Friday, July 28, 2006

Middle East Musings, round II

While waiting for the next installment of the Parallax View to arrive Monday, ponder this idea o' mine regarding the war in Lebanon:

1. Israel is losing militarily. By losing I mean that they have discovered that Hezbollah is well-armed, well-trained, and willing to employ henious but ingenious tactics (such as using UN bases to launch rockets).

2. The tide of the "Arab street" is turning against Israel and the US. Hezbollah's success -- and images of civilians being killed -- have created a groundswell of support for Hezbollah's actions. There is the wiff of Che Guevara to Hezbollah's leader.

3. The UN peacekeeping force that the US and Britain are now proposing isn't going to work. Not only are there no countries volunteering to participate, it's impossible to foresee how a UN force would be any better at controlling Hezbollah than, say, Israel.

Face with these three undisputable facts, what can the US do?

Here's an idea that will never happen: the US could demand that Israel respect the sovereign territorial integrity of Lebanon, and demand that Israel refrain from creating a 'buffer zone' in South Lebanon. Imagine what would happen:

1. The world would be stunned, and the Arab Street would be, momentarily, confused as hell -- without fuel to feed the fire of US-Israel conspiracy theories, there would be chaos in response.

2. Hezbollah's political surge would be momentarily halted. The US could demand, in return for its surprise sell-out of its ally, that Hezbollah return the kidnapped soldiers immediately and cease firing rockets into Israel. The world's attention would be refocused on why this war started, i.e., Hezbollah's act of terrorism.

3. Israel would be furious -- sort of. The government would freak out publicly, but privately, this might provide the cover needed to pull out of what appears to be a growing military disaster.

I'm sure there are many, many reasons this is a bad idea. But can you think of a better one?


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