NATO peacekeepers in Lebanon: Why Europe should just say no

For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind – Hosea 8:7

The new American-Israeli proposal for peace in Lebanon is a NATO-led force with a “strong mandate” rather than UN-led blue helmets. “NATO” in this case is a code word for European troops under effective US command, since it must be presumed that American forces are about as welcome in Lebanon as the IDF, and Israel is unlikely to tolerate a strong international force under any independent authority.

It would be an incredibly stupid idea for Europeans to go along with this. The “strong mandate” of such a force would no doubt be the suppression of Hezbollah. Let the Israelis do their own damn dirty work. They lost a war in Lebanon once already, let them lose again. I see no reason why Europeans should have to back Israel up in its campaign of collective punishment against the people of southern Lebanon. “Israel has the right to defend itself” – this has been the mantra of Israeli governments for decades, evoked in defense of every atrocity it commits. So let them defend themselves. Why should Europe intervene in support of a state that targets civilians?

I don’t blog much about Israel, in part because any position less than 90% in Israel’s favour leads to being labeled as anti-Semitic. But this proposal to send in NATO affects my life directly. I should disclose that I have a vested interest in this, or at least a bigger vested interest than most people far from Lebanon. For reasons that some of my readers know but which I do not disclose on blogs, sending a NATO force to attack Hezbollah puts my life and the lives of those I care about at substantially increased risk. I see no reason why I should take risks for Israel’s security.

Make no mistake – deploying an international force to Lebanon, or at least any international force likely to have US and Israeli support, is backing Israel. The only grounds under which I would support it would be if it also had a mandate to defend Lebanon against Israel – to bomb Israel if Israeli planes or ground forces cross the border no matter what Hezbollah does.

There are reports that this attack was planned far in advance, and that the justifications given for it are little more than pretexts. This SF Gate article is making the rounds. Worse still, if true it suggests that no one briefed Bush on it – or at least that’s what his little open mike gaffe suggests. To send in NATO now would turn the alliance into nothing more than an arm of US foreign policy. It would make our nations no different from Britain – America’s lapdogs.

And, according to the NY Times, Israel has no real intention of ridding south Lebanon of Hezbollah. Israel’s ambassador the US on Face the Nation: “What we’re doing now inside of Lebanon is really mopping up, […] It’s going to be in-and-out operations, and we’re not going to stay in Lebanon, not at all.” This means that even if Israel has managed to destroy a few Hezbollah rocket launchers, they’ll just get more from Syria and Iran. Hezbollah needs only to survive this conflict to claim victory. They can say that they stood up to Israel, just as they did after the 1982 invasion, and survived. They can claim to be the only force in the Middle East capable of attacking Israel and scoring points. That’s victory for them. So, Israel cannot even justify its assault on civilians by claiming that it’s likely to work.

To send Europeans in to win (or more likely, lose) a war planned by Israel and the US but which neither is willing or able to fight will not lead to any enduring peace and will only embolden the worst forces in Israeli, American and Middle Eastern society.

One of the things this conflict should make plain is the emptiness of arguments about the laws of war. Terrorism clearly kills fewer civilians than “legal” warfare, and Israel’s “legitimate” right to self-defense is undoubtedly worse for civilians than Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel. It is disheartening to see American newspapers publish articles claiming that Lebanese civilians aren’t really civilians, since they support terrorism. This is identical logic to the claim that Israelis aren’t civilians, since they support the occupation and IDF aggression. Why should I support an Israel that targets civilians over a Hezbollah that does the same, especially when Israel is the more effective killer?

The NY Times is also reporting a lot of reticence on the part of NATO members to going along with this plan for an international force. Good. They claim, according to the article, that NATO is already stretched thin in Afghanistan, Bosnia and possibly soon Darfur. I have reasons to suspect this is true, even if it is also a convenient excuse.

Considering the deflation of Israel’s stated goals in Lebanon over the last few weeks – from “crush Hezbollah” to “get Lebanon to crush Hezbollah” to “stop Hezbollah from firing rockets into Israel” to the current “reduce Hezbollah’s arsenal by up to 50%” – they’ve clearly bitten off more than they can chew. Ehud Olmert is the first Israeli prime minister in a long time who was never an IDF general. He also appears to have as much sense for military strategy as George W Bush. If Palestinians can be punished for voting for Hamas, I see no reason to spare Israel the consequences of having voted for this fool.

If Europe bails Israel out by fighting Hezbollah on their behalf, we will do neither Israel nor Lebanon any service. I’ll stand for massive and unconditional aid for rebuilding Lebanon, but not for sending in Europe’s armies to fight Hezbollah.

