June 23, 2007

A Warning from Gaza

By Michael J. Totten

Efraim Halevy writes about Hamas in the New Republic.
The handwriting was on the wall; everybody knew that there would be a showdown between Hamas and Fatah in the Gaza Strip; everybody knew that Hamas was the overriding force in that territory. In the Middle East where the "Mu'ahmara," the conspiracy, has been the leitmotif behind every catastrophe, the man in the street knew that the Americans and Israelis had been conspiring with Fatah, that Hamas had been conspiring with the Syrians and Iranians, and that the Saudis were toiling to get things on track and to move the entire region in the direction of moderation. But now, a week after the events that culminated in the takeover of the Strip by Hamas, people are just now overcoming their surprise.
Let’s see: the Americans are siding with a weak government compromised and undermined by militarily superior terrorists, the Syrians and Iranians are backing the terrorists, and the Saudis are trying to broker some kind of moderate compromise. Sound familiar? It should.

Here is Michael Young in Beirut’s Daily Star:

In recent days, some have suggested that Hizbullah intends to do in Lebanon, or part of Lebanon, what Hamas did in Gaza. The reality may be worse, if more subtle. A statement on Sunday by Hizbullah's Nabil Qaouk could be read as notification that the party might defend what he termed "Lebanon's unity" by force - shorthand for a military coup. Qaouk's warning that foreign observers should not deploy on the Lebanese-Syrian border, his describing such a project as "Israeli," his presumption that he had the right to impose a new "red line" on the state, all suggest a new mood in Hizbullah, one that is dangerous.

Hizbullah's attitude is only convincingly explained in the framework of Iran and Syria implementing a project to reclaim Lebanon, but more importantly perhaps to eliminate international, particularly Western, involvement in the Levant. After having won in Gaza, Tehran and Damascus are now pushing forward in South Lebanon. Their joint objective, regardless of their different priorities on other matters, appears to be to remove the Siniora government, undermine United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, and create a situation where the international community would have to accept a Syrian return to Lebanon, which would, by extension, scuttle the Hariri tribunal.

How would such a project be carried out? Here's one interpretation. The priority is to emasculate the Siniora government, whether by taking control of its decisions or through the creation by Syria of a parallel government. In this context, the opposition's calls for a national unity government don't favor unity at all. Opposition parties will only enter a Cabinet they can control and bring down. We know that because they rejected the 19-10-1 formula proposed by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, which would have given them the means to block decisions they didn't like. But the opposition's insistence on a 19-11 division is valid only for torpedoing a government through the resignation of its 11 ministers. The aim is apparent: to bring to office a president sympathetic to Syria.

If its conditions for a unity government continue to be rejected by the majority, the opposition might create a parallel government or engineer a situation allowing President Emile Lahoud to remain in Baabda. There are surely problems in a second government, not least of which that Sunni representation is bound to be anemic. This could create a troubling sense that a Sunni-dominated Siniora government is facing off against a Shiite-dominated pro-Syrian government, which could backfire regionally against Hizbullah and Iran. There is also the fact that Michel Aoun's bloc might begin cracking if the general enters such a government.

What would the purpose of this second government be, beyond wreaking havoc in the country and putting pressure on Siniora's government? Simply, to neutralize the effectiveness of the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL in the South, by making their interlocutor in the state unclear. Many have overlooked that the Nahr al-Bared fighting might have been a stage in a process to render the army less effectual in South Lebanon. Several units have been pulled out of the South in the past six months - first to prevent sectarian clashes in Beirut after the opposition built its tent city in the Downtown area last December; then to engage in fighting in the North. This has given Hizbullah much more room to maneuver in the border area, while also opening space up for groups operated from Syria. Even if Hizbullah did not fire the rockets against Kiryat Shmona on Sunday - probably the work of pro-Syrian Palestinians - it almost certainly was aware of the attack, and did not oppose it.
Arab governments are finally taking notice that the Islamist radicals they have been tolerating, appeasing – and sometimes even nurturing – are clear and present dangers to them. Their winking and subtle support for Israel during last summer’s war with Hezbollah may have been explainable by the Sunni-Shia conflict, but their sudden fear and loathing of Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood, cannot be.

