Saturday, July 07, 2007

Lebanon's Compounded Tragedy

“We have no sleeper cells in Lebanon.... They are all waking up.”
There's nearly enough packed into the above sentence to explain the current state of Lebanon. But not quite. For one thing, post-invasion Iraq has been the country in which the currently ascending militant groups have trained. That fertile chaos has spilled over, finding a home in the more resentful segments of the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. These camps, of course, are a product of Israeli expansion, which provides ideological sustenance for recruitment. Hezbollah, on the other hand, gains its force through providing social services that the Lebanese government is not in a position to offer and gains further strength through Syrian support. Lebanon proper is a balancing act among complex and diverse political factions. Syria and Israel manipulate these factions in order to maintain instability in the country.

But... Lebanon today is equally shaped by the US invasion of Iraq. We're only now starting to see the potential devastation of this lovely and tragic country. One wonders whether the central principle underlying American policy in the region is to create violence and chaos. If not, then we have to assume a colossal incompetence, a colossal disregard for consequences, and a criminal disregard for human life. If so, these still hold, but they're augmented by a policy attitude that assumes that massive strife is in American interests, and must simply be contained within the region through the Israeli proxy and American military bases. Are we prepared to admit this?

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