Monday, July 24, 2006

The Calm Before The Diplomats

Condi Rice arrives in Israel on Monday, but the diplomatic games have already begun. As the various denunciations ensue this week, and the tedious equivocations spew forth from the "international community", it is advisable to remind ourselves of the true heart of Israel's enemy and ours. Iran and their vanguard, Hezbollah, share an apocalyptic ideology that takes as a causus belli in perpetuity the mere existence of Israel. Here are the words, via Memri, of Iran's Parliament Speaker:

The indigenous Muslim people of Palestine and the Arabs of the region have been here for over 1,400 years, since the advent of Islam, and have their civilization and culture. They drove them out of this region with massacres. They turned them into refugees and tent dwellers. They made them homeless, dispersed in various countries. The Western governments supported them, exerted influence in the U.N., and created this fictitious state.

They lied, exaggerated, and fabricated events, in order to present their unjustified deeds as justified. This shows the depth of the animosity and rancor that America, England, and the supporters of Israel harbor towards the Muslims and the Islamic world.


The Palestinian refugees should return to the land of their forefathers, and you, who came to Palestine from other countries, should return to your homes too.

Today is the day of the liberation of Palestine, and the day of resistance. As said by Hassan Nasrallah, this courageous, vigilant, and informed religious scholar, the war has just begun.


We say to America, England, and the supporters of Israel in the West: You will not benefit from supporting Israel. You are earning the hostility of 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, under the pretext of supporting a handful of Zionists, whom you brought and stuck, like a dagger, in the hearts of the Muslims in the Middle East.

It's with minds such as this that we seek to negotiate a peace.

The Saudis, playing power games of their own, have formally asked the U.S. to intervene. It is reported as a sign of "mounting frustration" in the Arab world that the U.S. has not moved to restrain Israel. The Saudis have a long-standing enmity towards Iran, both becuase of friction over dominance of the Persian Gulf and because Iran is a Persian Shia state an Arab Sunni state. I question the Saudi motives. An Iran surging with fame amongst Arabs for defying the Zionist state is not in the interests of the Saudi kingdom. It better serves their interests to halt the fighting now, before Iran and Hezbollah can claim any sort of victory.

Much of the problem, and the Saudis at least are in agreement with this point, is that Lebanon is incapable of enforcing UN resolution 1559 to disarm Hezbollah. But it is not simply incapable because it is accidentally a weak state. It is incapable because it is structured to be weak state. Parliamentary seats and leadership roles are allotted on a factional basis, so that Shias are guaranteed a certain amount of power. As Hezbollah is the dominant Shia party, asking the Lebanese state to even purge Hezbollah from the government, much less to actively disarm Hezbollah, is asking the impossible.

Syria has claimed it is willing to talk with the U.S., but their demands are so extreme that any talk would be pointless. Better for Secretary Rice to ignore them until they show they are willing to cut off Hezbollah completely. It is perhaps not so unlikely a goal: some Arab states are reportedly urging as much.


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