Monday, July 17, 2006

Moi A Puppet ?

In the current war, Iran and Syria are helping Hezbollah, and Hezbollah is coordinating with Hamas. Many conservatives (e.g. Michael Ledeen, David Brooks and many others) want to go on to advance 5 further claims:

1) Iran has conducted a semi-hostile takeover of the Palestinian cause.
2) Hezbollah is already a totally owned subsidiary of Iran.
3) The prime mover of the insurgency in Iraq is the Iranian mullahcracy.
4) Since Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran are all jihadists, they have begun this war with no interest other than escalation and genocide.
5) Iran is at war with the US and the only way to win the war is for the US to overthrow the regimes in Damascus and Tehran.

Very little evidence is given for 1) or 3). As for the second thesis, the view is far from obvious. First, there is the problem of Syria. No one claims Syria is a jihadist state. Syria is indeed an ally of Iran. Is Syria controlled by Iran? Except for Michael Ledeen, I have not seen that claim made even by the hawks at Debka. Every time there was trouble in Lebanon, Israel blamed Syria, not Iran. Israel says Syria can reign in Hezbollah. If Syria is still independent, are there two states that control Hezbollah? Does Hezbollah itself have anything to say, or is it a cipher, a mere puppet of somebody else?

The New York Times in its news columns (7/16) has put forth a modified view. ‘‘Hezbollah’s move serves the interest of Iran and Syria. Their relationship is so opaque that few would suggest that Syria or Iran can issue direct orders to Hezbollah. But the links are strong, with Iran providing SUBSTANTIAL financial assistance and weapons, while Syria provides logistical help as well as political backing.” The article goes on to explain how Hezbollah has 3500 active supporters and 300 hard core guerrillas trained by the Iranians. With generous backing from Iran, they have established an extensive social welfare network in South Lebanon. “Intelligence estimates …suggest that Iran subsidizes Hezbollah with $100 million to $200 million annually.”

The Times attributes different motives to the puppeteers, other than genocidal jihad against Israel.
1) Iran wants to prove that if the West tries to get tough with them (over the nuclear issue?), there is a cost to the West. Hezbollah will cause trouble.
2) Syria is following its traditional policy of stirring up trouble whenever they feel marginalized or ignored, so that the great powers will come knocking.
3) Iran and Syria are part of a “Shiite” axis that also includes the Iraqi Shiites, Hezbollah and Hamas. The axis is trying to establish predominance over Arab public opinion and gain influence in Sunni countries. (The axis is “Shiite” even though two of its five members Syria and the Palestinians are not Shia. The Palestinians are largely secular.)
4) Syria has an interest in using Hezbollah to defy the central Lebanese authority, and prevent the Lebanese state from consolidating its newfound independence from Syria

The Times asserts Hezbollah has its own interests and motives.
5) It wants to remind everyone that even though it has 13 deputies in the Lebanese Parliament, it is also an independent regional player.
6) Hezbollah wants to retain its weapons, and not give them up to the centralized Lebanese government. Hezbollah must use these weapons or they will ultimately be forced to surrender them.
7) Hezbollah is claiming a RELIGIOUS leadership because of its active opposition to Israel, a position not open to other non-combatant Sunni leaders.

I point out that reasons #2, #3, #5 and #7 are issues dealing with status, self- importance and the need to be recognized as powerful. I also point out all seven explanations are normal interests of states and organizations, and can’t be described as fanatical as such. The Shiite tactic of martyrdom is an example of fanaticism. The immediate goals of the various members of the axis appear self interested. Their fanaticism can be seen in their over the top rhetoric, and their long term goal of eliminating Israel.

Conservatives in America want to claim the final address for the current problems in the Middle East is in Teheran with the mullahs. They also believe if we would overthrow the Iranian regime, the region as a whole could be pushed to democracy. As with all such claims there are two relevant questions one must always ask: Are there any ulterior motives involved? Are the claims true?

Remember, the conservatives don’t need a Shiite axis of evil theory to justify taking out Teheran’s nuclear capability. The entire argument that all the bad guys are puppets of the ayatollahs is needed only to justify a US invasion and occupation of Syria and Iran.


At 3:09 PM, Blogger LitaLives said...

Do I understand correctly that you think the world will be a better place with a nuclear Iran?

Was it a coincidence that Iranian Palace Guards were manning the missle that hit an Israeli missle ship?

Why is your thinking any different than Ehud Barak's who ran out of Lebanon with his tail between his legs?

I think there comes a time when one must face up to the fact that there is real unadulterated evil in this world & we must deal with it. Burying our head in the sand & hoping it will go away just doesn't work.


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