Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Israeli-Hezbollah Conflict

First of all, Israel had the right to defend itself when it was attacked by Hezbollah. Lebanon failed to do its job as a sovereign state of policing its own territory. If the United States was attacked by a terrorist organization in Canada or the United States, we would go all out in taking the threat out. When two American soldiers were kidnapped in Iraq, we did go all out trying to find them.

However, I believe Israel has gone too far and in the long term is shooting itself in the foot. Yes, Israel needed to take out the attackers. But, demolishing Lebanon's civilian infrastructure, power plants, roads, bridges, etc., was too far. There is now no road in or out of Lebanon. This means international aid, food and medicine, can't get in. Furthermore, in Southern Lebanon any moving vehicle is now a target. Southern Lebanon is also cut off from the rest of Lebanon. A few meager supplies were being delivered by hand across a fallen log over the Litani river. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14234194/) Hezbollah, which provides social services, has stepped up and is providing aid for those in Southern Lebanon. Consequently, this is going to result in converting all of them into Hezbollah supporters. In the first few days of the war, you saw on the news Lebanese who sympathized with Israel. At first many were angry at Hezbollah for bringing this upon them. But as their country was torn apart, that has changed. Support for the current Lebanese government will undoubtedly decline as its failed to solve the problem, and popular support for Hezbollah will grow. How will the Lebanese government be able to do any good now?

What is a state with a legitimate responsibility to defend its citizens suppose to do when the attacking force has mixed in with civilians? When weapons are stored in residential areas, hospitals, etc? Do they not attack and let the tactic work, or do they say its too bad but attack anyways. To be fair, Israel has warned people to leave certain areas, and not to drive, etc. But there is no way for many people to leave now. Hezbollah on the other hand is not targeting military targets, but civilian targets. Their attacks are random, at least Israel's attacks are aimed at Hezbollah, although its complicated by the fact that Hezbollah mixed in with civilians. I don't have the answer for this question. If you do have an answer, feel free to post it.

I'm not sure how the fighting will be stopped. It appears any plans that both Israel and Lebanon agree to are far off. I've never had much faith in the UN. I hope they can do something to stop the violence, but I'm skeptical. The United States really can't expect to be seen as an honest broker after so much support for Israeli and saying they didn't want the fighting to cease. At least we got the foreigners out though. That's all that really matters, isn't it?

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