Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
The Middle East crisis has only complex answers
Posted by: mcq on Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Three views, three different opinions today in USA Today on the crisis in the Middle East. Dennis Ross feels that while Iran is the "primary financer and supplier of Hezbollah and patron of Hamas", Syria is the key. Ross feels Syria (nor Iran for that matter) will do anything to end the crisis. As I've mentioned, it is to both Syria and Iran's advantage to see this crisis go on indefinitely. However he also feels that there is a level of disgust among the more moderate Arab nations for Hezbollah's action which hasn't been there in the past and should be exploited. I'm not sure, though, that his proposal is workable given the proximity of Syria and my doubts about the reliability of the other actors he cites:
The Saudis, Egyptians, Jordanians and others seem to recognize that Iran is manipulating Hezbollah and Hamas for its purposes, and they appreciate the threat that poses not just to Israel and the United States but to non-Islamist Arab governments as well. Tough Saudi criticism of Hezbollah's "reckless" behavior is unprecedented and an indication of what the Saudis and others feel is at stake.

Now is the time for the United States to work with those who could create an "Arab umbrella" for bolstering the Lebanese government, its prime minister, Fuad Saniora, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Such an Arab umbrella could justify, support and assist in deploying the Lebanese army to Israel's border.

Helping to establish security on the Lebanese-Israeli border and the Israeli-Gaza border in a way that ends rocket fire from areas that Israel has left might not only end the current crisis but also pave the way to a more hopeful future.
Syria's influence in Lebanon is profound, Hezbollah is a part of Lebanon's fabric, and while it sounds wonderful, I just don't see Ross's proposal as something that any moderate Arab government would be willing to undertake. Given, Lebanon needs time and space to strengthen its government and let its army develop and do its job. But I simply don't think that is a job for other Arabs. It is both an reliability issue and an issue of will. And, given the past, I just don't think when it comes to Israel they have either.

The way this is heading is toward some level of "peacekeeping" (I am not a fan of that word). If it comes down to some entity getting between Israel and these terrorist groups it should, as Dan McLaughlin notes, have a mission and an "enemy",which in this case would be the terror organization Hezbollah. I'd remind everyone that UN peacekeepers were there, in southern Lebanon, when this all began. I don't think I have to explain how ineffective they were.

Newt Gingrich, otoh, says now is not the time for restraint from Israel. Using history like a hammer and providing some interesting analogies, Gingrich says multiple things must be done on multiple fronts by many actors:
United Nations Resolution 1559, supported by the European Union, called for Hezbollah to be disarmed. If not now, when? If not by the Israelis, who? The G8 advice, if taken, would only guarantee the cycle of violence. The terrorist alliance must be destroyed or it will be rebuilt with more dangerous capabilities. The appeals for an Israeli cease-fire, if heeded, will enable Israel's enemies to re-lay the groundwork for yet another violent campaign for what has been a nearly six-decade episode with the sole objective of destroying Israel.

The key steps to ending the violence in Lebanon first requires recognizing that Hezbollah in its military form must be eliminated, that the 100-plus Iranian guard in southern Lebanon must be removed and that the allowing of the Syrian and Iranian dictatorships to supply, train and equip the terrorists must be stopped.

To do that, the United States should offer to help strengthen the Lebanese government so that it has the ability to re-establish itself in all of Lebanon and defeat the military wing of Hezbollah. We should encourage the Israelis to work with the Lebanese government to eliminate the thousands of missiles within its borders that threaten Israel. Finally, Iran and Syria must be forced to cease their support of Hezbollah and Hamas by the United States communicating to them such dire consequences that they could not sustain the relationships. And then we should be prepared, if necessary, to impose those consequences.
No question that now is as good a time as any to destroy Hezbollah, but is that really a mission that Israel's military is capable of achieving? Not really. The destruction of Hezbollah's military capability may be something it can temporarily achieve, but the alliance's nexus of support are where any chance of "destroying" it is to be found. And those lie in Syria and Iran. The short term mission of Israel's military should certainly be to destroy Hezbollah's physical capacity to attack Israel. Go after the missiles, go after the terrorists, and go after their command, control and communications structures ... clean out southern Lebanon.

