July 24, 2006


The current madness in the middle east came so fast and stays so furious it's difficult to make heads or tails over what is happening. It is one particular question though keeps echoing through my head: just who gains from all this violence?

Clearly the peace loving people in Lebanon, which I believe is a hefty majority of the country, loose big time. They made a tacit gamble, that it was acceptable to leave Hezbollah in control of the southern portion of the country in exchange for being able to rebuild their country in peace. Israel now has made it quite clear that this is unacceptable in their eyes.

Just how Hezbollah comes out of this one remains to be seen. They may well come out stronger and more popular than ever, or they might come out depleted and with less support. Only time can answer this one really. But if reports of their fighting strength and extensive financial network are true they very may well come out looking pretty good and in position to rebound and keep growing.

How the Palestinians figure in this is utterly up in the air, they've practically disappeared from the news.

If the numbers thrown about claiming that 90% of Israelis support the recent actions in Lebanon, than clearly most Israelis think they will come out the better from this mess. But just how does destabilizing a neighboring country help the people of Israel? How does showing to the world a willingness to attack civilian targets on a large scale help the people of Israel? Even if they manage to practically eliminate Hezbollah and their rockets, which looking increasingly unlikely, I can't see this helping the people of Israel out in the long run.

So who gains? There is one very clear winner in all of this and that is the Israeli military. Or as much as I hate the term, what might be best called the Israeli military industrial complex, which I should note must include the military's supporters in the government. For while the people of Israel have plenty to gain from somehow reaching a state of peace, the military has almost nothing to gain. By bombing Lebanon into a state of chaos, the military is almost certain to win. The country will stay turbulent enough to be scary, yet unstable enough to be a serious military threat. Even if Hezbollah hands the Israeli's their asses on a platter, which just might be happening as I write this, the military walks away with ammunition for even more funding. Unless Hezbollah somehow has reached the capability of actually invading Israel, the military is in the sort of win no matter how the cards situation that intelligence agencies have abused for decades. If they fail it is because they are underfunded, if they win they have done a good job and deserve more funding.

A stable Lebanon on the other hand poses a double sided threat to the military. On one edge it might rebound enough to actually build a serious military. On the other edge it might rebound enough to begin creating strong enough economic exchanges with Israel that actual peace might develop. And very little could threaten the perpetuation of a strong and intensely funded Israeli military more than actual peace.

Posted by Abe at July 24, 2006 09:13 PM

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