This post continues where yesterday's of the same title left off: it provides reading links to pieces I've found interesting and/or informative.
Several pieces in the Daily Telegraph present the conflict as orchestrated from Tehran, with Israel fighting the cause of the West. Dore Gold:
[P]rimary responsibility for what is happening rests squarely with Iran and its local proxies.Lead editorial:
All civilised countries, France and Russia included, should unite in halting the ambitions of this aggressive regime, which is perhaps three or four years away from developing a nuclear bomb.From a report by Anton La Guardia:
Walid Jumblatt, the Lebanese Druze leader who had been a strong foe of Israel during the civil war but then became a powerful critic of Syria, summed up the situation as follows: "The war is no longer Lebanon's... it is an Iranian war. Iran is telling the United States: You want to fight me in the Gulf and destroy my nuclear programme? I will hit you at home, in Israel."And this report by Alec Russell:
The Bush administration made clear yesterday that it saw the crisis in the Middle East as an opportunity for the world to deal once and for all with Hizbollah and to rein in its sponsors, Iran and Syria.Hizbullah, according to this report, should be taken at its word. But see this from The Big Pharaoh (hat tip - StM):
Nasrallah's voice tone was the first thing I noticed when he appeared on TV today. I didn't pay much attention to what he was saying, I was only attracted to his tone of voice and his composure. I was seeing a new Nasrallah. The Hizbollah leader was speaking in an unusually soft voice that was mixed with exhaustion and bewilderment. Yes he was issuing threats and promising more surprises, but the Nasrallah I saw today was very different from the one I know. Gone was the powerful voice, the machismo, and the wide eyes. Today's Nasrallah was confused, soft, and vulnerable.Spirits are high in Syria (via Andrew Sullivan):
I believe the new Nasrallah is not just the result of the Israeli bombardment, but of the fact that he finally realized he dragged Lebanon to a terrible war and many Lebanese, as well as almost all Arab governments, won't forgive him for that.
I think we are closing the noose on Israel.A view from Beirut (hat tip - Jeff):
This evening, Hajj Abed, an old man from Saida who is regularly quoted on this blog as an example of Sunni sentiment in Lebanon, said, "What are they doing? What does Lebanon have to do with Haifa? Why strike Haifa? What's there for us? What will it accomplish?"Tim Hames thinks that 'events are not "out of control" [in the the Middle East], the region is not "on the brink of war"' - but also that '[the] road has rarely looked more perilous'. Planning for the biggest evacuation of British citizens since Dunkirk:
Contrarily, many in the Shia community are remaining loyal to the cause, but becoming ever more disheartened. Zeina, a Hezbollah supporter, claims she does not want the destruction of Israel. She supports Hezbollah for sectarian Lebanese issues and because of the legacy of the organization in her area. They helped her and her family when they needed the support most. She supports their policy objectives: to free the prison, and return the Shebaa Farms to Lebanon. She supports a Palestinian state. She supports a strong Lebanese state. She does not support te destruction of Israel, or taking the lives of Israeli civilians. However, the more Lebanese civilians are killed, the more faith she places in Hezbollah.
Zeina, and the Shia community, are in a tight bind. They need to have a major internal sect discussion about their goals for the nation. They need to hammer out the inconsistencies of supporting a strong state, while also supporting an independent, state-within-a-state militant Islamic party that commits aggressive acts against neighboring countries and places full allegiance in foreign governments. It's quite an awkward spot.
British nationals will be ferried off in landing craft and helicopters over several days. Those removed by ship are likely to be taken to Cyprus while negotiations continue to try to end the conflict.Tony Blair and Kofi Annan call for an international force to police Lebanon's border with Israel.
What George Bush said to Tony Blair at the G8 summit:
See, the irony is what they really need to do is to get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this s***...
I'm just going to make it up. I'm not going to talk too damn long like the rest of them. Some of these guys talk too long.