But Israel has tried to "destroy" Hezbollah before, in the '80s. That didn't work at all and, physically, it won't work now. As Gingrich notes, Iran and Syria are key. However what the US could do or say to impress upon either country the "dire consequences" of continued support of Hamas and Hezbollah is a bit of mystery to me. Unless I'm mistaken, neither regime has intimidated easily in the past, and I'm not sure they will now.

Youssef Ibrahim takes a little different slant, noting that while attack and reaction are as old as the Middle East crisis, the reaction of the Arab people and governments toward Iran and the terrorist attacks on Israel isn't and that may be an opening which can be exploited. Ibrahim feels that Iran may have finally overplayed its hand:
The collective resistance spoken by Arab presidents, emirs and kings at the highest levels is echoed below among ordinary people. In Lebanon, for instance, it is evident that the people in the streets are blaming Israel, of course, but also Hezbollah for today's crisis.

Ironically, Hamas and Hezbollah's provocation of Israel, coupled with the Jewish state's retaliation, might have opened a new chapter in the greater Middle East discourse — but not the one these groups anticipated. Perhaps the time has come in which war for war's sake might not just bring condemnation from the world at large, but from the Arab world as well.
Yes, but (you knew that was coming) that's a pretty perishable thing and it might go up in a cloud of smoke just as quickly if Israel's retaliation is perceived to be over done (with rockets still raining down on Israel as we speak, I'm not sure how that could be considered a valid perception, but then hate has a powerful way of clouding rational analysis).

So while I think this is indeed quite a change overall among moderate Arab states, part of that is driven by their own internal problems with dissidents and the other is the recognition that this sort of sponsorship of terror in the region by Syria and Iran can destabilize their governments as well. It is those concerns for self-preservation among those states that the US and others should address and exploit to increase pressure on Iran and Syria. It is through those means that the greatest possibility for shutting down Hezbollah and Hamas exists.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
I’d disagree. The answer is simple. What is difficult is (1) reconciling the differing ’simple answers’ people have for solving the problem, (2) having the intestinal fortitude to implement the plan, and (3) actually doing what you set out to do.

And did Israel really try to destroy Hezbollah in the 80s?
 
Written By: steve
URL: http://
I’m with Steve, McQ... this is not complex. As Christ says, "The Keys to the Kingdom are to love your neighbor as yourself. Love your God with all your heart, mind, and soul." See Salvation is simple, BUT as Clausewitz, "In war everything is simple, but even the Simple is DIFFICULT."

Simply restore Lebanon’s full sovereignty. Destroy Hezbollah, in the South. Keep Hezbollah and the Iranian/Syrian forces out of the Beka’a Valley AFTER the destruction, deploy the Lebanese Army to the South and the Syrian border to restore the full sovereignty of Lebanon. The result will be far fewer missiles on Northern Israel and a whole lot fewer Israeli bombs on Lebanon. Everyone wins, except for Syria.

See it’s SIMPLE, sadly it won’t be easy. And actually McQ went into Lebanon to destroy the PLO, which it succeeded in doing. Hezbollah was only a tiny grouping at that time, in Southern Lebanon. Israel DID NOT attempt to suppress them. In fact the Shi’i welcomed the Israelis in the beginning of the 1982 "Peace for Galilee" Campaign. Later on, the Shi’i turned against the occupying Israelis.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
actually McQ went into Lebanon to destroy the PLO
Damn McQ, I knew you were big time, but I had no idea!
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
I fried my etidor and porf-reader after that....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
actually McQ went into Lebanon to destroy the PLO
Actually, McQ is the one person that Chuck Norris is scared of.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
so what about chuck norris being afraid of McQ... I’ve heard that Jack Bauer is afraid of McQ.
 
