Israel vs. Lebanon

I know some people are wondering why I have not yet commented on the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah involving military actions in Lebanon and threatening statements to Hamas née Palestine, Syria, and especially Iran. Some decry the actions of Israel (no one is afraid to call it war), others decry what restraint Israel has shown in not spreading the military response to all of its attackers. Others wonder how the kidnapping and brutal murder of soldiers prompted such a response.

The Wall Street Journal had a pretty good response:

Israel's military invasion and naval blockade of Lebanon is being denounced in European capitals and at the United Nations as a “disproportionate” response to the kidnapping this week of two of its soldiers by Hezbollah. Israel's decision late last month to invade Gaza in retaliation for the kidnapping of another soldier by Hamas was also condemned as lacking in proportion. So here's a question for our global solons: Since hostage-taking is universally regarded as an act of war, what “proportionate” action do they propose for Israel?

To be perfectly honest I don't know what's going on over there nor do I have a deep understanding of the relationships of all the players. I understand Hezbollah and Hamas are terrorist organizations, propped up by other states via financial and military support. I know Lebanon is tantamount to a puppet state of Syria (a subject I touched upon when I discussed the assassination of Tafik Hariri).

On our own front, I've heard these accusations that this latest action is a proxy war between the US and Iran and I don't buy them. There are indications that Israel is a free agent and Iran certainly has its proxies fighting the US directly in Iraq. Even so, I can't help think of the Spanish Civil War, a conflict that presaged World War II. It was a proving ground for the tactics and equipment for the next war. I'm sure the military scholars are watching very closely.

After four days of conflict already, I can only hope that this does not escalate into a wide-scale conflict across the Middle East, but I notice the stock market already has a bad feeling about this. Already the US has become involved by vetoing a UN Security Council Resolution condemning Israel. Iran, Syria, and Palestine are certainly involved. Saudi Arabia and Egypt haven't done anything, as yet.

What worries me is that to attack Iran, Israel has to fly, drive, or fly over Iraq. I'm sure we're doing everything in our power to prevent that. If there's any reason to discount the “proxy war” accusation it's our commitment to stability to Iraq right now. If a conflict in Iran erupts into war it will prevent or delay any lasting peace or democracy in Iraq, especially if the Israelis come across the border.


Why I call this post “Israel vs. Lebanon”:

Major-General Gadi Eizenkot, head of the General Staff Operations Branch, said in a briefing held at the Kirya base in Tel Aviv that “In the evening hours we destroyed all of Lebanon’s coastal radars. The reason for the radars’ destruction was the part they played in the attack on an Israeli missile boat on Friday, in which one soldier was killed and another three went missing.”

Hezbollah, as an non-government organization, is a cover for Lebanese Islamic extremist actions, even if Lebanon is trying not to be a puppet of Syria. Somewhere between individuals and sovereign states lay these NGOs, and the response to them has to lie somewhere between police (for individuals) and armies (for states). Hezbollah has become too state-like to be handled by police, just as Hamas has realized when they came to power.

Josh Poulson

Posted Saturday, Jul 15 2006 08:48 AM

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