38 thoughts on “NATO peacekeepers in Lebanon: Why Europe should just say no

  1. Doesn’t the US already give away enough free money for Israeli defence? Why not just draft us all into the IDF? That will certainly solve the problem no?

  2. The new American-Israeli proposal for peace in Lebanon

    Whose plan is it? Traditionally Israel has insisted that Israel’s defense be in Israeli hands. Is this an American proposal which Israel just agrees to, to not offend its main sponsor?

    As I see it, they are asking for voluteers in a guerilla campaign against the organisation that invented the modern suicide bombing. Not even EU politicians are stupid enough to agree to that. Why is anybody proposing that? Desperation? Obfuscation? Shifting the blame?

  3. It is absurd to suggest that because Israel had a plan tucked away in a drawer that it was planning to attack Lebanon. Of course every nation under some kind of threat plan for every eventuality and Israel is no different.
    It would be absurd to come up with a plan only after being attacked especially for a nation of Israel’s size.
    If Israel was waiting to use this plan why didn’t it do so in 2000 when its army was attacked, killed and then had its soldiers ransomed for Lebanese terrorists. Also, why in 2002 when Hizbollah attacked Israel again killing soldiers and civillians sis it not attack if it was so wanting to do so?
    The fact is Israel “turned the other cheek” so many times to these actions and the fact that an armed militia struck across the border with impunity.
    Enough was quite simply enough.
    Even so, why did you not highlight the fact that Hizbollah head Nasrallah has been on record many times proposing Hizbollah do exactly what it did two weeks ago. Why did the Lebanese government not stop him? Hizbollah are sitting in the government and still the Lebanese government did nothing. They are to blame. Now they say they will bring Lebanese troops to the border, its six years too late.
    And just in case anyone thought the Lebanese army inacpable they have 75,000 tropps to Hizbollahs 12,000.

  4. May I Say A huge Thank You to you, Scott Martens for having the intelligence to see through the Israeli propaganda and to have the courage to speak the truth at a time when the truth itself has become labelled “anti-Semitic”.

    For those that believe that Israel is today killing Civilians in Lebanon by some sort of “Mistake” have a read through the wonderful quotes of the Israeli Leaders:

    “We must expel Arabs and take their place.” (David Ben Gurian, former Labor Party Prime Minister, 1937).

    “It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism, colonization or Jewish state without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands.” (Ariel Sharon, former Likud Party Prime Minister, Agence France Press, November 15, 1998).

    IT IS CLEAR IN THE ISRAELI’S OWN WORDS WHAT THEY DO TO THE PALESTINIANS IN GAZA, WHAT THEY DO TODAY IN LEBANON WAS PLANNED 20 YEARS AGO, THEIR MISSION:

    TO DISPEL THE ARABS AND EXTEND ISRAEL.

    “You don’t simply bundle people onto trucks and drive them away. I prefer to advocate a positive policy, to create, in effect, a condition that in a positive way will induce people to leave.” (Ariel Sharon, August 24, 1988)

    This is not a letter as much as it is a plea, my grand father died in the second world war, and now I get to live and watch the Jews do onto others as was done onto them.

    This is a plea to those with a conscience to TELL THE WORLD THE TRUTH ABOUT ISRAEL WITHOUT FEAR:

    It is a plea to STOP ISRAEL’S MISSION OF TAKING OVER THE WHOLE OF THE MIDDLE EAST AND IN THEIR OWN WORDS ‘GETTING RID OF THE ARABS’.

    It is a plea to ALL those who care about democracy or justice to fight NOW in order to prevent and STOP more Israeli war crimes and massacres.

    Stop changing the subject by pointing at Syria, Iran and HisbAllah, this is bigger than that, this is ETHNIC CLEANSING in the most horrific form.

    If in the least it is what Israel Says Wiping out a whole nation in order to get two soldiers back, surely that too, is no less a Crime? or is it?

    Johnathan

  5. Couldn’t agree more. This must be the traditional silly season over the summer if anyone is suggesting that. And I agree that anything less than 90% pro Israel is taken to be anti-semitic. Personally I am pro-Jewish but anti-Israel.