I’m skeptical, to say the least, of the West’s sudden swooning for Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. This corrupt band of gangsters and killers destroyed Palestine before it was born, and they haven’t improved an iota since Arafat died. They are just about the most unconvincing allies and saviors imaginable.

But who knows, maybe they’ll turn it around. Not likely, but it’s barely possible. If the Hamas takeover of Gaza really does spook Arab governments, as it should, there is a chance – albeit a small one – that Fatah, the Saudis, the Egyptians, and the rest of the so-called “moderates” will finally figure out that Islamists threaten everyone in the Middle East, not just the Israelis, and that the Israelis, in fact, don’t threaten anyone but the Islamists and, tragically, the civilians who are unlucky enough to live in their neighborhoods.

Apparently none of the Arab governments, except the one in Syria, ever expected or even wanted Hamas to dominate Palestine or even defeat Israel. (Hamas could not do the latter without first doing the former.)

Arab regimes have been playing appeasement games of their own to keep the radicals busy fuming at somebody else.

You could even argue that the Syrian regime has been appeasing Islamists, that support from Damascus is really just a life-insurance policy so the Islamists don’t gun for the Baath Party as they did before Hafez Assad flattened large parts of the Sunni city of Hama. Bashar Assad’s regime is overwhelmingly Alawite. They belong to an extremely deviant and heretical branch of Twelver Shiism that is no longer really even Islamic. The Alawites probably figure that have no choice but to ride the Islamist tiger so they won’t be eaten. Assad also, quite cleverly I must say, whips up Islamists to deter the U.S. and Israel from terminating his regime. No one wants to see the Hamasification of Syria after the departure of the Assads.

I don’t expect most Arab governments to wise up and follow the lead of Jordan’s King Abdullah and forge an actual alliance with Israel any time soon. Some, none more than Syria’s, have gone too far to turn back.

But if Lebanon falls, and if Iran gets nuclear weapons, and if maniacs wearing ski masks take over Iraq after the U.S. withdraws, most of them will eventually figure out who their real enemies are. What’s happening to Abbas, Seniora, and Maliki can happen to any and all of them, even Assad.

The fact that Arab governments threaten to build nuclear arsenals to counter Iran’s, but not Israel’s, all by itself tells you who and what they’re really afraid of. Blowback isn’t just for Americans anymore.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at June 23, 2007 11:04 AM
Comments

Ever played the japanese game of Go? What Iran has done is expand colonies of black stones into the territory of the white. Right now the white is simply filling in its territories rather than retaliating in kind. Google for the long-term results of this strategy.

Posted by: Hope Muntz at June 23, 2007 12:13 PM

Assad or the M. Brotherhood are the same "crap" for Lebanon and Israel.

Posted by: diana at June 23, 2007 01:56 PM

By no means am I a fan of Hamas, their ideology, politics, or practices (just a disclaimer for the sake of this blog), but to call Saudi Arabia a "moderate" country is quite odd ... and therein lies the problem of the region.

Posted by: M. at June 23, 2007 03:06 PM

M,

Agreed about the Saudis. That's why I put "moderate" in quotation marks. They are often thought of as moderate, but they really aren't.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 23, 2007 03:15 PM

This is simply a thank you, Michael, for your superb blog. Its quite difficult to get a down-on-the-ground real-life idea of what goes on in the middle east from the press reports, and your blog is essential reading. You fill many gaps.

Posted by: Andrew Lale at June 23, 2007 03:41 PM

> I’m skeptical, to say the least, of the
> West’s sudden swooning for Yasser Arafat’s
> Fatah

It may be a kiss of death. There seem to be a few things coming, none of them good for the Palestinians.

Israel and Bush appear to be rushing a deal, apparently believing that Abbas is now too weak to hold out without one.

