January 28, 2008

The IDF's Alarm Clock?

Can Israelis Learn from Hassan Nasrallah? That's what Guy Bechor thinks. (Thanks, TG)

We should also be thanking Nasrallah for teaching us his psychological warfare tactics: At first, we fell into the trap, yet because he used them so much, we learned to recognize them, until they became almost transparent in the eyes of our public. Because he used them so much, we became immune to them. Now they haunt him, by presenting his real, cruel face: A cleric who trades in body parts.

We shall thank Nasrallah for making it clear to our army how irrelevant it has become in face of the upcoming threats. Thanks to the last war, the army again grew stronger, or so we shall hope. Nasrallah and his Shiites involuntarily became the IDF’s alarm clock, as well as our whole society’s alarm clock.

Just like a strict guide, Nasrallah is imparting these lessons little by little, gradually, so we have enough time to digest them, so we learn the lesson well, and so we finally really join the Middle East and its rules. We had painful losses as a result of this lesson, but we learned the lesson. There is no need for commissions of inquiry. The public understood.

And this is the great irony: The man who introduced the term “spider web” to describe the weakness of Israeli society has become the man who now teaches the Israelis how to shake off this spider web and how to gain strength again.

If it wasn’t for Nasrallah, and with the bogus “end of the conflict” sense that reigned supreme here until recently, where would be we today in the great Mideastern competition for survival?

Meanwhile, in Beirut, street violence threatens to spiral out of control if community leaders don't get their people off the streets.*

BEIRUT, Jan. 27 -- Protesters angry about electricity rationing clashed with Lebanese troops Sunday in Beirut's worst riots in a year, leaving seven people dead, hospital and security officials said.

Hundreds of Shiite Muslims opposed to the government rioted and burned tires, blocking some major roads in the Lebanese capital and its southern suburbs.

Lebanese soldiers fired into the air to disperse the crowd, but it was unclear how the deaths occurred and whether the soldiers also intentionally fired on civilians.

The army said it was investigating, and Lebanese TV stations reported that unknown snipers might have been involved in an attempt to inflame the disturbances.

It was the Beirut area's worst rioting since clashes between Sunnis and Shiites at a university cafeteria in January 2007 left four people dead.

The fighting Sunday erupted near the former demarcation line between Christian and Muslim areas during the civil war.

More here. And here.

*"Community Leaders" is Abu Muqawama's newest phrase to describe the sectarian leaders who rule Lebanon's individual communities and range from unrepentant warlords to former war criminals to otherwise decent men caught up in the world's most infuriating form of government.

P.S. You know we steer clear of Israel-Palestine, but this item is a little amusing. The folks at Commentary's Contentions blog scream bloody murder whenever anyone mentions the Walt-Mearsheimer "Israel Lobby" thesis. But then Noah Pollack, in his bizarre attack on Barack Obama for seeking the advice of Harvard's Samantha Power (basically the world's leading expert on genocide), has this to say: "As Samantha Power herself acknowledged, there is “a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import” that would like to know where Obama stands on these matters." Oops! Noah, you can't rake someone over the coals for claiming the Israel Lobby exists and then threaten them with the mythical Lobby itself. (Note: Abu Muqawama does not endorse or refute the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis. He just thinks Noah Pollack's internal inconsistencies are highly amusing.)