  6. These quotes from Jontan re coleely false. I am familiar with these quotes because time and time again they are used to put words in the mouths of Israeli leaders. They never made these comments.
    Facts are what is important.
    1) Israel accepted partition in 1947, creating an Arab-Palestinian state and a Israeli state. The Arabs did not.
    2) After Israel captured the territories in 1967, Israeli leaders waited for Arab leaders to call them to negotiate peace without putting a single settler or army base. The Arab league at Khartoum rejected even speaking with Israel.
    3) Israel has never even annexed the West Bank and Gaza, thus meaning they never intended to hold onto them forever. They were and are waiting for an Arab leader to come forard and seek peace under UN Security Council Resolution 242 (which the Arabs rejected at the time).
    4) In 2000, Barak offered all of the Arab requests for peace seriously destroying any red lines the Israelis had. Meaning a total withdrawl. The Arab rejected it.
    5) In 2006, Arabs came from Gaza and Lebanon (two areas where there is not an Israeli foot on and no occupation) and atarted a war with Israel.
    These are all facts. It has never been about occupation. While there is a single Jew living in a single square meter of Israel/Palestine wthe war will continue.

  7. It has little to no sense to discuss the history of that area yet again. Neither should we take sides in somebody else’s war. We are Europeans, neither Arabs nor Israelis.

    For now, we can’t do a lot in any case. But we should discuss future implications.
    1. Is Hizbollah a problem that needs to be dealt with from our point of view?
    2. What are the implications for our internal security?
    3. How will Israel develop? If Olmert is considered a failure, will his party dissolve? If so, will Likud emerge triumphant and what will they do?

  8. I would like to let Israel destroy itself and loose this war but if we let it continue there willl be an destruction of Lebanon and a huge (more huge) civillian tole. I definatley agree with you, and I sincerely hope that Europe will intervene but only as a truly nuetral presence without incluence from America or Israel, with the power to stop Israeli as well as Hezbollah invasions and agressions. Israel’s actions are atrotious and I do hope that Europe will deliver on a hope held around the world that they can finally assert their role in International Politics by standing up to the U.S. and Israel.

  9. Excellent article. I too agree there is no reason for anybody to fight and die for Israel’s “defense”. I am puzzled by the fact that nobody has questioned why the UN would send a force to protect Israeli/American interests when it is obvious they have no respect for the UN. Case in point: Ash alluded to it above when he mentioned the captured territories above. But what he failed to mention is the fact that the UN Security Council passed resolution 242 that called for Israel to return to the pre-67 war borders. This and numerous other instances where Israel flagrantly disregarded the UN simply prove their contempt for that body.
    I for one am ashamed that my country, America, supports Israel’s illegal occupation and continued punishment of the Palestinian and now Lebanese people.

  10. I am shocked by the lack of sympathy for one side or another when reading about this topic. Any solution to one of the worlds most serious conflicts should not be dismissed out of hand.
    The lack of sympathy for both sides is particularly interesting on a site that extolls the virtues of the place from which most of the “opressors” are ancestors of people who were very, very lucky to even have assumed the status of refugees. If the US continues to let the problem festor due to less than benign neglect and Europe does nothing, the world really will be worse for it.

  11. Thank you.

    I am sick an tired of hearing the likes of Limbaugh asking what people are doing in Lebanon and why don’t they have the $200 the US is cahrging to get them out.

    Hey Rush, a 16 year old from Marietta, GA is visiting RELATIVES. Oh, and yeah, he paid for one ticket and Israel blew up the airport.

    This has created another generation of hatred.

    What john said.

  12. Ah yes, once again we see that famed European moral courage. People are dying, and once again Europeans don’t want to stick their neck out. It worked so well in Bosnia and Rwanda after all, so let’s do it again. It’s not like Europeans aren’t intimately involved in creating the problems in the first place.

    Lebanon is essentially a failed state, where the recognized political authority does not have a monopoly on violence. How would you suggest resolving this problem, or do you view it as not a problem? If your current belief is that we should do nothing about the current crisis and let Israel fight it out with Hezbollah, then it seems to me like you think lots of death and destruction is the preferable option. Do you want to fight Israel to the last Lebanese?

    It seems to me the preferable option is an end to the war, death, and destruction, and strong measures to make sure that something like this doesn’t happen again. I don’t see why an international force wouldn’t help the parties to agree. I don’t care about supporting Israel or Hezbollah or Lebanon or Tonga for that matter. It seems the smart thing to do is end the violence and allow people on both sides of the border to live in peace.

  13. Scott, I’ve never read a stronger argument for American unilateralism and isolationism than your piece. I wish you had expressed similar sentiments before we wasted our time in the former Yugoslavia. Nice job the UN has done there, by the way.

  14. Vin, how exactly is that supposed to happen? Unless the deployment of a force in Lebanon accompanies someone, well actually just Israel, addressing the real, legitimate, underlying grievances behind this conflict, there will be no peace no matter who gets deployed.

    It’s not cowardice to be unwilling to die for absolutely nothing.