Written By: steve
URL: http://
The open secret of Israeli politics is that Israel as a predominantly Jewish state is doomed demographically. Israeli Arabs will make up 25% of the population by 2025 (pdf) and will likely achieve majority status sometime around 2040. The best hope for Israel and the Middle East is managing this transition so that Israeli Arabs will carry on the strong liberal democracy currently in place and with a lttle luck, become a model for the region.

Unfortunately, as long as the oil price remains high, Iran will have plenty of funds to keep up the proxy war with Israel via Hezbollah/Hamas. Until there is an Iranian policy change, or the price of oil drops dramatically for a sustained period of time, Israel will continue to remain in a low-grade war with Iran via proxies.

 
Written By: cllam
URL: http://
What’s that about McQ being in Lebanon for Christmas when Nixon specifically said we didn’t have any troops in Lebanon at that time?!

Uhhhh......Jenghis Khan? quagmire?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
No, McQ, you can’t get away. From hell’s heart...I stab at thee. For hate’s sake I spit my last breath...at thee...
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
Joe,
I fried my etidor and porf-reader after that....
I know the first post was an accident. This I can’t let stand. I now begin the rounds of denunciations that we all must now engage in. Frying your editors and proof readers is eliminationist behavior and I denounce that. I am tolerant so I won’t ask you to turn yourself in to the authorities, but such behavior is not condoned on the comment threads of sites I post at. Killing people is baaad! You probably didn’t know that because right wingers are not aware and need to be reminded that killing people is baaad! If you meant it as hyperbole then there is no place for such rhetoric in the blogosphere. Please slink away, begone!
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
Without taking the war to Damascus, Israel loses. Syria and Iran are using the population of Lebanon as a shield. Israel would have been wise to shoot around the shield than merely denting the shield. If she had, both Israel and Lebanon would have been better off in the long run. And the tactic of using proxies would have less value. But terrorism and proxy-wars work because we act as if the pawns are the enemy.
 
Written By: Jason Pappas
URL: http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/
It looks like I’m not the only one who’s noticed the above ... NR .
 
Written By: Jason Pappas
URL: http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/
And another from the staunchly pro-Israel, New York Sun.
 
Written By: Jason Pappas
URL: http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/
I now begin the rounds of denunciations that we all must now engage in. Frying your editors and proof readers is eliminationist behavior and I denounce that.

Godo Tahnk Dog..
I am tolerant so I won’t ask you to turn yourself in to the authorities, but such behavior is not condoned on the comment threads of sites I post at. Killing people is baaad! You probably didn’t know that because right wingers are not aware and need to be reminded that killing people is baaad! If you meant it as hyperbole then there is no place for such rhetoric in the blogosphere.
Killing people is baaaaaad? What about Dick Cheney or Charlton Heston? Could I at least advocate a pistol-whipping for them? And Clarence Thomas, can I hope for an MCI brought on by too much trans-fat in his diet? I need to know the rules of this game, having only inhabited the vicous, pistol-whipping, no-holds-barred Right side of the Blogosphere I am unlittered in these things, veritably a "Stranger in a Strange Land."
Please slink away, begone!
Upon reflection I shan’t INSTEAD I shall found a blog of mine own. I will quote YOU and Jon as examples of "Intolerance" and await the massive influx of Greenwald, QandO’s and Oliver readers to flood my site...AND if you denounce me extra special vicously I’ll share 5% of the gross Blogad revenue with you!
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I might add that Jon and ALL of you are only FAKE libertarians...in fact I’d call you all proto-fascist Liberals, rather than libertarians! So there!

Sitting awaiting the tide of angry blog commenters....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
We must break decisively with the failed Clinton-era so-called "containment" policies, sloppily copied from the US post-WWII communism policy by the international relations idealists and simpletons of Bill Clinton’s administrations.

You do not "contain" terrorists and Islamofascists. You hunt them down and kill them. Where they employ human shields, responsibility for casualties fall wholly and exclusively upon the terrorists.

