a crazy fantasy.
This seems to presume that "terrorist" only applies to crazy kids with big guns. That sounds more like a gang or a mob to me. It strikes me that to really be a terrorist, you need the "political, social, religious and military" organization (or some reasonable subset thereof). Think of the IRA, for example.

Oh, and, of course, Prime Minister Stevie is doing us all proud.

Juan Cole's blog is pretty much the definitive source of what's going on in the Middle East. Here is a generally balanced backgrounder on the whole mess. And here is an interesting (if oddly apologetic for Israel) analysis that suggests the power Hezbollah is demonstrating will seriously harm Israel in the future.

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