17 July 2006


Rahul Mahajan, former Green Party candidate, has a post in his blog Empire Notes which draws out some interesting implications of the current war in Lebanon.

To review: Mahajan thinks there are two reasons for Israel's current war on Lebanon: 1) the "newly elevated principle of unilateralism" grants Olmert and the IDF the privilege of "doing what they want" to enemies, so that rather than the ongoing negotiations and prisoner-swaps, we have all-out war, and 2) "last year's Cedar Revolution" left Lebanon without Syrian security for its borders, so Hezbollah isn't being restrained by the Syrians. The Lebanese, well, if the Lebanese had any power before last week to restrain Hezbollah, they sure don't have it now.

Let's start with Reason number 2. So who is going to provide security for Lebanon, if the US and the Israelis continue to demonize Syria while destroying infrastructure in Lebanon? The Israelis? As the Angry Arab says on Democracy Now:
I tell you that the entire population of South Lebanon stands behind Hezbollah, whether you like it or not. My 14-year-old nephew has been raised by secular leftists, like my family is, and yet he is now a passionate, enthusiastic supporter of Hezbollah. So when Israel said they want to drive them away from South Lebanon, what are they going to do? We're talking about extermination of them?"
I imagine Lebanon becoming another Palestine, a constant punching-bag for the IDF.

Reason number 1 has scary implications too. Unilateralism means "we can ignore you if we want." But as unilateralism is accompanied by increasing violence, more and more people will be saying "I will not be ignored," regardless of how many other countries' titular heads line up behind US-backed Israeli "unilateralism." As the Angry Arab says, once again
There was a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo two days ago, and the minutes were leaked to the Arabic press, including to As-Safir, among others, and there was a clear intention. The Egyptians, the Jordanians, the Kuwaitis, as well as the Saudis, primarily the Saudis, are participating in this campaign in order to disarm and weaken Hezbollah. What they don't know, however, is this is going to have reverberations that is going to affect their own stability.

Just yesterday, a group of Saudi dissidents, intellectuals from inside the country, may of whom are Shiite, released a strong denunciation of the policies of the Saudi government. Inside Egypt yesterday, a large group of the most well known Egyptian writers, intellectuals, leftists, released another statement denunciating the position of the Egyptian government, and there were demonstrations in Jordan about that. So, of course, they are part of the conspiracy that I speak of. The Arab governments are working side-by-side with the United States and with the Israelis.
Now, it's hard to read from the press releases on the Arab League meeting (here's one from Agence France-Presse that says very little) if the Angry Arab is right about a conspiracy, or not. One thing is clear; unilateralism is not a policy that can be gotten away with indefinitely. The current order is not stable. Good luck with that.


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