Here is a link to an article “Break The Silence” that discusses the current situation in the Middle East. It is written by a friend of mine, Miriam Azar who is half Lebanese — I don’t recall which half.
It was interesting to read the article to get a perspective on the situation from a Lebanese point of view. Usually I myself have no interest in politics or political statements; I find they tend to be subjective and biased towards whatever “beliefs” an individual may or may not have. I like to look at the cold, hard facts so I can form my own opinion. In this particular case I agree with Miriam when she says that the Israeli attacks are disproportionate in reaction to having two of their soldiers captured. Yes, that’s right: two soldiers. Not twenty, not two hundred. It seems to me like just a convenient excuse to allow Israel to “justify” their attacks. What I don’t understand is that if the problem is Hezbollah, as Israel claims, then why can’t both the Lebanese and Israeli governments co-operate to flush them out? Perhaps send in ground forces. It would appear to be a more effective and certainly less destructive solution than air strikes! Why hasn’t this been suggested before? What if the Lebanese government has no interest in getting rid of Hezbollah? I will leave you to ponder that one as I certainly don’t have an answer.
Finally, while reading an article on the BBC website about the current situation in the Middle East, I came across a comment that I found amusing made by somebody called Steve Goss:
” Israel is acting with tremendous restraint, were they targeting civilian populations there would be thousands upon thousands dead.”
Restrained? Interesting point of view. No prizes for guessing which country he is from! I guess everybody is entitled to their opinion; we live in a democracy after all as politicians like to continually remind us.
Thanks for your comments, and I wish the solution was that simple.
While many in Lebanon criticise Hizbollah, the answer to your question on why the Lebanese and Israeli Governments could not flush out Hizbollah together is complex and due to several reasons:
1) Support for Hizbollah: the movement has local (notably the Shiite community) and regional (notably Palestinian) support. This is due to its grassroot networks and extensive social welfare programmes to the underrepresented Shiite communities in Lebanon, and its resistance to Israel as the former occupier. It has earned respect from many (cross-sectarian within Lebanon and across the Arab world) for its ability to have forced Israel to retreat out of the occupied Southern part of Lebanon in 2000.
2) Raison d’etre: Hizbollah is seen as a resistance movement and one which was formed after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 to resist the Israeli occupation of the South of Lebanon. Its stated raison d’etre will continue so long as Israel occupies the Lebanese Shebaa Farms and continues to violate Lebanese airspace.
3) Lebanese Government: is weak and composed of sectarian groups with Hizbollah’s political representation (democratically elected). The Government has also been under Syrian control till last year in the aftermath of the Hariri assassination.
4) Lebanese army: is no match for Hizbollah – & more importantly, the army has a large portion of Shiites (the main sectarian group supporting Hizbollah). It would be dangerous for the Lebanese Government to send its army against Hizbollah, as this could create a disintegration of the army – or worse, send Lebanon into another civil war.
5) Lebanese society: is a make-up of various sectarian groups and is fragile following the long civil-war – so fighting internal groups would be highly risky for the unity of the country.
6) Nationalism: no-one would want the former-occupier, Israel (and one seen to still occupy the Lebanese Shebaa farms) to interfere in Lebanese affairs
7) Regional actors: happy to continue arming the group and to use southern Lebanon as a zone for their own interests. Syria is supporting Hizbollah as a joker card in its own negotiations with Israel for the occupied Golan Heights; Iran found the faction especially useful during the Iraq-Iran war in pressuring the West, and continues to support Hizbollah with arms.
Hope that answers some of your questions….Happy to further discuss this.
Did Miriam Azar ever spend time in Michigan ?