Friday, July 14, 2006

Plenty of Blame

There is a lot of blame to go around for the recent implosion of the Middle East around Israel. Even some can come the United States way for failing to continue implementing change in Israel and working with the Palestinians. But most falls squarely on the shoulders of Lebanon, Syria and Iran for continuing to support terrorists activities by Hamas and Hezbollah.

Lebanon has continued to house and support Hezbollah despite repeated calls by Israel and the United States to secure their southern border and disarm Hezbollah. Can you imagine the reaction the US would have is Mexicans were constantly firing rockets across the border at Texans and the Mexican government would do nothing to stop this? The US would stop it with military action, if needed. And that is what Israel is doing now. Once again, Israel has a right to defend its borders.

However, the scale to which Israel is going to defend north Israel may be over the top. The destruction of the infrastructure in Lebanon could destabilize the country and lead to another civil war. Lebanon's last civil war just ended in 1990 and the country was just now beginning to stabilize and welcome back business. The actions of Israel threatens to reopen old wounds and cause yet another war between those who support Hezbollah and those who see Hezbollah as the stubbling block between Lebanon and progress.

There is no doubt that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. They have gained support through opening schools, hospitals and other social services in Lebanon, in addition to their support of the Palestinians. However, Hezbollah has been responsible for, or has support, several terrorists bombings in Lebanon and Israel and has repeatedly attacked Israel with rockets from southern Lebanon.

Both Syria and Iran have provided training and support to Hezbollah. Syria denies providing Hezbollah with weapons but there is little doubt. Syria remains the wild card in the conflict, as any attack on Syria would be treated as an attack on Iran which would throw the entire Middle East into conflict.

The UN is powerless in this battle as the UN has a history of anti-Israeli edicts that have made the world body useless where Israel is involved. Obviously Israel has never cared about world opinion when making decisions to protect itself against the Arab world. I go back to my second paragraph in stating that Israel has a right, and duty, to protect its citizens against outside forces.

The United States has asked Israel to show restraint but will not condemn the country for protecting its borders. The US must continue to pressure Israel not to attack Syria and to make the operations into Lebanon as short as possible. But with Hezbollah continuing to attack deeper into Israel, restraint may be a thing of the past. The US can only hope to contain the damage to Lebanon only. All Middle Eastern countries need to, and must, pressure Iran to stay out of the conflict. Iran can talk tough but at the first sign of action, there is no doubt the Israeli Air Force would love to attack potential nuclear sites in Iran. And that, folks, would lead to a fullscale conflict as I said earlier today.

It is an amazing puzzle in the Middle East. The fact that it has seemed to be making progress over the past several years is baffling. But today, I think we are seeing that no progress has been made. The unresolved issues were just bubbling beneath the surface and now it has finally bubbled over. The question now is whether anyone can turn down the heat. If not, it's going to be a long, hot summer in the Middle East. And, when all is done, only sand may be left...

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