July 17, 2006
Is It Israel Against Hezbollah Or The West Against Islamofascism And Arab Appetite?Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives
Is Israel's fight against just Hezbollah and Hamas, or is it actually fighting what can only be described as an Islamic and Arab appetite for power? Should Israel have treated "Hezbollahland" as a separate country and left Lebanon alone? Is Israel fighting a fight for Western civilization and against Islamofascism?
The always insightful Michael J. Totten offers up a a perspective that Israel should be listening to:
There is no alternate universe where the Lebanese government could have disarmed an Iranian-trained terrorist/guerilla militia that even the Israelis could not defeat in years of grinding war. There is no alternate universe where it was in Lebanon's interest to restart the civil war on Israel's behalf, to burn down their country all over again right at the moment where they finally had hope after 30 years of convulsive conflict and Baath Party overlordship.Continue reading...
The Lebanese government should have asked for more help from the international community. The Lebanese government should have been far less reactionary in its attitude toward the Israelis. They made more mistakes than just two, but I'd say these are the principal ones.
What should the Israelis have done instead? They should have treated Hezbollahland as a country, which it basically is, and attacked it. They should have treated Lebanon as a separate country, which it basically is, and left it alone. Mainstream Lebanese have no problem when Israel hammers Hezbollah in its little enclave. Somebody has to do it, and it cannot be them. If you want to embolden Lebanese to work with Israelis against Hezbollah, or at least move in to Hezbollah's bombed out positions, don't attack all of Lebanon.
Israel should not have bombed Central Beirut, which was almost monolithically anti-Hezbollah. They should not have bombed my old neighborhood, which was almost monolithically anti-Hezbollah. They should not have bombed the Maronite city of Jounieh, which was not merely anti-Hezbollah but also somewhat pro-Israel.
Israelis thinks everyone hates them. It isn't true, especially not in Lebanon. But they will make it so if they do not pay more attention to the internal characteristics of neighboring countries. "The Arabs" do not exist as a bloc except in the feverish dreams of the Nasserists and the Baath.
After reading Totten's perspective on the present Israeli incursion into Lebanon, I looked around at other inputs from various writers, eventually landing on an NY Sun opinion piece by translater, essayist and political analyst Hillel Halkin (not for its analytical aspects as much as the information it contained - such as Siniora's stance and the potential for the Lebanese military to affect what Trotten refers to as Hezbollahland).
Halken suggests that even as the fighting escalates, Israel has won the war against the Hezbollah in Lebanon (on this many, including myself, are certain to disagree), and it must now do everything it can to ensure that it does not, as it has done after military victories in the past, lose the war's aftermath.
When the president of Lebanon, Fuad Siniora, in a Saturday night speech and press conference, stated that Lebanon is prepared, following a ceasefire, to "extend the state's authority over all its territories, in cooperation with the United Nations in southern Lebanon," he was publicly declaring that Israel's major war aims have been almost entirely met. If the Lebanese government is indeed now ready to send its army south to the Israeli border, as it has refused to do since Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000, and to see to it that Hezbollah ceases its military operations there, every shell fired and every bomb dropped by Israel in the past days will have been worthwhile.If true, that Lebanon is prepared, following a ceasefire, to "extend the state's authority over all its territories (hearing Siniora speak to Fox News on the phone, one would believe that he is quite protective of Iran and Syria, and even Hezbollah, while blaming Israel for everything related to the current situation in Lebanon - perhaps not yet ready to have his military face down Hezbollah) , in cooperation with the United Nations in southern Lebanon," then "one" of Israel's major war aims may have been met. If the Lebanese military has the ability to deal with Hezbollah (and that's a very big "if"), then the Lebanese army should indeed be placed along the blue line, along with UN troops, between Hezbollahland and Israel and between Hezbollahland and Lebanon (also with UN troops). However, on the issue of a ceasefire - that's a big nyet!
The problem with the Lebanese army has never been military. Although it may not be a powerful force, it has more than enough power to whip Hezbollah soundly in any armed confrontation. The problem has been a lack of political will. What has kept the army in Beirut is the threat of the civil conflict that Hezbollah has threatened to unleash should its grip on southern Lebanon be challenged.
