YET MORE WAR….Hamas’s success at instigating a full-blown war with Israel in Gaza has apparently inspired Hezbollah to try and start a full-blown war of its own with Israel in southern Lebanon. Sadly, but unsurprisingly, Hezbollah’s cross-border strike and abduction of two Israeli soldiers is playing well with the hometown crowd:
“Look, we’re used to it ? 25 years, 26 years it’s been like this,” Hassan Qaryani, a 21-year-old butcher from Burj Rahal, said of the airstrikes. The kidnapping, he said, was “like a crown on my head . . . as soon as I heard the news I was overjoyed. It was like Italy winning the World Cup.”
In the southern suburbs of Beirut, people handed out candy in the streets and set off fireworks. Fireworks also were set off on the airport road, snarling traffic.
Yasser Arafat, wherever he might be warming his toes at the moment, has much to answer for. How different would the world be if he had accepted Ehud Barak’s peace offer six years ago and put his personal reputation behind making it work?
As for Israel, I have no idea what they think their response is going to accomplish. They’re retaliating in exactly the way that the most militant members of Hamas and Hezbollah were hoping for, and it’s unlikely that there’s any exit strategy for them that actually improves their internal security or their strategic position. We’ve been down this road a dozen times before, after all.