Thursday, August 03, 2006

Israel, Lebanon, and the Third World War

I have so many thoughts on this topic, I'm not quite sure where to start. I guess I have to start with values.

I value Peace. Wow, way to go out on a limb, 'eh. War is bad. Yay, two for two on the controversy meter. We have an obligation as the rest of the world, to not allow this conflict to continue with the intensity that it is. The only way to stop a cycle of violence is to intervene and slow the cycle. Unfortunately, this conflict will not be solved, or stopped, by the parties involved. Even if Israel achieves its goals of wiping out Hesbellah (not likely) they will only do so through the obliteration of a large portion of Lebanon, or the middle east as a whole. Doing so will only serve to strengthen the conviction of the militants and drive the moderates closer to the extremes. Peace, must be the goal. Lasting peace can only be achieved be beginning with a temporary peace. The Bush/Harper/Israeli view that lasting peace can only be achieved through the obliteration of hesbellah is dangerous in that it only empowers Israel to continue to use force and violence to solve its problems and does nothing to address the root causes of the violence. I won't even begin to acknowledge that I have any idea as to what the root causes of the violence are, and that is part of the problem (I'll explain this in more detail later.) I know that I don't completely understand all of the issues involved, but I am trying.

To help myself try to understand the situation, I came up with a hypothetical parallel situation (which I am sure will get my phone tapped.) Hesbellah is an opposition political party in Lebanon with a military wing. Lebanon as a nation does not directly endorse its actions. This most recent conflict began with Hesbellah directing missile attacks at Israel from cities in Lebanon. To model this conflict I created the following hypothetical and asked myself what reaction I hope would come from it. Let's say that the NDP militarized and created a store of long range missiles in, oh, let's say Winnipeg. They then launched missiles from Winnipeg at the Pentagon. The problem for the United States in this situation is that the country of Canada has not attacked the US, just a group within Canada has. Israel's response would be akin to the US, in my simulation, explaining to the citizens of Winnipeg (some of whom are NDP supporters and some of whom are not) that they must leave their homes within the next few days before the Americans attack the city. This would inevitably be followed by attacks on Winnipeg, followed by attacks on other american targets by NDP forces in other Canadian cities. The cycle of violence propogates itself ad infinitum.

My question now is, how would I want the Americans to react reasonably. It is unreasonable to expect that the Americans not react, and to not use force in their reaction. However, I would hope that the Americans begin by approaching the Canadian government with a direct message. "You must stop these attacks immediately and deal with this rogue group, we will help you in any way that you request, but you must deal with this problem immediately. If you fail to do so in a timely manner, we have no choice but to invade." A message like this forces the Lebanese people to make a clear and conscious choice as a country to either support this group and enter war as a nation with Israel (the terms of combat are much more clearly defined in nation vs. nation conflict) or to reject this group and become an ally with their neighbours (perhaps starting a civil war, but with much more clearer lines). As it stands the conflict is muddy and the Lebanese civilians are caught in a state of disarray with multiple masters. The violence brought on by the Israelis only strengthens the resolve of the militants and drives the moderates closer to their defenders.

Which brings me to the bigger picture here. In Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan there are groups of militant armed extremists that are holding their respective countries hostage by engaging in battles with Judeo-Christian nations and coalitions. They have declared a Jihad, which is mobilizing a great many people to their cause, people who are willing to kill themselves in search of martyrdom. By responding with force we only strengthen their argument that they are engaged in a Jihad which only strengthens their force. The extremists become more motivated and many moderates become more incensed. This is a battle that cannot be won. The key to this conflict is to promote leaders in the moderate muslim community. The people of these countries (and let's include Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia in the argument) need to have their faith strengthened by home grown non-violent muslim leaders. The majority need to be encouraged that strength in their religion will only come by rejecting these extremists instead of supporting them. The citizens in their own countries must turn against groups like Al Queda, Hesbellah, and Hammas, for the good of their countries and for the good of their religion. Islam is not the problem, it is the solution.

I cannot pretend to know enough about the history and religion in this region, but this is my humble opinion based on what I do know now. Let me know what you know and think so that I can adjust my thoughts and/or support my beliefs with more knowledge.

In the future I will discuss the question "Why did muslims fly planes into buildings in New York City?" It is a very important question, that we need to be continually asking ourselves.


pikey78oil said...

I heard that Chris Pronger slept with Ariel Sharon's wife while he was in a coma, and then demanded the right to flee to Lebanon.
Now on to my serious comment...are you freaking kidding me?

How many times will you let someone punch you in the nose before you finally respond.

Israel has been dealing with this problem since 1949, when it officially became a state.

The Israeli's then had to fight the 6 day War, or the Arab-Israeli war as it is known is Arab circles.

