Sunday, July 16, 2006

"Root Cause" of the violence in the Middle East

As of today it appears the world is on the brink of a new World War. In fact, that's what former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich said recently in a speach. That we are in World War III, and that Bush needs to have the guts to say so.

There is a rising tide of bloodshed between Israel, Hammas, Hezbollah, etc. Lebanon is being caught in the cross-fire and allegations are being leveled against both Syria and Iran. There is, coincidentally, a meeting of the G8 Summit happening at the same time, and the leaders there are "very concerned". GW Bush made a statement in which he repeatedly discussed the root cause and the need to address the root cause. That's a great idea, since it is often the root cause which, if addressed, will resolve problems. However his root cause analysis goes only to the fact that Hezbollah is shooting missiles at Israel, and further Hezbollah's relationship with Syria and Iran.

Labeling that as the root cause seems, to me, to completely miss the point entirely. There's a huge context within which this action is occuring. It did not start with Hezbollah kidnapping some Israeli soldiers. That act of kidnapping occurred within the context of the ongoing tension and struggle, and it is that which is the root cause.

So in this posting I want to outline some of the context.

We have a completely dreadful situation in Iraq. The U.S. and Britain are the hated occupiers, rather than the beloved liberators, following on the heels of an illegal invasion of Iraq in March 2003, following on 13 years of isolating Iraq, following on the first Gulf War with Iraq, etc. As the hated occupiers, the bloodshed on all sides in Iraq is intense, with fighting between factions to gain power, as well as resistance fighting against the occupiers.

There is an ongoing light war in Afghanistan yet the Taliban, whom we supposedly kicked down, is having a surge of influence there. Associated with the war in Afghanistan is various movements of power in the Central Asian region that seem to be aimed at controlling the oil and mineral reserves there. This is the Former Soviet Union territory, and the U.S. desparately wants to have strong influence in that region.

There is the looming threat of attack against either Syria and/or Iran. The Neocon group Plan For a New American Century had published plans, in the mid 1990's, about the need to topple several hardline regimes in the Middle East and put moderate democracies in their place. Hurm, how can you install democracy at gunpoint?? Anyway, their plan was to first topple the Iraqi government, and then move on to either Syria or Iran. Fortuitously Iran has been caught harboring a secret nuclear program that appears to be aimed at building nuclear weapons, and there has been several years of bickering over what to do about this. Whether to "allow" Iran to proceed. At the same time there has been repeated allegations slanted towards Syria related to harboring terrorists etc.

And Iran isn't the only rogue nuclear state, as North Korea is in on the game as well. They are in defiance of the International Community, pursuing nuclear weapons and missile technology. There are on-and-off negotiations but who knows how serious anybody is about those talks.

Getting back to the current tussle with Israel and it's neighbors.

Israel authorizes 'severe' response to abductions (Wednesday, July 12, 2006; Posted: 10:27 p.m. EDT): This is the first mention on CNN's web site of the Hezbollah kidnap of two Israeli soldiers. The immediate Israeli response to this?

Maj. Gen. Udi Adam, head of Israel's Northern Command, called it an act of war. "This affair is between Israel and the state of Lebanon," Adam said. "Where to attack? Once it is inside Lebanon, everything is legitimate -- not just southern Lebanon, not just the line of Hezbollah posts."

Israel's chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, said "If the soldiers are not returned, we will turn Lebanon's clock back 20 years."

Not exactly the friendliest of responses, eh? The kidnappers asked to negotiate for a prisoner exchange, but this was refused by Israel who said a prisoner exchange would just encourage more kidnapping. Further, they are claiming that Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government, and that this was the act of one sovereign nation against another.

Since this act there has been escallating attacks back and forth between Israel, Hezoballah and Lebanon. Israel is hitting dozens of targets within Lebanon, all the way to Beirut. Their Navy is blockading port cities in Lebanon. One goal is to cut off travel between Lebanon and other countries, as there is a fear the kidnapped soldiers will be taken outside Lebanon.

Even that wasn't exactly the beginning. As I said earlier, this happened within an existing context.

Immediately prior to Hezbollah's kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers, a group in Gaza kidnapped one Israeli soldier.

Palestinians anxious as Israel strikes (Thursday, June 29, 2006; Posted: 1:01 a.m. EDT): This is the first mention I found on CNN's web site. It outlines the beginning of extremely hardline reaction to the kidnapping of one soldier. Hamas demanded a prisoner swap, and Israel refused. Hmmm..

I see in the news since then, Israel has made severe incursions into Gaza ... Airstrikes and artillery pound Gaza (Thursday, June 29, 2006; Posted: 9:47 p.m. EDT) ... Palestinian militants demand release of prisoners (Friday, June 30, 2006; Posted: 8:29 p.m. EDT) ... Israel hits Palestinian prime minister's office (Saturday, July 1, 2006; Posted: 10:09 p.m. EDT) ... etc ...

Basically, the way I see it, Israel's actions are only increasing tensions around the Middle East. But those tensions were already heightened by U.S. and British actions in Iraq, and those tensions were pre-existing given all the struggle going on in regard to the Middle East over the recent decades.

In the current moment, with Israel attacking large parts of Lebanon, it is easy to see this spilling over. Israel is making broad allegations against Syria and Iran, and may well use those allegations as an excuse to attack one or the other. For example they may take it upon themselves to destroy the nuclear program in Iran, as they did against the Iraqi program in the 1980's.

Even further, I suspect that Israel is seeing an opportunity to further an agenda they are harboring. Namely, the destruction of Hamas and/or Hezbollah.

Israel could have launched surgical attacks using commandos to locate the kidnapped soldiers and rescue them. They've done this before. However, they aren't. Instead they are launching widespread airstrikes and other attacks. Why?

The REAL Reason Israel Is Going Full-Frontal on Hezbollah - NOW: Russel Shaw is suggesting the same theory I just outlined. That Israel wants to use the opportunity of this moment to launch a broader attack.

I believe that Israel views this as the optimal time in history to strike back full-force at Hezbollah and their ultimate ally, Iran.

Pray, pray, pray, pray.

Pray, pray, pray, pray.

Pray, pray, pray, pray.

Pray, pray, pray, pray.

Pray, pray, pray, pray.

Pray, pray, pray, pray.

Pray, pray, pray, pray.

Pray, pray, pray, pray.

Pray, pray, pray, pray.

Pray, pray, pray, pray.

Pray, pray, pray, pray.

Pray, pray, pray, pray.