    I’m prepared to bear the risk involved in rooting out Hezbollah if, and only if, Israel takes serious, concrete and immediate measures to address real, legitimate issues. That means at the very least acknowledging that Hamas is the legally elected government of the Palestinian Authority with whom it is obligated to negotiate under the “Road Map” plan, releasing Hamas officials from detention and withdrawing from Gaza. Better still would be stating that Palestinians have a legal right to a genuine state on territory currently occupied by Israel and that Palestinians have a legal right to compensation, in cash, land, or both, for Israeli seizures dating back at least to 1967. Israel will not agree to any of those things, so I see little point in taking risks that do nothing but promote a murderous status quo.

    I’m willing to take risks. But not for nothing, only for real results.

  15. vin rahm the opposing point to your logis is why add europeans to the mix of antagnists if they cant achieve anything.

    a european force with a mandate to root out Hizbollah but then utter meaningless “please dont’s” to Israel’s violations (am presuming their would be, i accept that it may not happen, but if it does thats all we’ll do).

    that strikes me as just adding another party to the conflict and not resolving it at all just burying it.

    however if the europeans were allowed monitor israeli military positions in similiar manor to those of the lebonnese it would be more palatable for the eurpeans. tho i would add chinesse as well keep it real multinational, not western.

    what many in the lofty position of seated behind a computer fail to realise that the only people who can truely bring pease in the region is the israelies and (to a large extent) the arab countries surrounding it and (to a lesser extent) other muslim countries. neither europe or certainly not america can “Impose” pease.

  16. I sincerely hope that Europe will intervene but only as a truly nuetral presence without incluence from America or Israel, with the power to stop Israeli as well as Hezbollah invasions and agressions

    This exactly is impossible. If Europe keeps both sides from fighting, Israel will profit. Or, as is likely, European forces could not stop Hizbollah, Hizbollah will profit. There’s no middle ground.

  17. I am shocked by the lack of sympathy for one side or another when reading about this topic. Any solution to one of the worlds most serious conflicts should not be dismissed out of hand.

    Sympathy is not an acceptable answer when you tell parents, what their son died for.

  18. “I’m willing to take risks. But not for nothing, only for real results.”

    A prosperous, peaceful Lebanon is nothing? A Lebanon that isn’t used as a proxy by other more powerful states is nothing? Peace in Lebanon is unimportant as long as the Palestinian peace process isn’t successful?

    I really don’t understand why you think Lebanon must burn just so that more political pressure can be applied to Israel. It doesn’t seem obvious to me that Lebanon and Palestine are irretrievably linked. Hezbollah has both cynical and heartfely reasons to react to Israeli actions against the Palestinians, but it isn’t obvious to me that the heartfelt ones aren’t superior to the cynical ones. How many Lebanese lives is an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and a settlement with Hamas worth to you? I really can’t understand why you think it is acceptable to hold Lebanon hostage to acts and situations over which it has little influence (ie the peace process).

  19. A prosperous, peaceful Lebanon is nothing?

    It is a pipe dream. As long as Hizbollah wants Lebanon to be a battlefield, it will be.

    hold Lebanon hostage to acts and situations over which it has little influence (ie the peace process)

    Again this is a pipe dream. An organisation like Hizbollah, once formed, strengthened and successfull, doesn’t simply dissolve. It will try to grab power in Lebanon.

  20. Does the use of missiles by Hezbollah against Haifa get categorised as collective punishment?

    It would appear that Mr. Marten has far less of an issue with Hezbollah’s actions than Israel’s. I find this hard to understand; this front was quiet until Hezbollah initiated a new conflict. He hopes Israel loses this conflict; I assume this is because he feels Hezbollah should not be prevented from firing those missiles (is there another interpretation?).

    Look, I don’t have a dog in the fight; I’m Indian. I do have to say that while the general US position seems a bit blindly uncritical of Israel, the general position of the European Left seems comprised of an utter lack of analysis or even self-awareness. To each proposition, they ought ask “are we holding all parties in this conflict to the same standard?”

    If the Palestinian rockets in Gaza are justified by an attack/prisoners in Israeli jails/oppression, then Israeli airstrikes are justified by Palestinian suicide bombers/the repeated invasion of Israel by all of its Arab neighbours (including Jordan (to which the West Bank belonged) and Egypt (to which Gaza belonged) before 1967)/Hamas rockets. A far better position would be to oppose both justifications, and vehemently oppose all violence which is not strictly (narrowly) self-defence. Opposing that, and thus opposing any violence that targets civilians means opposing:
    * suicide bombings from Hamas/AAMB/IJ
    * excessive collateral damage when Israel targets Hamas/AAMB/IJ militants (which _are_ legitimate during this conflict, to prevent attacks in the future, just as attacks on Israeli military installations by militants are reasonable)
    * Hamas/Hezbollah shelling of Israeli towns
    * Israeli attacks on Lebanese infrastructure

    Many of the above comments regard the issue as Israel v Hezbollah; don’t intervene or else in suppressing Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel, Israel will profit. Does this truly bother you? The entire point of a cease-fire is to “suppress” both sides’ ability to wage war across the cease-fire line. A fair ceasefire should see the Lebanese profit AND the Israelis profit. I can’t imagine why anyone would care if Hezbollah profits; oughtn’t the Lebanese security forces have a monopoly of force within Lebanon? Thus oughtn’t Hezbollah be disarmed?

