Saturday, May 10. 2008
WarInContext: News & Views Roundup: May 10. This whole cluster of article links makes me exceptionally nervous. One thing the Bush administration has worked hard at has been to draw its nominal opponents into open armed conflict. Hamas, for instance, had established a longstanding unilateral truce with Israel, entering the legitimate political process in the Palestinian territories, but over a year of forced isolation and armed attacks, both by Israel and by the US-backed PLO, eventually succeeded in forcing Hamas's hand -- although Hamas's consequent seizure of Gaza may not have been exactly what Bush (or more specifically, Elliott Abrams) intended. The same thing has happened with Hizbollah in Lebanon, again backfiring with the seizure of West Beirut. In Iraq the US continues to prod the Sadr militia toward open rebellion, as happened in Basra and Kut, and may well happen in Baghdad (Sadr City). Hizbollah and the Sadrists carry the extra burden of association with Iran, so it is worrisome as ever that this is happening at the same time as rumors are floating that the US will attack "training camps" in Iran. The bit about Negroponte tightening the US grip in Pakistan shows the same aggressiveness and presumption. The piece on "The loathsome smearing of Israel's critics" is just icing on the cake. (The only piece I'm inclined to dismiss out of hand is the one about invading Burma.)
The Rami Khouri piece is especially notable. You should recall that Egypt had a recent round of food riots, exposing the frail legitimacy of a regime that we often take for granted. Maybe the petro-emirates of the Persian Gulf are making out like bandits given record petroleum prices, but much of the Middle East is very fragile, and US belligerence only stresses them worse.
Not included in this list is a piece I read in the New York Times which suggested that Olmert should invade Gaza to unite the Israelis and distract from his pending indictments. One thing this all goes to show is that even in its waning, lame duck months, the Bush regime is very dangerous.
Tony Karon: Israel is 60, Zionism is Dead, What Now?. Long piece, essential reading. Karon argues that the Zionist rationale behind Israel has collapsed with the waning of anti-semitism worldwide, the choice of two-thirds of the world's Jews not to live in Israel, including some 750,000 Israelis who have (re)joined the diaspora.
Make sure you read the long quote from Rami Khouri at the end.