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An excellent english language piece in Der Spiegel on Israel and Hizbollah

Why Israel's reaction is right .

The writer makes four key points:

  • Israel is fighting a just war
  • Israel wants peace
  • there is no alternative to Israel's current military operation.
  • Israel's military operation has already resulted in positive effects

And the pay off:

"Israel must not be forced to abandon its war against Hezbollah, rather it must win the conflict. Just as Hezbollah is fighting the war as Iran's proxy, Israel is fighting genocidal Islamism as the proxy for the rest of the Western world. The least Israel should be able to expect from the West is that it not be betrayed".

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Blogger Rigger Mortice said... 10:15 am

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.  

Blogger Lobster Blogster said... 11:50 am

Hmm. The premise of the Der Spiegel article is that Iran is leading a worldwide Muslim war and that Israel is on the front-line. Given that there are many Islamic states around the world, and that few take such a hard line as that expressed by Iranian President Ahmadinejad, the article is inflammatory and overstates the Islamic threat.

If the military positions of Lebanon and Israel were reversed and Lebanon was inflicting heavy civilian casualities and infrastructure damage on Israel, can you imagine a scenario where you would argue that Lebanon was fighting a just war?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 12:12 pm

You ask an entirely reasonable question, which I will attempt to answer.

The current conflict has to be seen in terms of a clash of civilizations - loosely speaking Islamic and Western - and for me a clear cut parallel would be one where there was no nation in the area other than Lebanon that did not adhere to a certain civilizational identity. Let us say that Lebanon belongs to civilization / culture A, and all of its neighbours belong to civilization / culture B, which is deeply antithetical to it and regards it as being wholly illegitmate and to be subdued, conquered, whatever or at best to be grudgingly tolerated. Under those circumstances I would regard such action by Lebanon as being legitimate. Reasonable?  

Anonymous Verity said... 12:59 pm

I do not agree that we are engaged in a "clash of civilisations", although this is the phrase I also used to employ before I saw the formidable Arab Wafa Sultan on Jazeera TV debating Islamic aggression in the West. She is a doctor of psychology - I believe originally from Saudi Arabia, but not sure - who practices in Los Angeles. Apparently, she doesn't just speak Arabic, but is fluent in what is regarded as a particularly elegant and intimidating form of the language.

She blew her debating opponent, an Algerian cleric, out of the water. The programme's MC, a few minutes into the programme, got so intimidated, he decided just to stay quiet and not get in the line of fire.


She says it's not a clash of civilisations because Islam isn't civilised. There's much,much more. Enjoy!  

Blogger Croydonian said... 5:14 pm

V - I was using it as a bit of lazy shorthand, as it also covers the likely squaring of between us and the Chinese at some point. Intersting clip by the way - thanks.  

Anonymous Verity said... 6:28 pm

Croydonian - Lazy shorthand gets embedded in the consciousness of stupid people, who then adopt it as gospel, not realising it was shorthand for something else. Islam is not civilised. There is no clash of civilisations.

And please don't quote zero to me. That was invented in India, as were "Arabic" numerals, and they passed through the Middle East on their way to Europe and Britain, where they were seized upon eagerly, and employed.  

Blogger Lobster Blogster said... 11:51 pm

Verity, I'm not sure you can argue away the existence of a whole civilisation just because you disagree with it. Wafa Sultan's central point is to say that it's Islam's duty to bring something to humanity which we all can share. Just as Islam cannot spread its message effectively by burning churches or destroying Bhuddist statues, there's little capital to made from denying that there is something that can be termed as an Islamic civilisation. In practical terms it's useful too, when Mr Croydonian used the term it made perfect sense to me, even if I disagreed with it being an accurate description of the current situation.

Croydonian, I still think you are overstating the position Israel finds itself in. However if it did think as you do I could understand why it might feel it necessary to over-react when dealing with its neighbours. Just as an example to what I am alluding to here is the fact that the Lebanese military are not retaliating, even though Lebanon clearly is under attack. To me this indicates that Lebanon is not as hostile to Israel as you suggest.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 8:28 am

LB – Thank you for your thoughts. I think the Lebanese forces, such as they are, would be incapable of any serious response. Having just checked Wikipedia, I confirmed my suspicions that it has no fixed wing aircraft and its tanks are mainly museum pieces. As such, the ability of the Lebanese army to project force is limited. However, I recognise that the issue is more the will, not the ability to use force.

I would agree that the Lebanese government can hardly be bracketed with Saudi Arabia or Iran in terms of hostility to Israel, but equally well there is still no peace treaty with its southern neighbour. While Lebanon is a more stable country than it was 10 or so years back, it is still far from having a monopoly on the ability to project force and it lacks either the will or the ability to disarm Hizbollah. Indeed, I do wonder how Iran could have managed to ship all those Katyushas to Hizbollah without at the very least the acquiescence of the central government.  

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