If President Siniora is now seriously prepared to face this threat down, Israel should do everything to help him. It can do this by trying as quickly as possible to work out with him, with the active assistance of America, the terms of a ceasefire and the implementation of the new Lebanese policy announced by him.
Hezbollah has not yet suffered suficient damage, Hezbollahland has not yet been completely destroyed, and Iran and Syria have not yet been made to be held accountable on the world stage for their continued anti-civilizational behavior and support of world wide terror.
And even more importantly, now, at a time when the world is begining to stand up and say "enough already" (to a large degree, owing to Israel's actions in Lebanon) to terrorism and Islamofascism, when Islamofascism is finally being recognized by the world community and when Iran and Syria are finally being singled out openly by the world community for being what they are - rogue Islamofascist regimes and supporters of international terrorism, it's no time to pull back from keeping the pressure on Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran, and Syria - instead, it's time to increase it. After all, in the present Israeli military campaign we are seeing the effects of the nature of the Arab-Israel conflict, yet there is yet to be discussion of the determination of the Muslim states of the Middle East to wage jihad against the Jewish state until its dissolution, no recognition that Israel's existence constitutes a theological scandal to its neighbors who believe the proper role of Jews is as dhimmis, and no recognition that Iran and Syria continue to pull the strings of two of the four major influences (Iran, Syria, al-Qaeda, and Wahhabism) for the perpetuation and fermentation of this jihad against Israel (and agaisnt the West as well).
Trotten's observation that what is going on in Lebanon really has to do with Hezbollah and that Israel should focus its military attention to Hezbollahland and treat it as a country separate from Lebanon is right on target!
Back in a October 2005 Rael Jean Isaac's wrote a piece at Mideast Outpost that was critical of Halkin's "policy prescriptions," and some of Isaac's points are applicable today - as much to the situation in Lebanon as they are to the overall situation in the ME. Halkin's overall perspective (and much of the Western intellectual elite) rests upon underlying premise Israel must give up Judea, Samaria and Gaza both because it is necessary for Israel's welfare (a democratic Israel would be swamped by their huge Arab population) and because it is morally just (Palestinian Arabs have the right to self-determination).
As has been in Halkin's policy prescriptions and those of present day pundits, the Arab propaganda line continues to be swallowed which, after the Six Day War, redefined the conflict (for Western consumption) as one between Israel and a newly discovered Palestinian people. This is being carried out today in the context of the Iran and Syria - directed attacks on Israel by Hamas and Hezbollah, and subsequently what we're seeing in Lebanon.
For Halkin and most of today's Arab apologist pundits, Jews are pitted against Palestinians in "a complex and terrible drama in which no one is totally right, no one totally wrong, and no one totally beyond sympathy or reproach" (May 1980). According to Halkin "No Solomon could possibly judge between these two claims." But would such a judgment really be beyond the capacity of a Solomon? It is only because Halkin and others continues to falsely treat the Arabs of Palestine as if they had no connection to the Arabs of neighboring states - and as with Halkin, these pundits are unable to see what to Vladimir Jabotinsky was obvious seventy years ago: the claims of the Arabs were the claims of appetite. And that Arab appetite, and that of Islamofascism, has to do with power and Islamic supremacy over non-Islamists, just as much as it has to do with land occupied by the "evil jews."
With this in mind and within the context of both Trottens observations and Halkin's policy prescriptions, and of course the Arab-Israeli conflict itself as herein discussed, the time has come for Israel to tightly focus its military campaign on what Trotten refers to as Hezbollahland, while negotiating with Lebanon as a separate country. It's time for Israel to leave Lebanon alone - but attack Hezbollah and Syria - like there's no tomorow. It's time for International community to step in and support Israel while condemning Iran and Syria.
For if Israel and particularly the West - fail to do so, and Israel isn't allowed time to destroy Hezbollah and make Syria and Iran pay a price for their support of terrorism (preferably by calling attention to the actions of Syria and Iran rather than military conflict), then there may very well a lot fewer tomorows for the rest of us. Enough already. Either this is the begining of the end of Islamofascism, or its the begining of the end of civilization.
Posted by Richard at July 17, 2006 9:01 AM
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