    One last question: Why on earth does the European Left condemn Israel far in the excess of its opposition to the Sudanese genocide? What is the world-view that finds Israel’s treatment of the residents of the West Bank and Gaza worse than (or even comparable to) 400,000 dead civilians?

    As an aside: Hezbollah gives as its reason for restarting this conflict the fact that Israel has its members in prison, many without trial.

    Israel’s prisoners (and those soldiers held by Hamas/Hezbollah) are prisoners of war. Not only do they not “deserve” trials, but in fact cannot be tried unless they are guilty of war crimes; the Geneva convention prohibits trying soldiers engaged in war so long as they have not participated in grossly vile acts. All parties are required to treat these prisoners with a minimum level of decency, but they can be imprisoned, and both sides are allowed to mount rescue efforts. These rescue efforts cannot include shelling random towns, any more than Israel would be justified in nuking Beirut to get its soldiers back.

  21. The entire point of a cease-fire is to “suppress” both sides’ ability to wage war across the cease-fire line. A fair ceasefire should see the Lebanese profit AND the Israelis profit.

    It would, but the Lebanese, unless affiliated with Hizbollah, are only passive participants in this war.

    I can’t imagine why anyone would care if Hezbollah profits

    They themselves will. Unfortunately they have the means to voice their concerns and are willing to use them.

    Thus oughtn’t Hezbollah be disarmed?

    A lot of things in this world are not as they ought to be. That still doesn’t make death for them any more sensible.

    And we need to be realistic. You don’t disarm an organisation like Hizbollah against its will. You’d have to kill them and a lot of people they hide among.

  22. Scott Martens – “Terrorism clearly kills fewer civilians than “legal” warfare…”

    Try telling that to the citizens of Pakistan. Today.

  23. Scott,

    I find your position on this matter to be rather ill-informed as well as disingenuous from a global balance perspective. And self-serving (according to your death threat concerns), which you acknowledged.

    I can understand the self-interest posture, but not the global strategy. Your amateur approach is quite dangerous in the long term.

    The Israeli fight is with Iran and Syria.

    The goal is to pull Syria back from Iran’s reach. That happens to be a major goal shared by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the five GCC nations, as well as Israel.

    Why? Simple. Otherwise, Iran’s Medieval regime will sweep the Middle East within 10-15 years. They know it. The dominoes will fall quickly once it begins. It’s likely that Iraq will tumble over first if the situation doesn’t improve. Syria and Iran, along with sponsored terrorist groups, are the driving external influences on that front. (I am distinguishing from the internal divisions ramping up into a full scale civil war.)

    Apparently, you are oblivious to this issue. And the potential ramifications not only for the Middle East, but Europe, and ultimately the Americas. Meanwhile, Chavez is busy sucking up to Iran.

    Fortunately, the Arab nations get it. As do some Western powers along with India and a few other nations.

  24. Israel has what it takes to lay any and all of her enemies to waste. It’s just a question of escalation and political will.

    Israel could end this current conflict by tonight if they wanted to, but they’d face international condemnation for reducing Lebanon- and Hezbollah- to glowing green shards of glass.

  25. Movie Guy, at this point Israel is conceding that international peacekeepers will not have as a mission the disarmament of Hezbollah. That guarantees that any such deployment will have no impact at all on Iran, Syria or any other political dispute in the Middle East. It’s nothing more than an excuse for Israel to get out of a war that it’s losing. So much for the “strong mandate”.

    Again, why should European troops spare Israel the shame of its own bad strategic choices? Why should they interpose themselves between two enemies that have no intention of not fighting? Why should outsiders enter Lebanon on a mission that’s doomed to fail?

  26. Scott,

    This is still in the formative stage. And it really doesn’t matter.

    The UN still has to enforce UNSR 1559. Or its successor resolution. NO waffling in the future. Or we will see a major war.

    “Again, why should European troops spare Israel the shame of its own bad strategic choices?”

    To avoid a full scale war between the USA, Israel, and Iran. The war that many West Euro nations want to avoid.