So Israel wants a deal because it's a chance to get essentially the Clinton terms.

The Saudis, for their part, want the deal too. It lets them look good to the west while establishing the long sought terrorist state in the heart of Israel.

Apparently the Israelis think they can handle it, so we'll see about that.

Hamas and Al Qaeda will react predictably, initiating a terror campaign of unbelievable brutality in the west bank, accusing Abbas of selling out the Aksa Mosque, the Pals and the Umma. Not necessarily worse than what's been happening in Iraq, but we in the west will feel it more when it happens in Ramallah.

Ardent Zionist though I am, I feel very sad for the Pals, who are about to have a terror war inflicted upon them that will be orders of magnitude worse than anything they inflicted on Israel.

Posted by: Adam D. at June 23, 2007 04:04 PM

"The fact that Arab governments threaten to build nuclear arsenals to counter Iran’s, but not Israel’s, all by itself tells you who and what they’re really afraid of."

Arab governments are not afraid, they are just following orders. The US tells them who and what they should be afraid of, and they act along.

MJT, you correctly mentioned that its "Arab" governments are taking these actions, not the people. Therefore weighing and analysing the regions acts and counter-acts + the emotions that go alongside such options are those of the pro-US western-controlled puppets, and not of the regions feelings in masses.

Whoever is an enemy of the US is the enemy of the region. The so-called "Arab leaders" and governments only fear what America tells them to fear. If these governments do build nuclear weapons, it would almost certainly be under the supervision and agreement of the US. This also applies to who and what these weapons are supposed to be used/aimed against and who or what they are their to deter.

The Arab leaders have never hated or wanted to get rid of Israel, not even Hafez and Bashar Assad, because as soon as Israel is 'wiped of the map', the people will immediately want new governments and true democracy. The US does not escape criticism. They claim to be wanting to create a democracy, but instead create mayhem and do not collectively target the Arab dictatorships.

I once rallied with the people calling for America to leave Iraq, but now seeing people doing such a thing disgusts me. This is because I realised America got rid of its foe, created bases in the region and set up a pro-US government. Though, that came at the cost of instability, full-fledged civil war and choas in the country and divides in the region. America should stay in the Iraqi quagmire until security and stability is installed. Under UN conventions, occupying nations are responsible for Iraqs security.

While the US soldiers are in Iraq, US diplomats blab at confrences about Iran and Syria being responsible - often claiming foreigners interfering in Iraq and infringing its sovereignty (??WHAT??) - when first and foremost it must be the US admin. that must claim overall responsibility of the country.

Something totally irrelevant. Hezbollah has the popularity, power and political cover to bring down the Lebanese state in the same manner the US brought down Saddam - i.e. through brute force - within a day. The Lebanese army wouldn't dare interfere. They would arrest seniora and harriri and 'try' them, the same way Saddam was tried, and convict them of treason during Israel's war on Lebanon - a crime that potentially could be punishable by death. Syria is the direct neighbour of Lebanon, Hezbollah could invite a syrian force of 100,000 over to Lebanon with a presidential decree, kick out the UN through the newly-fixed 'emergency' government which could be formed also by the president - all this without breaking a single Lebanese constitutional law.

Since Syria is the direct neighbour of Lebanon, an embargo would most definately no work - and full control of all authority of Lebanon could boost Hezbollah's military capabilities dramatically through air, sea and land shipments from Syria and Iran etc. Although this hasn't happened even though Hezbollah has been agressed against by the 'interior security' by seizing its weapons - an act infringing an earlier understanding between the Leb governemnt and the militia. Though, this hasn't happened, and most probably will never happen.

MJT, i was looking through your blog archive, and saw the Ain Ebel report which had 'evidence' of Hezbollah using human shields etc. Can I just tell you that Ain Ebel, Ebel, Aita Shaab, Bint Jbeil and Maroun Al Ras are all towns/villages seperated by a valley or two. Therefore, that bunker or hide-out, the destroyed one, that you found in the area was firstly in the waste-land seperating these villages apart. If a katyusha rocket wa launched from the 'area', that could technically mean from marous al ras or even bint jbeil or the areas in the surrounding. It is known that not a single IDF soldier or merkava fell in ein ebel or ebel or even marjayoun because they were christian towns.

