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Friday, July 21, 2006

Our 3 options, and why we have none

Olmert and Halutz both recently ruled out massive ground operations, putting into question the buffer zone proposition, unless they are trying to mask their true intentions. Simultaneously there is lots of talk on NBC and other sources that a massive ground incursion is indeed in the works. Only time will tell, however, while the ball is currently in the Israeli court, what can Lebanon do ?

I have seen and heard people simplistically giving Lebanon 3 options. Any option that lebanon chooses to pursue has its represcussions on Lebanon itself, that is obvious. Therefore, any choice we make has to be made based on what we predict are the consequences of that option.

1- Help the fight against the Hizbollah: That will lead to having the state pitted against an organization with massive grass roots support in a military conflict. Not only that, but it will be perceived as an operation against a particular sect, the Shiites, and as such, will most probably lead to the kind of civil war that Lebanon is not willing to undertake. I believe that most Lebanese know this and are hence unwilling to consider such an option. Not to mention how morally contentious that issue is...

2- Join Hizbollah in their fight: Also not an option for anyone who is either not Shiite or who does not support HA's goals and/or methods. The reason being simple. HA's ideology, methods, and loyalties are not to the liking of most Lebanese. This point however, does not negate the fact that option 1 is still unfeasible.

3- Wait to see who wins and absorb the attacks: I don't see any other feasible option. Though, I disagree about the relevancy of who wins. You see, noone will win. HA will not lose - at least not its Shiite support - and obviously, Israel will not lose - at least not militarily, that does not mean that it will accomplish its objhectives. As such, the only thing we can do is wait and resume our internal debates and politics from the point we left off before this war. One problem though, all the Lebanese sides, sects and parties will be more polarized than ever, each sticking to their stances more firmly, and each believing that their positions have been vindicated by recent events.

The solution? Unfortunately, its a long term one, one that involves Western help at strengthening the state institutions, and helping it fill the void that HA's social infrastructure currently occupies. Only by means of education, dialogue and alleviating the root causes of extremism can the real problems be solved. Its a grim picture, one that takes patience and dedication to paint over, not military action and shooting off the hip.


dougjnn said...

Excellent analysis. I think you're right.

The trouble for both Lebanon and Israel is that Hezbollah will continue to hold both hostage.

If after a ceasefire and some sort of political solution Hezbollah at some point resumes rocket attacks on Israel, or imports lots more esp. long range, Haifa etc. capable rockets, Israel is likely to do the same thing again.

It really is terribly hazardous for Lebanon to just live with Hezbollah as a state within a state.

Nadine said...

Could Lebanon stop claiming that they have authority over Hizbullahland? What if they said, Hizbullah started this war for its own ends and without asking us. If Hizbullah wants to run its affairs this way, please deal us out of it. Declare a border between Lebanon and Hizbullahland, and patrol it.