    Or we can just move to the main event on the fight card.

  27. It is time the Europeans stand up against the USA. We should should begin by ceasing to refer to Israel but rather go to the heart of the matter and refer to the Jews. It is the Jews of London and New York who have the politicians in their pockets that call the tune. No where has it been clearer than the conference in Rome where Britain and US stood firm against the rest of the world. The USA has mid-term elections in November and the Republicans desperately need the Jewsish contribution to their Party funds. Surely it is time for Europe to stand together and say NO to helping the US out of the MidEast mess they created. USA is bankrupt and now they want Europe to pay for their total incompetence. The world needs to realise that the Jewish social order has not advanced since Moses, 4000 years ago. They still have to take revenge; an eye for an eye. There is no place for such backward thinking in a modern world so desperately trying to work together. If the USA cannot see this then why should Europe be blind as well.

    [This commenter has been banned for anti-Semitism. There are lines we don’t cross here. That’s one of them — Scott Martens]

  28. Movie Guy, when was the last time Israel took a UN resolution seriously? If Israel, Iran, Syria and the US want to go to war, another bunch of peacekeepers won’t stop any of them. Note that Israel has twice in the last ten years bombed UNFIL installations – I don’t see them taking peacekeepers seriously if it interferes with their ability to make war. Hezbollah has historically had even less respect for outside armies.

    Going to Lebanon, especially with a mandate to implement 1559, will only drag more countries into such a war if it does occur.

  29. Movie Guy, two of Israel’s prime ministers were avowed, confessed terrorists, and another one almost certainly ordered terrorist attacks, while another has admitted to aiding and abetting terrorists. If there is one nation in the world that ought not to be able to say “we will not negotiate with terrorists”, it’s Israel. Israel can have no peace until it is prepared to negotiate with its enemies in good faith. The whole point of negotiations is to deal with your enemy. Iran has nothing to do with either of those principles.

    Scott,

    I understand what you are saying. I have said it previously, but I was generally wrong. Israel will gain little from talking with terrorist groups that only have the aim of destroying Israel’s existence and the avowed death of all its citizens. You can’t negotiate effectively with terrorist organizations that have such firm aims and repeated demonstrated performance. To suggest that this opinion is unrealistic brings LaLaLand pie-in-the-sky thinking to mind. Prove your case if you can, but otherwise you are riding a dead horse into an imaginary reality. Once you figure that out, what’s are your recommended options?

    To suggest that the aims of Israel and its citizens are the same as Hamas, Hizballah, and other terrorist organizations (infiltrated and/or elected within governmental bodies or not) is not the case.

    The post-warfare issue is UN resolution 1559, followed immediately by other initiatives to resolve the remaining serious issues in Gaza. The two-state plan is still a viable course for Palestine and Israel. Whether changes will occur within that framework remain to be seen.

  30. “Going to Lebanon, especially with a mandate to implement 1559, will only drag more countries into such a war if it does occur.”

    Scott,

    We’re not watching a fight only between Hizballah and Israel. It’s much larger than that. And this appears to be lost on you, unfortunately.

    As for the latest and most unfortunate deadly UN outpost bombing, note that Israel forces contacted the UN at least 12 times advising that Hizballah forces were too close to the UN forces at that location. One UN report states that some Hizballah forces were within ten feet of a UN monitor/advisor. One UN officer who died in the attack had supposedly forwarded emails which indicate that Hizballah was sitting on top of them. I’m certainly not excusing what happened, but you can’t have Hizballah terrorists firing at Israel, and then walking over to a UN guy and firing up a cigarette. That simply won’t fly. And it didn’t.

    Israel has repeatedly asked that UN Security Council resolution 1559 be enforced. The UN passed it, and the UN has a responsibility to insure its compliance. Otherwise, the resolution needs to be withdrawn and the future of the UN put into question. No one should want that.

    Let’s not act like UN Security Council resolution 1559 doesn’t exist. It’s been on the books for a while. Anyone paying any attention to its enforcement? Name the supporters attempting to enforce it. Name any…

    What would Israel’s complaint be if Hizballah wasn’t occupying territory in Lebanon or located elsewhere nearby? Same question for Hamas, and a host of other Palestine terrorist groups.

    U.S. SecSTATE Powell stated it best back in 2003. (That’s one of the key references that you readily dismissed and deleted from your web site)

  31. That’s a misplace post at July 28, 2006 11:37 AM, but it is still an issue worth discussing anywhere. Scott raises a valid point. But there is another side to that issue.

  32. Scott,

    I was attacking you personally over the UN 1559 issue, but rather trying to say that it is a security council resolution that, in many ways, was blown off or left at the end of the table.