One more interesting fact for you. Those 'abandoned' or 'empty' houses you talked about that were taken over by Hezbollah in the village of Ein Ebel during the war had actually not belonged to citizens who left the area during the war, but rather emigrants who migrated to Israel after the 2000 liberation. The villages of ebel and ain ebel and marjayoun had been the the prime collaborating villages. They were responsible for killing shia citizens of the south, confiscating and distroying houses and land - basically the oprression of the lebanese civilians under occupation by the collaborators had come mainly from those 3 villages.

After Israel withdrew, so did hundreds of residents of those villages - i.e. the empty houses. Hezbollah did not massacre the people who remained, but instead handed the people suspected of collaboration to the Lebanese authority - many were released and some served jail-time of 1 - 2 years. If it were Amal or any other group that had just liberated that area, they would have at least slaughtered all inhabitants of those villages and fired at the emigrants leaving to Israel through Fatima gate.

People are wasting their time with these empty and hollow analysis'. If hezbollah seeked a hezbollahastan, they would have created one in south lebanon after israel left the area.

Posted by: rico at June 23, 2007 04:19 PM

A friendly reminder: Don't feed the trolls. Really, don't do it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 23, 2007 04:35 PM

I read the first (non quote) paragraph of our troll and stopped thinking "HL is back."

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 23, 2007 06:54 PM

I feel for his parents, though.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 23, 2007 06:55 PM

Imagine if you will, we all wake up in the morning and find that we no longer have need for anything the arabs sell. No need for oil, gas, desert sand.

If the arabs still kill innocents for their religion, what do we do with them? Remember, we won't need anything they can offer us.

What do you do?

Posted by: William Hunter at June 23, 2007 08:21 PM

William Hunter ,

Probably the same thing we do with Africa...

Anyway, I have to say that although these arab governments are trying to stop hamas and support ppl like Abbas, their local populations are leaning the other way.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, et al rightly fear their own populations, who are very sympathetic to islamism

Posted by: tg at June 23, 2007 08:59 PM

Arab governments are finally taking notice that the Islamist radicals they have been tolerating, appeasing – and sometimes even nurturing – are clear and present dangers to them.

Too late.

Just as Fatah will soon be buried by Hamas, those STUPID Arab regimes that thought they could ride the tiger of demagogery to keep their populations docile, will eventually be devoured by its offspring. Frankly their demise would be a non-event apart from the annoyingly existential agenda of their opponents. I used to think that these events could be altered, but some time ago I reconciled myself to the thought that what will be will be. Now it is just a matter of waiting for things to become 'bad enough'.

I subscribe unhappily and somewhat tardily to the aphorism attributed (perhaps in error ) to Lenin --- the Worse The Better.

Things are even, as we speak, going from bad to worse and the trend lines make for distressing review.

I guess everyone sooner or later gets to 'live in interesting times'.

Pity.

Posted by: dougf at June 23, 2007 09:44 PM

dougf, I studied the middle east after 9/11 and was shocked at just how horrible societies were at all levels - and especially so because the aspirations of the masses seemed so brutal.

I hoped the neocon project in Iraq (and Afghanistan) could break these mentally closed societies open and create a conduit for a few modern and sane ideas.

But things are still hopeless for the Arabs and Iran is horrible too. I think that any sane family should move out of the middle east before before it becomes a mess of craters, mass graves and virtual prisons.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 23, 2007 11:45 PM

Mr. Totten:

Long-time reader, first time poster. First of all, fabulous writing, as is par for the course with you. The fact that your work is found in new media and not in old media (newspapers) just goes to show you why the latter are dying so quickly.

The fact that Arab governments threaten to build nuclear arsenals to counter Iran’s, but not Israel’s, all by itself tells you who and what they’re really afraid of.