Go get’em IDF!
 
Written By: fletcher@gmail.com
URL: http://
McQ -
But Israel has tried to "destroy" Hezbollah before, in the ’80s. That didn’t work at all and, physically, it won’t work now. As Gingrich notes, Iran and Syria are key. However what the US could do or say to impress upon either country the "dire consequences" of continued support of Hamas and Hezbollah is a bit of mystery to me. Unless I’m mistaken, neither regime has intimidated easily in the past, and I’m not sure they will now.
There are no shortage of Muslim radicals in any country, even the US, that seek infidel death. The trick is to know they are a minority and cannot survive without sponsorship. Hezbollah, some 300,000 strong with a tremendous "pipeline" of aspiring children Jihadis built up - cannot be defeated as long as they get sponsorship. If the Israelis whack them good, the survivors and the children jihadis growing up into men simply reconstitute Hezbollah again.

The answer does lie, as Newt said, with sponsorship. Iran is currently a tough nut because they have oil and the ability to shut off the Gulf for months. But Syria is much more vulnerable to being turned. Sunnis like the Syrians hate following Shia heretics. You get Syria convinced that the Saudis, Turks, and Americans would be better as friends than foes, they could abandon Iran. And are far more easily attacked if they don’t. The end result could be Hezbollah physically isolated from Iranian sponsorship. No more weapons through Syria, nothing permitted through Leb ports without UN inspection.

Leaving Iran isolated globally, with their proxies defanged by for money, which could be tracked somewhat.....and an isolated Iran with 20% of their population (Azeris) wanting to join Azeristan, a large democracy movement....is an Iran that is weak enough despite oil and strategic position to consider it advisable to avoid high odds of a major defeat and national destruction.

No need for the Neocons 3rd and 4th simultaneous wars (against Syria and Iran) - sacrificing the lives and treasure no neocon would ever willingly sacrifice in - and the monies - the borrowed Chinese, Japanese and Saudi money to give those Asian nations guaranteed Iranian oil, and Saudis an end to the Shiite threat, at no expense to them.
 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
You do not "contain" terrorists and Islamofascists. You hunt them down and kill them. Where they employ human shields, responsibility for casualties fall wholly and exclusively upon the terrorists.
Two points, 1) all good and well, but Israel might want to ACTUALLY get around to doing it. I realize every dead Israeli soldier represents 75 US casualties and that in a country so small every casualty is SOMEONE’S cousin, but air, missile, and fire strikes are NOT ultimately going to get the job down in killing terrorists. Ground troops are the final arbiter of combat, call me a "Chickenhawk" if you will but unless some tanks and infantry enter into Lebanon for more than a casual excursion Israel will have just bought a little TIME, but not much in the way of long-term security.

2) "You hunt them down and kill them." Well Lance, I’m WAITING where is YOUR denunciation of this eliminationist language? Or are you merely some kind of hypocrite unwilling to denounce and police YOUR side of the Blogosphere? When I "fried" my etidor and porf-reader you were INCENTSED, quite possibly Dollarated even, where is the equal outrage? I think your failure to denounce the HUNTING and KILLING of terrorists pretty much seels your fait and allows me the morale souperiority to say, "Neener, Neener, Neener!"
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I am all for containment. All Hez/hizz/whqateverBollah terrorists ought to be contained inside a coffin, urn, or a hastily dug shallow grave.
As for civilian casualties, well with H..bollah weakened they will be better off. I wonder why everyone is so upset about the civilians when they don’t seem to give a shiite about all the Israeli civilians blown up on a daily basis.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
No, McQ, you can’t get away. From hell’s heart...I stab at thee. For hate’s sake I spit my last breath...at thee...
Oh good.

The comedy review is here. Letterman better step up his game.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
Hezbollah is the most popular political party in Lebanon. In any democratic country with free and fair elections they would be the governing party.
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider