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August 16, 2006

How Hezbollah Will Win

Via Noam Scheiber, this can't be good for Israel:

Nehme Y. Tohme, a member of Parliament from the anti-Syrian reform bloc and the country's minister for the displaced, said he had been told by Hezbollah officials that when the shooting stopped, Iran would provide Hezbollah with an "unlimited budget" for reconstruction.

In his victory speech on Monday night, Hezbollah's leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, offered money for "decent and suitable furniture" and a year's rent on a house to any Lebanese who lost his home in the month-long war.

"Completing the victory," he said, "can come with reconstruction."...

...While the Israelis began their withdrawal, hundreds of Hezbollah members spread over dozens of villages across southern Lebanon began cleaning, organizing and surveying damage. Men on bulldozers were busy cutting lanes through giant piles of rubble. Roads blocked with the remnants of buildings are now, just a day after a cease-fire began, fully passable.

In Sreifa, a Hezbollah official said the group would offer an initial $10,000 to residents to help pay for the year of rent, to buy new furniture and to help feed families....

...Sheik Nasrallah said in his speech that "the brothers in the towns and villages will turn to those whose homes are badly damaged and help rebuild them.

"Today is the day to keep up our promises," he said. "All our brothers will be in your service starting tomorrow."...

Hezbollah men also traveled door to door checking on residents and asking them what help they needed.

Israel, it's clear, not only lacked a plan to win the peace, but hadn't even thought about how to stop Hezbollah from winning the piece. Whatever local support and sustenance they'd amassed by providing social services for the last few decades will be dwarfed by the hometown heroism of rebuilding the shattered lives of the displaced Lebanese citizens.

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Comments

What's so depressing is that this sort of thing has been happening time and time again in different contexts. It happened in Palestine, leading to a popular mandate for Hamas, even though most of the population doesn't support Hamas's worst aims. It happened in and around Kashmir after the earthquake, when the chaotic Pakistani response and the slow and inadequate international response left a vacuum that the extremist groups were only too willing to fill, recruiting and proselytising all the while. This is one of the main areas where we're losing the battle for hearts and minds, and it's something that needs to be addressed immediately and with conviction and resources. The good thing is that it's something we should be doing anyway and we'd be making an enormous impact on thousands of people's ives.

Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Aug 16, 2006 1:00:55 PM

Wait a couple weeks. We'll start hearing that Iran controls Hezbollah, Iran has some connection to the foiled British terror plot, etc., and we have to attack them before they get nukes, which they might acquire any minute now.

Posted by: Chris | Aug 16, 2006 1:24:33 PM

The Economist had a similar take on the Somali crisis this week: Islamists are feeding the hungry masses, creating goodwill in order to recruit eager followers.

This isn't new at all. Anyone serious about the "war on terra" should be doing something about it, or else the armies of the enemy will keep on growing (in lands with huge rates of population growth)

Posted by: verplanck colvin | Aug 16, 2006 2:07:52 PM

If Hezbollah had not attacked Israel in the first place, today the Lebanese people would be going to work, going to school, going out to eat, playing at the playground, just living a normal life.

Instead, the Lebanese people have to rebuild their lives and their country from rubble. But Hezbollah is going to help them rebuild. What a bunch of nice guys.

The sad thing is that most of the Lebanese people know Hezbollah brought this on Lebanon. They can get outside news unlike NK or China.

I wonder if the Lebanese people are still feeling 'victorious' today?

Posted by: Captain Toke | Aug 16, 2006 2:08:31 PM

Unless Israel is giving those Lebanese money to rebuild their houses, they'll take Hezbollah money quite happily. What alternative do they have?

Seeing militias moving into local politics is not necessarily a bad thing -- IF it forces them to move beyond their petty, unrealistic tribal worldview and start acting like adult members of the greater geopolitcal world.

So far, the jury is out as to whether that's going to happen for either Hamas or Hezbollah.

Posted by: fiat lux | Aug 16, 2006 2:25:44 PM

"What alternative do they have?"

Resist Hezbollah! Put the blame where it belongs, Hezbollah, and do what they have to do to keep it from happening again.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Aug 16, 2006 2:29:49 PM

And in the meantime, they can also sit there and groove on the rubble.

Nice plan, Cpt., it reeks of the '70s.

Posted by: The Dark Avenger | Aug 16, 2006 2:34:15 PM

Cap'n:

You make it sound so easy. Why don't you go over there and enlighten them? I'm sure the heads of households will be more than willing to listen to a rich American lecture them about sacrifice for the greater cause. They will most likely proudly refuse money that could keep their children from going cold and hungry.

Sheesh. They say liberals live in an Ivory Tower?

Posted by: verplanck colvin | Aug 16, 2006 2:42:03 PM

If this had been said, and done following May 1st, 2003, we wouldn't be in the shit today in Iraq:


Garner and Bremer the US minister for the displaced, said they had been told by US MIlitary officials that when the shooting stopped, The US would provide US MIlitary with an "unlimited budget" for reconstruction.

In his victory speech on Monday night, US leader, George W. Bush, offered money for "decent and suitable furniture" and a year's rent on a house to any Iraqi who lost his home in the month-long war.

"Completing the victory," he said, "can come with reconstruction."...

...While the Americans began their withdrawal, hundreds of US MIlitary members spread over dozens of villages across southern Iraq began cleaning, organizing and surveying damage. Men on bulldozers were busy cutting lanes through giant piles of rubble. Roads blocked with the remnants of buildings are now, just a day after Mission Accomplished Day, fully passable.

In Baghdad, a US MIlitary official said the group would offer an initial $10,000 to residents to help pay for the year of rent, to buy new furniture and to help feed families....

...Bush said in his speech that "the brothers in the towns and villages will turn to those whose homes are badly damaged and help rebuild them.

"Today is the day to keep up our promises," he said. "All our brothers will be in your service starting tomorrow."...

US MIlitary men also traveled door to door checking on residents and asking them what help they needed.

Who knew Sheik Hassan Nasrallah's word and plan for reconstruction of Lebanon would turn out to be better than the word and plan of Bush in Iraq?

Sad times for America.

Posted by: Aaron Adams | Aug 16, 2006 2:49:11 PM

"I'm sure the heads of households will be more than willing to listen to a rich American lecture them about sacrifice for the greater cause."

If you only knew how rich I really am.

If they choose not to sacrifice now, they will pay later. If they had sacrificed before, they may not be going thru this now.

How rewarding it will be for the Lebanese people to get started rebuilding their country, Hezbollah attacks Israel again, and Israel destroys everything that has been rebuilt.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Aug 16, 2006 3:08:45 PM

If Hezbollah had not attacked Israel in the first place, today the Lebanese people would be going to work, going to school, going out to eat, playing at the playground, just living a normal life.

Instead, the Lebanese people have to rebuild their lives and their country from rubble. But Hezbollah is going to help them rebuild. What a bunch of nice guys.

The sad thing is that most of the Lebanese people know Hezbollah brought this on Lebanon. They can get outside news unlike NK or China.

I wonder if the Lebanese people are still feeling 'victorious' today?

Posted by: Captain Toke

You know, I don't think you're stupid, but you apparently have very different ideas about how human nature works than everyone else here except for Fred, joe and maybe Ron. You haven't really explained it in previous threads about this topic, but maybe you just didn't notice.

Your assessment is correct — the destruction wouldn't have happened if Hezbollah hadn't been where it was, blah blah blah blah blah. And in an ideal world, if Lebanese were Vulcans or Economics majors or some other species unencumbered by quaint weaknesses like concepts of honor or nationalism, they would realize it and turn on Hezbollah and we'd all be better off.

However, that's not the world we live in. Lebanese civilians are not like that, nor is almost anyone else. "My country, right or wrong" is not just a Lebanese expression. When attacked by a foreign army, it was likely if not totally certain that Lebanon would close ranks and accept Hezbollah's help because they may be nuts, but dammit, they're our nuts! (Cue "Red Dawn" soundtrack).

Why did you not expect this to happen? Or if you did expect it, why did you think Israel should have ignored it when they made their plans?

Posted by: Cyrus | Aug 16, 2006 3:43:43 PM

You know, I don't think you're stupid

There's your first mistake.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Aug 16, 2006 3:45:19 PM

Tokie, you're infinitely richer than the owner of a pile of rubble in southern Lebanon or the Gaza Strip. You live on less than $2 a day?

If they choose not to sacrifice now, they will pay later

I'm not sure you fully understand what "sacrifice" means. We haven't had to sacrifice anything in America since Vietnam (with the draft) or WWII (the real sacrifice, with rations, etc.) Even then, we've never had to stare at entire villages that have been leveled, and start from scratch. It's a lot easier to type S-A-C-R-F-I-C-E than to refuse immediate relief for a vague, nebulous goal in the future that may not even pan out.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was some sort of "honest broker" in the region that can be tough on Hezbollah (keeping them from incursions into Israel) and make sure that Israel doesn't over-react (leading to the destruction of non-Hezbollah controlled areas)?

Posted by: verplanck colvin | Aug 16, 2006 3:47:23 PM

First off, if the UN had enforced 1559, Hezbollah would not have been able to attack Israel. The latest resolution has already fallen apart. The UN peacekeepers said they will not disarm Hezbollah and the Lebanese army said it will not disarm Hezbollah. As Fred has stated, the middle east is littered with cease fires, peace agreements and UN resolutions that have failed.

"I'm not sure you fully understand what "sacrifice" means."

I think it would be similar to what our founding fathers went thru. Sacrificing everything you have to not live under tyranny. I guess the Lebanese people aren't ready to make that sacrifice.

"Wouldn't it be nice if there was some sort of "honest broker" in the region that can be tough on Hezbollah (keeping them from incursions into Israel) and make sure that Israel doesn't over-react (leading to the destruction of non-Hezbollah controlled areas)?"

I thought that was the role of the UN. I know the UN is a complete and total failure, but it is the Left in this country and Europe who contends the UN is useful.

If you are insinuating the US should be an "honest broker", why? Israel is our ally. Lebanon supports Hezbollah. Hezbollah is Israel's enemy and our enemy. Why would we treat those two groups equally? Why would we treat any nation(Lebanon, Palestine, etc.) that supports terrorists the same as we treat an ally?

Remember on 9/11, all them Palestinians dancing in the streets and handing out candy to future terrorists in celebration of 3,000 dead American civilians?

Honest broker?

Posted by: Captain Toke | Aug 16, 2006 4:24:24 PM

The Ameican Revolution did not happen in "an ideal world". It appeared to many to be a lost cause. There was no way a colony was going to defeat the British military. Thousands of Americans died.

But our founding fathers chose to sacrifice everything rather than live under tyranical rule.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Aug 16, 2006 4:29:49 PM

The Ameican Revolution did not happen in "an ideal world". It appeared to many to be a lost cause. There was no way a colony was going to defeat the British military. Thousands of Americans died.

But our founding fathers chose to sacrifice everything rather than live under tyranical rule.

Marmalade balderdash Commie hacker street champ!

I assume this post about the "Ameican" Revolution was addressed at me just because of the repetition of the "an ideal world" bit, but if it's meant to have anything to do with my questions or anything else about the current situation, I guess I'm too thick to see how. Hezbollah's support in Lebanon is apparently growing. Why did you not expect this to happen? Or if you did expect it, do you think it's good? If not, why did you think Israel should have ignored its likelihood when they made their plans?

Posted by: Cyrus | Aug 16, 2006 5:21:36 PM

The UN troops are designated "Peacekeepers".

They work to keep peace once the shooting has stopped.
Stopping ongoing conflict isn't in their mandate : it's considered impractical. Maybe they know something. Korea could have had something to do with that. Vietnam should have.

UN supporters are Lefties ? More vapid innuendo, please !

Posted by: opit | Aug 17, 2006 12:06:44 AM

If Hezbollah had not attacked Israel in the first place, today the Lebanese people would be going to work, going to school, going out to eat, playing at the playground, just living a normal life.

