In 30 days of war, the growl hasn't stopped for a second: Hezbollah is only a Syrian and Iranian puppet and, if we beat it, we beat Iran and Syria. Hezbollah is a replacement for a huge war, that war of civilizations that we so much wanted to grant ourselves and "the West," meaning Texas. For the last 30 days, Hassan Nasrallah was like a voodoo doll. All we had to do was stick pins in him so the curse of death would be transferred to the real evil ones. After all, we are fighting against Islam, against the Arabs, against all the terror in the world. A small, sophisticated organization with excellent combat equipment is not enough for us. We deserve more: a global enemy, an Axis of Evil, a world-embracing struggle against those who are not democrats, tolerant, and do not believe in our God.
There is nothing more convenient than a threat made in colossal terms or described as an international conspiracy. Everything is connected, and therefore easy to understand. British Pakistanis inspired by Al Qaida and a Palestinian who stabbed a tourist to death in Jerusalem; Saladin's people in Gaza who kidnapped Gilad Shalit and the massacres of Shi'ites and Sunnis in Baghdad; the Shi'ite Ali Khameni, the Iraqi Shi'ite Ahmed Chalabi, who was Washington's hope, Prof. Fouad Ajami, a Shi'ite, and Hassan Nasrallah, the Shi'ite, are all cut from the same cloth, according to this view. This is a culture that must be uprooted - and please don't bother us with the different nuances.
This blurred vision, which does not allow for an examination of the details, of course has an ideological goal. When the enemy is so great, so threatening and so elusive, any strike against it is a bull's eye, and any war against it is so justified that it justifies cancelling any chance of agreements or compromises.
Thus, for example, the July 12 Hezbollah kidnapping was immediately tied to the Gilad Shalit kidnapping and of course to Iran's desire to remove international pressure from its nuclear program, and to Syria's desire to harm the investigation into the assassination of Rafik Hariri. All that's left is to attribute the attack to the Kennedy assassination and the stew is complete.
The possibility that Nasrallah "only" wanted to keep his promise and return the Lebanese prisoners to Lebanon, that he armed to the teeth to create deterrence but not to drag Israel into war, never had a chance. It's all a plot, a conspiracy, and not only that, but an Iranian plot. The result: a brutal Israeli campaign against the state of Lebanon, and not only against Hezbollah, but also Gaza. This, since as far as Israel is concerned, it is all the same campaign against what our ambassador to the United Nations termed the "terror quartet": Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.
But as opposed to the broad brush with which some of the regional experts, or self-declared experts, paint the organizations and movements, they are not fed by a single food chain and certainly do no represent the majority of the Muslim or Arab public. This is not said to belittle the dangers posed by Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the Azzadin el Qassam, Al Qaida and dozens of other radical organizations that want to commit terror attacks. But will smashing Hezbollah stop the Iranian nuclear program? Will a declaration of an Israeli victory, let's say, in this war, put an end to Palestinian national ambitions or Syrian demands for the return of the Golan? Will foiling attacks on planes, on the assumption that all are foiled, cancel the Qassam rocket fire at Sderot tomorrow?
Israel, therefore, should be happy with the ladder the UN is providing, so it can get back as quickly as possible to its modest existence, give up the "clash of civilizations" and deal with the neighborhood. It should adopt the lever created in this war, in which Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other Arab countries criticized Hezbollah, Iran and Syria. It should at least demonstrate readiness to talk with Syria, to go back to the negotiations table with the Palestinians, and most importantly, get over the urge to take revenge on the Palestinians for the failure in Lebanon.
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