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news & opinion with no titillating non-news from the major non-news channels.


I am: progressive, not a wild-eyed Progressive; liberal, but shun liberals and Liberals; conservative, but some Conservatives worry me; absolutely NOT a libertarian. I am: an idealist, but no utopian; a pragmatist, but no Machiavellian. I am a realist who dreams.


I welcome all opinions.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

What is Lebanon REALLY angling for?

I am not up on all the ins and outs of Lebanese politics, but it seems to me the view of a suffering state beset and torn asunder by regional strife may be a bit oversimplistic.

Lebanon, as a nation, has a unique opportunity to reclaim its sovereignty. Backed by UN resolutions and, more importantly, actual international support, the Lebanese government is sending 15,000 troops to restore its sovereign rights in southern Lebanon.

But their nemesis is not Israel; it is Hezbollah.

As Israel takes the lumps for Lebanon, both in casualties and in politics, for attempting to route Hezbollah out of its cozy arrangement, Lebanon does not seem too eager to leverage international support against Hezbollah into real success. In response to Israel's raid deep in the Bekaa Valley, undertaken in part to combat continued arms smuggling from Iran and Syria to Hezbollah,

Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr threatened to halt the army's deployment in south Lebanon if the United Nations does not take up the issue of the raid. A stop to the deployment would deeply damage efforts to move in an international force to strengthen the cease-fire.

"If there are no clear answers forthcoming on this issue, I might be forced to recommend to the Cabinet early next week the halt of the army deployment in the south," Murr told reporters after a meeting with U.N. representatives.
Lebanon appears to be more interested in playing politics with the UN (a la Iran, North Korea, Iraq under Saddam) than establishing a nation. If Lebanon is truly interested in nationhood beyond intertribal politics, maybe they could reroute those troops and occupy the Bekaa Valley instead.

Israel vs Hezbollah Ceasefire violations:
   uhm, excuse me. Point of order

Stephen Erlanger of the New York Times reports on the post-ceasefire Israeli raid deep in the Bekaa Valley,

JERUSALEM, Aug. 19 — Israeli aircraft and commandos carried out a raid deep into Lebanon on Saturday, clashing with Hezbollah forces near Baalbek and killing three, Lebanese officials said. One Israeli officer died.

The Israeli army confirmed the raid some 60 miles north of the border and said it was aimed at disrupting the continuing shipment of weapons to Hezbollah guerrillas from Iran and Syria.

Hezbollah said its fighters repulsed the commandos, who were airlifted in together with two jeeps near the village of Bodai. Israel said that one officer was killed, another seriously wounded and a third lightly wounded.

Both any resupply of weapons and the raid itself appear to constitute violations of the cease-fire resolution passed by the United Nations Security Council.

If the raid was a defensive response to a clear violation by Hezbollah, how can Israel's actions be cast in the same light?

Oh, I forgot. In this modern era of international justice, legality and morality have nothing in common....