I don't believe that they are afraid solely of Iran's nukes. If Iran nuked Israel, I think it a safe bet that Israel's "Samson Option" response would be to take out as much of the Islamic world as their bombers and rockets could reach. The Arab's fear of Iranian nukes I think is more due to that fear of Israeli retaliation for a Second Holocaust than a fear of direct attack by Iran.

Posted by: Eric R. at June 24, 2007 02:47 AM

The mullahs don't seem to understand the significance of the Coalition and NATO daily accusing Teheran of arming and training terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They also don't seem to notice the significance of our top commanders in the Gulf being slowly replaced with navy men and air force men trained in strategic bombing.

Finally, they don't seem to notice that our president is a lame duck who has never cared about polls or world opinion and who makes decisions--right or wrong--based on what he thinks is best for the nation.

He's also said possibly he scariest sentence that a mullah could ever hear: "I'm not going to leave the problem with Iran to my successor."

Posted by: Tom W. at June 24, 2007 03:00 AM

"I'm not going to leave the problem with Iran to my successor"

When did Bush say that? Do you have a link?

Posted by: Don Cox at June 24, 2007 03:08 AM

He probably didn't use the word "successor" because Google searches aren't turning it up.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 24, 2007 03:48 AM

That was what I found. An important statement like that needs to be quoted exactly and in context.

Posted by: Don Cox at June 24, 2007 03:50 AM

I hoped the neocon project in Iraq (and Afghanistan) could break these mentally closed societies open and create a conduit for a few modern and sane ideas.

Judaism for Dummies - yes, it's a real book - contends that Arab opposition to Jewish resettlement in Palestine only began when the fedahin peasantry rubbed shoulders with European Jews at the end of the nineteenth century. These lower-class Arab tenant farmers then learned of scientific agriculture, democracy, human rights, etc. and began agitating for political reform and higher wages from the upper-class Arab landowners. The Arab landowners' response was to sponsor terror against the Jews and suppression of any motions for Arab democracy.

So it's all the same battle, and has been for over a century: Arabs may find Western ways attractive and desireable, but their leaders use control of speech and media to create and subsidize the hatred that serves to blind the masses and enrich the masters.

What needs to be done, then, isn't just liberation in the Arab World, but liberation of their agenda of discussion. That can only be done by providing secure places to talk. Currently, the Arabs can choose the Internet, though the Egyptian government is trying to crack down on their own bloggers.

Where else can Arabs feel secure to talk? Labor meetings are dominated by Marxists, and mosques by radicals of one stripe or another. Lebanon, once mostly free, is now a battlefield.

Only if Iraq is freed from the terrorist grip and learns to value personal freedom and security over the mob can they do it. But the Iraqis seem to have learned to despise dictators and fight for freedom, so there is hope there. For the moment.

Posted by: Solomon2 at June 24, 2007 07:08 AM

"...the Israelis, in fact, don’t threaten anyone but the Islamists..." - MJT

Kind of like the Americans not threatening the Sioux, Cherokee, Pequot, Shawnee et al, just those pesky Indian confederations that couldn't see democracy for what it is, and wouldn't give up fast enough to avoid being shunted onto reservations. No threat at all, it's misery of their own making, and I feel better already.

Posted by: The Other Alan at June 24, 2007 08:47 AM

Which of the many Lebanese splinter groups, or maybe Hizbullah themselves, would go as far as to blow up an UNIFIL armored vehicle in southern Lebanon today? I thought the UN people were being successfully used by Hizbullah as a non-deterrant to weapon movement and bunker development. Why would someone blow that cover, literally? They were Spanish if that works into it somehow. Five dead so far. The story was on Blacksmiths.

Posted by: allan at June 24, 2007 09:42 AM

Hezbollah have condemned it. Israel Radio says a car bomb detonated next to the UNIFIL vehicle, but other reports suggest IED or landmine.