    Granted, the compliance requirements can’t happen overnight, but the UN Force certainly wasn’t getting it done. Not if we are to measure compliance with the number of Hizballah/Iranian missiles blasted at Israel.

  33. Movie Guy, as far as I can tell, Hamas is quite prepared to negotiate real, on the ground, issues. Furthermore, I remind you that the IRA has never acknowledged a British right to Northern Ireland, and still doesn’t, and yet negotiations with them have been quite productive.

    You can’t negotiate effectively with terrorist organizations that have such firm aims and repeated demonstrated performance.

    You know there are Arabs who say the same thing about Israel? Look, it makes no sense to say “we can’t negotiate with them because they want to destroy us”. When has Israel acknowledged that Hamas has a right to exist, or Hezbollah? As for making an equivalence between Israel and its enemies, that’s not a good direction to go in. Hezbollah and Hamas do not hold millions of people under oppressive conditions.

    But in the end, look, if you think NATO should go into Lebanon to get rid of Hezbollah, you’re asking me, personally, to run a high risk of losing my wife or getting killed myself. Unless you’re in the IDF, you are probably asking me to run a higher risk than you face yourself, because under the normal laws of war, doing so would make my wife a completely legitimate military target for Hezbollah every time she goes to work, and would make me a target if I go to my bank, or my gym, or to meet my wife at her office. That makes this my personal problem.

    Getting rid of Hezbollah only serves to advance Israel’s interests. I am not a servant of the UN and I am certainly not a servant of the Security Council and the sole veto power that determines what it does and doesn’t resolve to do. Israel ignores UN resolutions as it sees fit – there are plenty relating to the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights, and the rights of Palestinian civilians under Israeli rule and Israel ignores them all. I don’t see why my life should be put on the line just because the US managed to push an unenforceable resolution through the Security Council.

    Israel’s plan puts my family at risk. And Israel has done nothing to make me willing to risk my life for it.

  34. Scott – “Getting rid of Hezbollah only serves to advance Israel’s interests.”

    No, that’s where your argument has a weakness.

    Saudi Arabia is not opposed to Hezbollah because of a desire to see the advancement of Israel. Jordon is not only concerned about Isreal when it has to turn back Hamas efforts in Jordan. And so so.

    The Hezbollah reach extends far beyond Isreal, the Middle East, and places where we would normally expect to find it (Iraq, Turkey, and so on). Hezballoh, Hamas, (and Al Qaeda) operations are found as far away as South America, Central America, and North America. It’s rather astonishing, but it’s being observed and countered in such locales.

    The rest of your argument I support from an individual perspective.

    Let me change the dynamics and see if you understand any part of my reasoning.

    See the next post.

  35. Scott,

    I really do understand what you are saying with regard to your personal considerations, but I can’t back support your decision from a macro perspective.

    Here’s why. (and I’ll skip the Arab, Persian, and Israeli arguments for the moment)

    First, let me change our environments.

    You and I have been promoted. You are now the president and final authority of Arab country X1. I am now president and final authority of Arab country X2. We have broader obligations and responsibilities to our nation states and citizens. We no longer have the luxury of only being concerned for our individual welfare.

    So, now what do we do? We make decisions based on the macro pictures that we see. To that end, we have a fundamental decision about the future and the events, trends, and activities we observe.

    Jumping to present day, we are both faced with the Israel-Hezbollah (I changed the spelling for you) military engagement. And we have some decent intelligence at our disposal. We already know that Iran’s leadership has a very serious goal of eliminating Israel and the Jewish people. We have seen of that in various parts of the world. We know the speeches, including those of 7 July, 8 July, and the follow on speeches. Beyond the consideration of Israel (let’s assume that we don’t like them, either), there is the consideration of our own Arab nations. Is the growing influence of Iran and those elements through which such influence is exerted a concern? We have to make a judgment. If so, what are our plans of action? And so on.

    I’ll be frank. My country shall not fall under the Medieval influences of Iran’s cleric or government leadership. Not while I am the leader. Risk or not. We will not play the accommodation nor fear game. Iran isn’t strong yet in terms of military deployable nor economic strength. So, in my country, we take a stand. We don’t necessarily go full confrontation, but we watch for all of the signs of penetration at every level of society. In my country, we are transitioning to democracy and this increases the risk. Yes, it’s gets complicated. More complicated when I learn that Hamas and Hezbollah are both trying to conduct operations and citizen conversion operations in our nation. With ease, I direct the government of my nation to stand watch and curtail their activities, knowing full well that they are tied to the doctrine flowing from Iran.

