Tuesday, July 25, 2006


It is far too simplistic to refer to the current Israeli attack on Lebanon as a "war of choice". This was a conflict that has been waiting to happen for six years. Israel was not going to stand by forever and watch Iran supply HA with more rockets, advanced weaponry and sophisticated armaments. It is true that Israel could have chosen not to respond this time when two of its soldiers were kidnapped but respond it would sometime. Israel knew that eventually it could not allow the HA provocations to go on and that the longer they wait then the greater would be the stock of amassed ammunition by HA. Israel was fully aware that eventually it had to respond and seems to have come to the conclusion that this was a provocation too many and that the sooner they took on the HA threat the better it would be for the northern residents of Israel.
Obviously this does not mean that the savage Israeli response was justified. It only says that it was not a surprise. Would the use of this overwhelming and disproportional force by Israel achieve its original stated objective of rooting out the military wing of HA and getting back, alive, the two kidnapped soldiers. Of course not. Very few conflicts, if any, achieve their stated objectives. But the failure to accomplish all what Israel had set out to achieve is not to be judged as a waste either. The results of the current campaign have changed the rules of engagement already. I doubt it whether HA, or an HA like minded organization, would in the foreseeable future be tempted to test Israeli resolve in such a cavalier manner. Once the dust is settled and the fog of war lifts I am inclined to suggest that the overwhelming majority of the Lebanese and even Arabs would feel betrayed by the adventurism of HA and the Iranian and Damascus regimes. Lebanon has a problem of learning that sovereignty is not free and Israel has a problem finding an acceptable accommodation between it and the Palestinians and the other Arab states. I hope that the current conflagration will end soon and that the lessons learned by all parties would move the region forward towards what has been an elusive stability for almost sixty years.

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