What you need to know about the war in the Middle East, the American Papist provides a good roundup of information and resources on the present eruption of conflict between Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah.
To supplement his post, some further news and commentary culled from the web, which may be of interest to our readers:
- As Israel Goes for Withdrawal, Its Enemies Go Berserk, by David Brooks. New York Times July 16, 2006 (via American Future). David Brooks explains “Why is this Middle East crisis different from all other Middle East crises?”:
Because in all other Middle East crises, Israel’s main rivals were the P.L.O., Egypt, Iraq and Syria, but in this crisis the main rivals are the jihadists in Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and, most important, Iran. In all other crises the nutjobs were on the fringes, but now the nutjobs in Hamas and Hezbollah are in governments and lead factions of major parties.
In all other crises, the Palestinians, thanks to Yasir Arafat’s strenuous efforts, owned their own cause, but now the clerics in Iran are taking control of the Palestinian cause and turning it into a weapon in a much larger struggle.
In all other crises there was a negotiation process, a set of plans and some hope of reconciliation. But this crisis is different. Iran doesn’t do road maps. The jihadists who are driving this crisis don’t do reconciliation.
In other words, this crisis is a return to the elemental conflict between Israel and those who seek to destroy it. And you can kiss goodbye, at least for the time being, to some of the features of the recent crises. . . .
The Weekly Standard‘s editor William Kristol has a similar take (“It’s Our War” Volume 011, Issue 42 ):
. . . it’s not an Arab-Israeli war. Most of Israel’s traditional Arab enemies have checked out of the current conflict. The governments of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia are, to say the least, indifferent to the fate of Hamas and Hezbollah. The Palestine Liberation Organization (Fatah) isn’t a player. The prime mover behind the terrorist groups who have started this war is a non-Arab state, Iran, which wasn’t involved in any of Israel’s previous wars.
What’s happening in the Middle East, then, isn’t just another chapter in the Arab-Israeli conflict. What’s happening is an Islamist-Israeli war.
- The Rogues Strike Back: Iran, Syria, Hamas, and Hezbollah vs. Israel, by Robert Satloff. Weekly Standard 07/24/2006, Volume 011, Issue 42:
Iran thumbs its nose at Western diplomats and continues nuclear enrichment. Hamas’s chief, speaking from Damascus, boasts about kidnapping an Israeli soldier. Hezbollah launches a cross-border raid, prompting Israeli retaliation in Beirut and a return volley of rockets on northern Israel. Just another bleak week in the hopeless Middle East? Regrettably, no. This one was different. This was the week the Dark Side went on the offensive.
- On the Middle East – Amy Welborn’s blog hosts a mostly-civil discussion of the formal response of the Vatican, controversy sparked by Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano’s condemnation of “the attack on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation.” (A nation which happens to host a vicious terrorist organization — as one reader comments: “‘Lebanon’ is a fiction, not a sovereign state. It is a playpen for Hezbollah”).
Domenico Bettinelli offers further analysis of the Vatican’s statement: “I haven’t been shy about criticizing certain Vatican diplomats’ past embraces of Palestinian terrorists at the expense of Israel, but I think the criticism may be a bit unwarranted here.”
- The loss of self, by Josh Tevino. Enchiridion Militis July 16, 2006:
Deutsche Welle has an interesting little roundup of European press reaction to Israel’s campaign against Hezbollah, most of which appears to condemn the Israeli actions as “disproportionate.” As a corollary, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (of Spanish Flee fame) went on record stating that the results of the Israeli response to the agents of radicalization, fanaticism, conflict and instability will be “radicalization, fanaticism, conflict and instability.” The European reaction is instructive for several reasons: First, because it is indicative of the extent to which nationalism and national feeling has declined — there is simply little understanding of why a state would seek so dramatically to protect its own. Second, because it illustrates the European mindset on Islamism — that it is indestructible, and by implication, that its agents cannot be repelled or thwarted. Third, because it lets us know, again, that the Europeans do not see Israel as one of its own — even though, in the cultural and historical sense, it is — and that they blame Israel in a manner reminiscent of those who would blame a provocatively-dressed woman for her rape.
European received wisdom is wrong on all counts.
- War By Proxy In Lebanon, by Mark Gordon. Suicide of the West July 14, 2006:
The world demanded that Israel leave Lebanon, so in 2000 it did. The world demanded that Israel leave Gaza, so in 2005 it did. Rather than planting date trees, Lebanese extremists turned their country into an outpost of Iranian and Syrian aggression. Rather than plant olive trees, the Palestinians in Gaza planted mortar tubes in the soil and strapped suicide belts on their children. Neither aggression against Israel – Lebanese or Gazan – can possibly be chalked up to Israeli “occupation” because there was no occupation two weeks ago. No, what the present hostilities demonstrate is that the goal of the Islamists – the destruction of Israel – has not changed and cannot change.
- The Left should be supporting Israel in this war – A British socialist makes the case for the Left.
- Regular updates on news and commentary From a pro-Israel perspective — Jewish Issues Watchdog – “keeping an eye on Jewish affairs – extracting the essential”.
- Meanwhile the Situation Worsens Dramatically For Anti-Hezbollah Lebanese, reports Alcibiades @ KesherTalk, with a report by Michael J. Totten, who has close friends in Lebanon.
- LiveBlogging the War and What You Can Do – a compilation of links to Israeli bloggers from J-Blogosphere; TruthLaidBear: MidEastCrisis offers reporting by Jewish, Palestinian and Lebanese bloggers.
For a roundup of news on Iran, see Regime Change Iran: A Daily Briefing on Iran.
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So here’s an honest question I posed to some friends recently: When does “anti-Zionism” become “anti-Semitism”? The dilemma was provoked when an author at left-wing blog Daily Kos mused Imagine a world without Israel — which, if you think about it, is more or less the formal policy objective of Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist organizations who would like nothing better than to make that dream a reality.
Hat tip to the conservative-blogging collective Little Green Footballs, who points out that the Daily Kos may be getting their talking points from the “non-profit, non-bias, non-political” — but decidely pro-Islamic and conspiracy-minded — Media Monitors Network (MNN): What If Israel Had Never Been Created?, by William Hughes (Tuesday July 11 2006).