    Pushing aside the primary considerations of my nation, I have to view the ongoing military engagement between Israel and Hezbollah (including moral, military replenishment, troop reinforcements, and religious/government doctrine support) as a local and regional threat. Certainly, I want there to be peace. So, I am supporting those efforts (whatever they may be) leading to a stoppage of the bombing campaigns by both military forces. Further, I am supporting the creation of a limited buffer zone between all territories involved (meaning that I support one for Gaza as well). And, I will have to support disarming the Hezbollah and Hamaz armies as well as their own supporting terrorist subgroups. I have no choice in my judgment to stem the flow of influence from Iran, realizing that its leadership is moving as quickly as humanly possible to sell and install its ideology throughout the region. I seek no military confrontation with Iran, but I will not subordinate my nation’s interests to the ongoing Iranian Islamic campaign that will roll back moderate goals and liberal ideals, both of which are publicly denounced by Iran and were denounced once again with the last week.

    So, I have had to make decisions on behalf of my nation and our citizens. Not easy decisions, but decisions that nonetheless had to be made now or in the future. I elected to make the decisions now to avoid the potential for a stronger opponent later. Appeasement and delay will not soften the current regime in Iran, and I know that. As do other Arab rulers.

    Did I make the correct decision for my nation? If not, please explain what I should have done with the understanding that Iran will not back off from its goals and ambitions.

  36. the UN Force certainly wasn’t getting it done

    It was never ordered to. UNIFIL has been there since 1978, before Hezbollah existed. UNTSO has been there since 1948.

    Appeasement and delay will not soften the current regime in Iran, and I know that. Really? Reasons? Or is this just a game of “pretend it’s the 1930s and bagsy I get to be Winston Churchill?”

  37. I agree that the UN forces weren’t put into an active engagement regarding UNSC resolution 1559. I’m not suggesting that it would have been easy. But the Lebanaon government needed some help beyond pushing Syria out.

    MG: Appeasement and delay will not soften the current regime in Iran, and I know that.

    Alex: Really? Reasons? Or is this just a game of “pretend it’s the 1930s and bagsy I get to be Winston Churchill?”

    Hardly the case on your last snipe.

    I can not name any recent examples where any major nations’ appeasement with the Iranian supreme cleric or the current regime has met with any success.

    Instead, I am observing patterns that suggest the opposite remains in play. The EU3/G-8/UN negotiations over nuclear nonproliferation provide such an example. Iran’s continued actions in Iraq serve as another example. And Iran’s covert ops overseas serve as yet another glaring example. Iran’s cleric and government leadership has no respect for appeasement, as it is viewed as a weakness to be pursued.

    Iran is ‘switched on’, driven by an ideology geared toward achievement and strong emotional desires for a succession of successes. And the goal is to defeat liberalism, as evidenced once again in a recent speech by its president.

    My father served on a military MAG mission in Iran during the early sixties. I learned quite much about Iran culture during that assignment. In the fall, winter, and spring of 1980, while living in what was then West Germany and the Netherlands, I talked to many Iranians returning from the U.S., and Europe who were headed home to Iran to join the revolution. There was nothing that was going to stand in their way, as they were on a mission. You could see it in their eyes. There was nothing that would sway them from their objectives.

    In assignments and travel before and since 1980, I have witnessed levels of zeal that were worth noting in various groups and individuals around the world. Only with Israeli, Greek, and Turkish citizens have I noted levels of zeal and purpose that rival those of Iranians. And a few hardline cultures in Africa.

    When you see that level of zeal and determination, you never forget it. And, in my case, I wonder how long the shallowness and lack of dedication in the Western nations will hold up. It’s not enough to have wealth and moderate luxury. One has to really want Democracy in order for it to survive. You have to WANT IT. And most Westerners don’t understand that lesson.

    I read the Iranian president’s web page updates frequently. If unaware of documented outcomes and external government/industry/private observations, it wouldn’t be difficult to say that Iran was on the right track. But reality suggests otherwise. And the number of hangings in the past three months implies that Iran is ironfisting its dissidents and social law violators, including young women (as young as 16 just last week), more harshly than any recent period. Iran is now engaged in a program to build more prisons.

    I have no problem with your disagreeing with me, but the snipe approach isn’t the best for a dialogue. If you have more factual knowledge, share it.

    Perhaps you can provide some examples of Iranian leadership appeasement that have not been overturned at the next corner (meaning that the Iranians abided by their negotiated word).

    As I have done previously, I am open to your presentation of different views. If I am wrong, I will admit it. Thus far, you haven’t turned over any rocks that I haven’t looked under.

    I am still waiting for the innocence of Iran leadership posts, Alex. Let’s get that particular discussion up on a reasonably intellectual level.

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