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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

a long war of attrition? « Previous | |Next »
July 22, 2006

It is now clear that the Israeli strategy is to bomb the radical Shi'ite movement Hezbollah into submission and "change the equation" to end further missile attacks over the Lebanese border. The calculation is that tas Lebanese infrastructure is shattered and the death toll mounts - 330 Lebanese killed, mostly civilians, and more than half a million displaced -the grassroots population will be progressively inclined to throw their weight behind moves to rein in Hezbollah.

The Australian media continue to focus on the evacuation of Lebanese Australians which is one effect of a conflict that is turning into a long and deadly war of attrition:


However, Israel's only effective means of destroying the Hizbollah's military capability is with ground troops and occupation of the areas in southern Lebanon used to fire missiles into Israel. Presumably, Israeli would push about 30 kilometers to the north and establish defensive positions along the Litani River, thereby creating a buffer zone.

IDF is not only targeting Hezbollah strongholds. As Sami Moubayed points out in his 'Bunkered down for a war of attrition' in Asia Times Irsael wants every Lebanese to suffer so he or she can blame Nasrallah and Hezbollah. It has hit a church in Rashayya, landed a missile in the Ashrafiyyieh neighborhood of Beirut, and targeted a base for the Lebanese hopes to create conflict - and perhaps violence - between the Shi'ites and the rest of the Lebanese, disrupt the support for Nasrallah, and turn public opinion in favor of a ceasefire, even if it were at the expense of Hezbollah.
Yet Hezbollah, like Hamas, has mass support. The past few weeks have created and radicalised many Arabs and Muslims, and created intense new hatreds against Israel and the US. Hezbollah cannot be written off as a "terrorist" organisation. The Arab world sees its forces as freedom fighters resisting colonial occupation. So Israel and the US blame Syria and Iran for Israel's latest offensive.

Moubayed goes to say that:

Washington will continue to support this war of attrition until casualties and humanitarian disaster ruin the lives, morale, finances and psychology of the Lebanese people. Then they will push Hezbollah back into the Lebanese heartland, and lobby for UN peacekeeping troops on the Lebanese-Israeli border. With that done, Hezbollah would have no battleground from which it could launch a war on Israel. Its arms would be useless. It would have no choice but to transform into a 100% political party in the Lebanese political system, with no military agenda. If the US continues to place full support behind Olmert, this very well might be the last military battle of Hezbollah.

That's as good a call as any I've seen. That would create Lebanon as an Israeli-American protectorate on the Jordanian model. A fractured UN public disavowal of the organisation's primary humanitarian and protection mandates meant it has lost more standing in the Arab and Muslim world .

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:15 AM | | Comments (0)