Yes, indeedy - if Hezbollah hadn't attacked an Israeli patrol in Lebanon or captured a couple of Israeli soldiers, the war wouldn't have happened.

Of course, Israel didn't have any choice but to bomb the shit out of Lebanese villages in response. When it comes to results which involve s thousand people dying, Israel lacks all moral agency and therefore can never ever be blamed. There is no way that any sane person could ever say that Israel shares (or, indeed, bears the lion's share) of the blame for the dead.

it's all the fault of those dirty sand niggers.

Posted by: Phoenician in a time of Romans | Aug 17, 2006 1:11:35 AM

gee captain joke, do you have the day off from McDonald's or something?

Posted by: merlallen | Aug 17, 2006 8:56:44 AM

PIATOR,

Please, don't call them that. Use "macaca" instead. It's French, and therefore more pleasing to the ear when refering to those people.

Posted by: verplanck colvin | Aug 17, 2006 10:01:42 AM

The point is Cyrus, is that the Lebanese people have a choice to make: A) Allow Hezbollah to use them as shields whenever they attack Israel B)Make a sacrifice and do what they have to to oust Hezbollah. If they want to do it the way the French did in WWII, or they want to take to the street and protest, or whatever. If they do nothing, they will be Hexbollah's human shields.

"The UN troops are designated "Peacekeepers".

They work to keep peace once the shooting has stopped."

The UN res 1559 calls for the disarming of Hezbollah. Lebanon said they won't do it. It is a mandate of the UN that Hezbollah be disarmed. That is how the peace will be kept.

If lebanon or the UN won't do it, Israel will have to try again in the near future.

"Yes, indeedy - if Hezbollah hadn't attacked an Israeli patrol in Lebanon or captured a couple of Israeli soldiers, the war wouldn't have happened."

Israel left Lebanon in 2000. Hezbollah crossed the border, killed 8 soldiers and kidnapped 2. Then Hezbollah launched a barrage of Katusha rockets on northern Israel. Hezbollah had been sporadically lobbing rockets at Israel sinse Israel left Lebanon.

Are you in your sailor si\uit this morning merl?

Posted by: Captain Toke | Aug 17, 2006 10:52:50 AM

Israel left Lebanon in 2000. Hezbollah crossed the border, killed 8 soldiers and kidnapped 2. Then Hezbollah launched a barrage of Katusha rockets on northern Israel. Hezbollah had been sporadically lobbing rockets at Israel sinse Israel left Lebanon.

Mea culpa.

I was confusing the eight Israeli soldiers attacked inside Israel with the five Israeli soldiers "attacked" inside the Lebanon on the same day. So much for leaving in 2000, right?

It's also worth noting the motives for capturing Israeli prisoners - because Israel is holding Lebanonese prisoners, indefinitely. Done by both sides in the past, and not a violation of the laws of war.

From Al Jazeerah:

"Hezbollah abducted three IDF soldiers during an October 2000 attack in Shebaa Farms, and sought to obtain the release of 14 Lebanese prisoners, some of whom had been held since 1978. On January 25, 2004, Hezbollah and Israel agreed on an exchange of prisoners. The prisoner swap was carried out on January 29: 30 Lebanese and Arab prisoners, the remains of 60 Lebanese militants and civilians, 420 Palestinian prisoners, and maps showing Israeli mines in South Lebanon were exchanged for an Israeli businessman and army reserve colonel kidnapped in 2001 and the remains of the three IOF (The Israeli Occupation Forces) soldiers mentioned above."

Let's see - there's no problem when Israel targets Arab leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah for death, but it's a moral outrage when Arabs target Israeli soldiers for attack. Israel is justified in murdering 1000 Lebanonese because of two Israelis held prisoner. But before this, Israel was holding, well, *hundreds* of Lebanese prisoner. Hmmm... - Arab lives don't count?

Posted by: Phoenician in a time of Romans | Aug 17, 2006 6:35:20 PM

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