Israel’s bombardment of Lebanon less than a fortnight after the capture of one its soldiers in Gaza has raised the political tempo in the entire region.
By all accounts, the Olmert regime’s indiscriminate targeting of civilian infrastructures in Beirut together with massive carpet bombings of residential areas in the south of Lebanon is turning nasty.
The desperation behind this full-scale military offensive reflective of a determination to punish Lebanon is a tragic consequence of a state whose legitimacy in the Arab street remains as evasive as the fate of its captured soldiers.
What started in the early forties as Zionist terrorist operations to forcefully expel from Palestine its indigenous Arab population, has since than remained an ugly and costly battle to hold onto stolen properties while conducting more land grabs.
Though secure in the knowledge that its “international friends” [read United States and Britain], are able to stave off censure of its ruthless oppression and support its defiance of weighty conventions related to human rights, Israel has yet to succeed in getting the Arab populations of the Middle East to accept its right to exist.
Hamas’ position on this is therefore not unique. Neither is the position of Hizbullah and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The difference is that public opinion in dictatorial regimes like Egypt and monarchies such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and others is either suppressed or dismissed. This explains why such corrupt governments are valued by the West as important client-states. Their suppression of democratic practice and persecution of human-rights activists is an essential quality of their political credentials allowing them to link their security with the security of Israel.
It also explains why multilateral institutions under their command –” whether it’s the Arab League or the Organisation of Islamic Conference –” are moribund. The occasional rhetoric emanating from these fora does nothing to inspire confidence in their own people; neither are their elaborate conferences associated with pomp of any consequence.
On the occasion when I met Emile Lahoud, President of Lebanon in the company of Arab journalists who had convened in Beirut for a media conference organized by Hizbullah, my inquiry on the stance adopted by his government vis-vis Sayed Hassan Nasrallah’s formidable movement, met with a firm response: “We do not regard Hizbullah as a terrorist organization!”
He went on to explain that Hizbullah was an integral part of Lebanese society and that the victory it achieved in defeating Israel by successfully forcing it to retreat after a 22 year long occupation of the South, restored the honour and dignity of the entire country.
The contrasting positions between countries such as the US client-states who fear their own populace and persecute them as “terrorists” and countries viewed as “evil”, is an indication of an impending volcano waiting to erupt and engulf the region.
Israel’s current military forays and images of carnage caused thereby resulting in death and destruction of fellow Arabs may be the trigger to ignite a series of popular revolutions that sweep these impotent tyrannies to the dustbin of history.
The war unleashed against Hamas and Hizbullah cannot be confined to them –” even if the best military brains in the world conspire to do so!