Posted by: MattW at June 24, 2007 09:46 AM

The Other Alan: Kind of like the Americans not threatening the Sioux, Cherokee, Pequot, Shawnee et al, just those pesky Indian confederations that couldn't see democracy for what it is, and wouldn't give up fast enough to avoid being shunted onto reservations.

You apparently paid no attention to Middle East politics before the year 2000 and still haven't bothered to read the back material. You probably don't even know what I'm talking about.

Let us know when Israel threatens Saudi Arabia, okay?

You also might want to visit Haifa and do a school report comparing the mixed Arab-Jewish city to the Indian reservation nearest you.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 24, 2007 09:55 AM

Allan: Which of the many Lebanese splinter groups, or maybe Hizbullah themselves, would go as far as to blow up an UNIFIL armored vehicle in southern Lebanon today?

Pick any Syrian proxy group other than Hezbollah. There are many. It really probably wasn't Hezbollah.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 24, 2007 09:56 AM

Dear Allan and Mattw

It was a well planned heavy side charge, at least 100 kg high explosive, probably heavier. Probably not a factory made Claymor. These heavy charges are Hizb. specialty. The kidnepping of the two Israeli reservists started with such heavy side charge, that is why some say that the two are dead. Several Israeli tanks who went into Leb. after the kidnepping were also hit by such supper heavy charges. These are electric line primed and operated and any half clever sapper with some experience can see the marks of the operators. So these who need to know will know who set the whole thing. It was not meant to be real secret any how. Just remember the way Hariri was sent to his last trip and the tunnel that was going to send Abu Mazzen to meet him. It was done by the Hizb. not even the most idiotic child in the ME will believe that this + the missiles that hit Israel last week can be operated without the Hizb. permition and explicit concent. It is a matter of honour and respect, the Hizb. can not permit such free enterprize. It was meant as both specific and general notice. Some Spanish soldier or officer sayed or did some thing he was told not to. It is even more than possible that some body in the UN got paid and did not deliver. In general it was a delivered notice "to whom it may concern" telling that the Persian Military base and its guardian dogs are here to stay.

Posted by: Hazbani at June 24, 2007 10:34 AM

Kind of like the Americans not threatening the Sioux,

Yeah, JUST like it!!!1!! It's like a cowboy and indians movie, and we all know the cowboys were the real bad guy!!! LOLOLOLOLZZ

Israel is just an "extension of the U.S./West", which is why you Leftards hate it so much. That's it, nothing more. It's whitey vs brownie to you, and we all know how evil whitey is! Like watching Dances with Wolves everyday for the rest of your lives. aaaargh! So dumb.

Posted by: Carlos at June 24, 2007 11:24 AM

Don't feed the troll "rico".

Posted by: Doug at June 24, 2007 12:33 PM

They're denying it so they don't have to do anything about it.

Posted by: dan at June 24, 2007 06:15 PM

Don Cox

Try this Breitbart link. It refers to a Times of London article quoting the usual unnamed sources:

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=070223142022.2×4s0n7i&show_article=1

Posted by: Norkawest at June 24, 2007 09:04 PM

Arab governments are finally taking notice that the Islamist radicals they have been tolerating, appeasing – and sometimes even nurturing – are clear and present dangers to them.

Fearing the Islamists is nothing new. See Hama, Syria, 1981. Or Nasser/Sadat. Or the recent Algerian civil war.

The current situation can potentially be useful because it may allow us to adopt the best strategy for softening the Palestinian population's support for Hamas - wall them off, help someone else, and wait. Having Arab regimes fear the Islamists doesn't really help, because it's never consistent: there's always someone willing to buck the trend and exploit them. Furthermore, timid Arab regimes use Islamists as an excuse to smother their countries. The more afraid they are, and the more violence is introduced into the dynamic, the more they put the hammer down, but it never works. Islamism can't be solved with police-state tactics.

