How can the will of the people possibly be wrong? The Arab masses insist that Hizbollah should rain missiles on Israel.
DAMASCUS, Syria — The rapidly escalating conflict in Lebanon has divided the Arab world, deepening the gulf between rulers and ruled and reinforcing in the public's mind the impotence of leaders who for two generations have been unable to produce a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, governments with ties to the United States have guardedly denounced Hezbollah for the attack on Israel that triggered the fighting — even as their citizens began tacking up posters of Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the cleric who heads the Shiite Muslim militant group and has vowed to bring "war on every level" to Israel's door.
The disconnect between the broad range of public support for Hezbollah and the unease felt by many Arab leaders is one of the reasons that Arab governments have been largely unable to mount an effective diplomatic response to Israel's 5-day-old bombing campaign.
How frustrating for the neocons. Those democracy-hating Arab dictatorships refuse to act on the will of their populaces. By contrast, the neocons (and liberals who celebrate their faith in the diversity cult) must be excited by the triumph of Arab democracy in Lebanon. The democratically elected government in diverse, divided, and democratic Lebanon has allowed Hezbollah to act on popular Muslim sentiment toward Israel. The sizable presence of elected Hezbollah officials and popular Lebanese Muslim support for hostilities against the hated Jews has prevented the Lebanese government from cracking down on Hezbollah (the Party of God).
The Lebanese people have accomplished much over the past year, but much remains to be done. The United States, and the international community, stand with the Lebanese people as they work to reassert their independence and strengthen their democracy, and we support their call for national dignity, truth, and justice.
We call on the international community to continue to hold the Syrian regime accountable until it responds completely to concerns about its cooperation with the UN International Independent Investigation Commission, interference in Lebanon, insufficient action on the Iraqi border, sponsorship of Palestinian terrorist groups, and harsh crackdown on civil society.
The Syrian withdrawal made Syria less able to control Hezbollah and also simultaneously made the Syrian government less accountable for what Hezbollah does. While the Syrians derive some satisfaction on seeing missiles raining down on Israel the Assad regime probably would have acted to restrain Hezbollah if a large Syrian military contingent remained in Lebanon. Assad would not want Israeli warplanes attacking Syrian troops in Lebanon or Syria proper.
The US government's pressure to get Syria out of Lebanon helped enable Hezbollah to carry out the popular will of Shiite Lebanese. What is the next nutty neoconservative step? Overthrow the undemocratic regimes in Syria, Jordan, and Egypt so that elected populist theocratic leaders can better express the will of the Arab street toward Israel.
Lebanon is too diverse. Imagine breaking Lebanon up into 3 or more countries. Each one could be made so ethnically pure that the populace will accept firm rule from a government they see as of their tribe and therefore legitimate. The Shia country might still try to war with Israel. Or its elite might make the same calculation that Syria, Jordan, and Egypt's elites have made: Israel is too powerful and if they do not challenge Israel they can enjoy the perks of power.
The other alternative: Make Lebanon fully a part of undemocratic Syria. Then no missiles would fly from Lebanon into Israel. Also, Lebanese Christians would enjoy the same protection that they enjoy in Damascus.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2006 July 17 09:42 PM MidEast Arabs Versus Israelis|