Soon after, the Arab countries once again banded together to try and invade Israel.

The last time Hezbollah (note spelling) launched an offensive (sometime in 90's), the UN managed to convince Israel to stand down, giving Hezbollah enough to time to re-arm themselves, and prepare for another salvo.

And then you hear comments from the Iranian president today (08/03/2006) saying the total destruction of Israel will solve the crisis in the middle East!

And Israel is supposed to talk and negotiate with these people, these same people that believe that the only good Israeli is a dead Israeli??

Israel is well within it's right to protect itself and it's people from these extremists.

Don't misunderstand me, I know there are extremists in every religion in the world.

And yes, some hold their countries hostage with their radical views.

But sometimes, violence is the only answer (see any history book and look for a chronological listing of wars...I'm pretty sure war or hate or violence was the first word ever uttered..probably in anger.)

And I have to take great exception to the Winnipeg NDP example. While I appreciate you trying to dumb it down for people who may not know or understand the whole story, you have WAY oversimplified it.

A better example would be NDP launching rocket attacks on American targets from highly populated residential areas.

These Hezbollah fighters dress in civilian clothing, fight the fight in civilian areas, and launch rockets from urban, populated centres.

I have no respect for fighters that aren't willing to fight the fight fairly.

I do not support the killing of innocent civilians or children, but Israel has given much advance notice about the planned offensive and if Hezbollah continues to fight from their positions of fear, cowering behind apartment buildings, women and children, then I guess the unfortunate results will continue.

However, I still think Stephen Harper is an idiot...nothing to back it up here, but he's an idiot.

I eagerly anticipate your 9-11 argument, so I can try and rip it down, but be blasted by you left wingers.

I still love you though, atypicalalbertan!!!

SYOILF!!!!! 4ever

Atypical Albertan said...

Thanks for your comments Pikey.

Israel has historically and consistently responded to attacks that it has received from its 'neighbours'. Perhaps it is time for Israel to reexamine its tactics. Perhaps it is time for the world to reexamine the entire situation.

A mistake was made when Israel was created. The destruction of Israel is not a solution now, but that must be a starting point for the discussion.

I cannot dispute the fact that Hezbollah needs to be disarmed, but Israel's method of disarming them seems to be forcing them to use up all of their missiles (I say this tongue in cheek.) I also agree that Israel has the right to protect itself, and I did not say otherwise in my original blog.

I chose to simplify the situation to the hypothetical "Winnipeg crisis" as an attempt to, er, um, simplify the situation. I was unable of wrapping my head around all the complexities of the situation, so I simplified it so that I might begin analyzing it. You seem to challenge my alusion yet provide no faults in it. Are you saying that Winnipeg is not a highly populated residential area? I guess you would know.

My point is, the Lebanese people need to reject Hezbollah ane need to be involved in the fight to stop them. If they are not involved in the opposition to the terrorists, then they will view them as defenders and it will only serve to boost their support. At this point, the guilt for displacing and harming civilians would be unjustified. As it stands now, Israel essentially told the people of Winnipeg, that we don't think you are responsible but you have to pack up all of your belongings and become refugees before we blow up your homes.

I look forward to hearing more.

pikey78oil said...

Oh were you finished.....Well allow me to retort!!

It has been said that I am lending no credibility to your blog, but in the end, it's more credibility than I think you can deal with.

I agree, the starting point of this discussion must be based in the creation of the Jewish state, Israel.

I find it ironic that the United Nations was created in 1949, the same year that Israel became a country...(for all you people out there saying the UN was around before that, keep in mind it was called the League of Nations, which I believe was disbanded shortly after the second World War.)

Was there something wrong in the process there? I think if we look deep enough, you'll find that Israel's gain was Palestine's loss. This whole situation was created by a need for 2 very different peoples to have a homeland. Israel must have known more people at the top of the Country Deciding people (that's the actual name of the UN committee)

Anyways, I digress.

To take aim at your Winnipeg argument, as I said, I liked that you oversimplified it so that people can understand what is one of the most complicated situations in the world today.

But Winnipeg isn't dealing with a mass disagreement over what god to believe in.

Hezbollah chooses to fight this fight hiding behind the innocent Lebanese civilians, and that you failed to mention in your Winnipeg argument. That's all I was saying.

But how can a lasting peace be achieved when the people sitting on the other side of the negotiating from Israel are bent on wiping them from the face of the Earth?

I agree that peace must be the ultimate goal here, but remember, sometimes it gets worse before it gets better.

To weigh in on Prime Minister Harper again a die hard Liberal, I must admit it is nice to see a leader have an opinion, and stick with it.

I still don't like him, but it's nice that he is as decisive as he is.

Till next time...

SOILF 4ever