Posted by: glasnost at June 25, 2007 07:50 AM

If Hezbollah attempts a coup in Lebanon, there is only one viable option. That is for Israel to invade Syria with the intent on capturing Damascus and overthrowing Assad. Specifically, the goal is to kill him. However, there will be no goal of occupation or rebuilding Syria as a democracy. That has its own problems.

People in the current regime will be needed to sign an armistice at the barrel of a gun. The peace treaty will end Syrian support of terrorism in Lebanon and Israel. The words on paper will be meaningless, but it's part of the diplomatic routine. Then the Israelis will leave.

Instead, Israel would have two main objectives to be fulfilled through military force. First is to destroy Syria's military assets and infrastructure - specifically those used to aid Hezbollah and Hamas. Other assets are not as vital - but may need to be destroyed if they want to remove Damascus ability to suppress a popular revolt. Second is to set an example to the new leaders of Syria - continue this and we kill you next. These objectives must be accomplished by military action as Syrians will not do it simply because they signed a piece of paper saying they will.

The question is whether the Israeli military is prepared for such a war. Do they have the intelligence and logistics ability to do this? Are they prepared to mobilize the nation and weather the diplomatic storm? Obstensibly, this is what they should have done in response to the kidnappings instead of bombing Beirut.

The head of the beast must be struck. Tactical reprisals will not change the strategic situation. The goal here is to save Lebanon as a potential democracy under the rule of law and at peace with its neighbors. That can only be done by destroying Hezbollah. You cannot do that until its Syrian backers are ruined. Then, perhaps, Lebanon could even deal with Hezbollah on its own.

Posted by: black fox at June 25, 2007 12:27 PM

I'll be honest, I'm getting totally confused about what the heck is going on over there anymore. Lies, conflicting reports, and of course the two diametrically opposed sides of the issue. I found your blog while trying to get a handle on what's really going on.

Another blogger and I were talking about this extremely complicated situation and I posted about it here:
Palestenian PR Hype Machine

Of course I think I've got the facts straight but maybe I'm missing something. There are obviously a lot of people here who know a lot more about this than I do, so I'd appreciate any help you can offer to help me figure out what's really happening over there.

Thanks.

Posted by: Realitology at June 25, 2007 04:24 PM

Michael,
Let me rephrase what your thesis was stating...

The corrupt thugs in Egypt and the PLO have propped up the radicals (Mubarrek more so) and enabled them to play bad cop good cop and continue getting the $$$$$$$$.........

If there was an election in Egypt, a fair one, the Muslim Brotherhood would win convincingly and the thinkers and liberals would finish dead last....

So now the corrupt thugs are getting nervous bcs the radicals have popular support, the Iranian alternative support, $$$ and military tutelage, Al Jazeera - Al Manar, so they're nervous again and may even inch a tiny bit towards the US for the time being... while demanding Israel release more money and blood on their hand prisoners... so they can pretend how they did something... (bcs it's really all about Israel /sarcasm) while continuing to fund the Muslim Brotherhood etc...

But the thugs who theoretically play ball with the US are horrible for peace, vicious, corrupt, hated by their people, hate mongering dictators/despots.... it's only the monsters they're against are theoretically 'less corrupt' right now at least, but otherwise much worse all around...

The PLO is the US's only card, and we don't have anything over them... except writing a checka and getting a public but fake save face promise....

Who cares what the PLO or Mubarrek does... if they remain in power the problem is still going to fester until it sooner or later BLOWS....... all the endemic problems under the rug are still there and getting worse......

Unless you see the every day Iranian man on the street rising en masse and overthrowing the Iranian gov't?

Otherwise, this is a 1 way track leading down a trecherous dangerous path.... 1 train is just moving a little slower than the other...

There's nothing the US can do except try and move a theoretical Iranian Revolution along, support Lebanon, militarily periodically attack Assad and Iran, publically poo poo Israel to save face....
But you know that ain't going to do anything except get the US administration a temporary reprieve from the BBC, EU, UN and left wing press which still believes the problem is actually Israeli existence in essence....

Posted by: Mike Nargizian at June 25, 2007 06:59 PM
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