Lebanon

Mixed Bag in the Middle East

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As usual, both good and bad news from the Middle East. The good news, from Gaza, is that Palestinians are fast losing patience with their fundamentalist government, with a majority saying that Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah Party is the "legitimate Palestinian ruling authority." Perhaps Israeli (and Western) assistance to Fatah has had its desired effect, though it seems much more likely that, as this Near East Consulting poll suggests, Palestinians simply don't like being bullied by government thugs ("58 percent of respondents said they are now afraid to express their political views following the Hamas takeover, and 60 percent say Hamas' paramilitary police, known as the Executive Force, has done a poor job respecting individual rights.) From the AP, via the International Herald Tribune:

Most residents of the Gaza Strip are afraid to openly express their political views following Hamas' takeover of the area in June, according to a poll released Wednesday, the latest sign of public discontent with Gaza's Islamic militant rulers.

The poll found that a majority of Gazans oppose rocket attacks on Israel, favor a peace agreement with the Jewish state, and do not consider the Hamas authority in Gaza to be the legitimate Palestinian government. It also concluded that Hamas would lose elections if a new vote were held today.

And now for the bad news: The AP reports that one year after the Israel's war with Hezbollah the Iran-backed fundamentalist group has "regained strength" and is now "solidly entrenched across southern Lebanon":

When 30,000 U.N. and Lebanese troops deployed across southern Lebanon at the end of last year's Israel-Hezbollah war, the Islamic militant group's presence shrank in the zone bordering Israeli and its influence seemed likely to diminish as well.

But more than a year later, Hezbollah appears to again be solidly entrenched across Lebanon's south—looking, in fact, as if its fighters never really left but merely went underground.

The Shiite militia's banners hang everywhere, boasting of the "divine victory" over Israel and thanking its chief sponsor, Shiite-majority Iran, for helping with post-war reconstruction. Villagers report the militia's recruitment of young men is booming and its popularity is firm.

Full story here.

reason's Beirut-based contributing editor Michael Young James Joyner on why Israel failed in its 2006 war against Hezbollah. 

NEXT: Oh, Just Give Up—It's Good for Your Health

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  1. 58 percent of respondents said they are now afraid to express their political views following the Hamas takeover, and 60 percent say Hamas’ paramilitary police, known as the Executive Force, has done a poor job respecting individual rights.

    Cash and prizes for whoever is the first to find a pro-War-on-Drugs politician condemn Hamas today…

  2. New news on medical marijauna in California – Oaklander who made pot candy to be tried in federal court and of course the jury won’t be told it was medicinal.

    from SF Gate:

    http://tinyurl.com/2mftdg

  3. Will any Israel Hawks offer a mea culpa for censuring the Palestinians’ democratically elected government and say, “You were right” to those that said, “Let it run its course and the Pals will run back to Fatah”?

  4. Will any Israel Hawks offer a mea culpa for censuring the Palestinians’ democratically elected government and say, “You were right” to those that said, “Let it run its course and the Pals will run back to Fatah”?

    Mo, do you beleive that Hizbollah will peacably relinquish power after an election? Just asking.

  5. Make that Hamas vice Hizbollah. I’d temporalily misplaced ny scorecard.

  6. Palestinians simply don’t like being bullied by government thugs

    Since when? They didn’t seem to mind much when it was Arafat’s thugs.

    Will any Israel Hawks offer a mea culpa for censuring the Palestinians’ democratically elected government and say, “You were right” to those that said, “Let it run its course and the Pals will run back to Fatah”?

    Before anyone offers a mea culpa, perhaps an estimate of how many were killed, beaten, imprisoned, or exiled by the “democratically elected” Hamas government for political or religious reasons?

  7. But more than a year later, Hezbollah appears to again be solidly entrenched across Lebanon’s south – looking, in fact, as if its fighters never really left but merely went underground.

    Gosh, who could have foreseen that the tremendous international pressure on Israel to stop its offensive before Hezbollah was terminally damaged could have led to the resurgence of Hezbollah?

  8. I think the international pressure on Israel was not so much to get them to “stop its offensive before Hezbollah was terminally damaged” as it was meant to stop Israel from killing thousands more civilians who had nothing to do with Hizbollah. And hey, RC, on the subject of things that strengthen Hizbollah, there was no Hizbollah until Israel invaded Lebanon on a previous occasion(it’s a common thing with them to invade other nations). Israel’s belligerence creates more problems for everyone involved, including Israel…

  9. Screw the Middle East. I can’t wait until we get off oil so we can leave all of them to fight their stupid little medieval tribal/religious wars.

  10. Screw the Middle East. I can’t wait until we get off oil so we can leave all of them to fight their stupid little medieval tribal/religious wars.

    Hear hear!

  11. Cesar-that would be nice, but we certainy don’t involve ourselves in Israel’s battles with Lebanon and Palestine because of oil as there is very little oil in Israel or Lebanon (unless you count not wanting such conflict to “spill over” into oil rich nations). We do it partly because we (partially rightly I think) sympathize with the relatively democratic and liberal society that Israel is and religious reasons (which I think are nutso). That would not go away if we became oil independent 2morrow.

  12. federal court and of course the jury won’t be told it was medicinal.

    Is it possible because it wasn’t?

  13. federal court and of course the jury won’t be told it was medicinal.

    Is it possible because it wasn’t?

    Good one, Captain Wrongthread 😉

  14. Gosh, who could have foreseen that the tremendous international pressure on Israel to stop its offensive before Hezbollah was terminally damaged could have led to the resurgence of Hezbollah?

    Every failed war, the same meatheads learn the same lesson:

    We were THAT close!

    Yup, Hezbollah was just about to crumble, but you know how sensitive the Israeli govenrment is to international pressure.

    How’s that democracy movement in Lebanon, anyway?

  15. And now for the bad news: The AP reports that one year after the Israel’s war with Hezbollah the Iran-backed fundamentalist group has “regained strength” and is now “solidly entrenched across southern Lebanon”:

    Could be, at least, partial good news if they act as a disincentive vis a vis the Israeli military invading again, or bad news they act as an incentive to invade (on our money-definitely bad news!).

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