Monday, July 17, 2006

Middle East Crisis


Its the top story in the news, so I can't very well pass commenting on this story. I think that first of all Israel is justified in its actions despite the fact that war is a horrible thing. First of all, two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped. Now, when the United States had two soldiers kidnapped in Iraq we went all out trying to find them, so we the United States certainly can't criticize Israel. They were right not to negotiate since otherwise that would encourage more such acts against them.

Secondly, Hezbollah attacked Israel from Lebanon. (If you don't know, Hezbollah is a governmental and militant Islamic Shi'ite group in Lebanon with a military and civilian arm. It has a strong militia, stronger than the Lebanese army; and it has politcal presence with a couple of ministers in the government. Hezbollah forces have been supplied by Syria and Iran. It has social services which the Lebanese government largely fails to do.) It doesn't really matter if they were attacked by a government of a state or by a group located in a state. They have the right to defend themselves. Lebanon should have kept Hezbollah under control, and they did not. In 2004, the UN passed the UN Security Council Resolution 1559, which called for a withdrawal by all remaining foreign forces in Lebanon and for the disbanding of militias, including Hezbollah in Lebanon. Needless to say, Hezbollah continued as a militia. They were suppose to when Israel pulled out of Lebanon to patrol their border with Israel but did not. Instead Hezbollah gained a stronghold there. So, Israel had to attack Hezbollah in response to protect its people.

So what should be done? Israel can't very well stop fighting as long as they're being attacked. So it would seem that Hezbollah has to give up, or be finished up by either Israel unless Lebanon does its job as a sovereign state and stop Hezbollah. Israel has said it is trying to finish off Hezobllah, a coup de grace if you will, because you can't live with a knife at your throat forever. Israel while carrying this out should take measures to avoid civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure. It has done, in part by warning civilians to clear out of various areas which they are going to attack. Although that's complicated by the fact Israel has taken attacked roads, etc., to prevent prevent Hezbollah from being resupplied. It should be pointed out that Hezbollah is attacking civilians in Israel, and is thus a terrorist group. They also need to avoid destabilizing the Lebanese government, otherwise they might end up with a worse government with which to deal. Of course a long term solution probably would have to address Iran and Syria, as they back Hezbollah.

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