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Wednesday, July 19, 2006


"Diplomacy" in the Middle East

Here's a sub-head (not online) from the San Jose Mercury News coverage of the war in Lebanon:
Diplomacy: U.S. has limited leverage with Syria, Iran to rein in Hezbollah
Gee, there seems to be a country that the U.S. has considerable leverage with that got left out of that headline. Hmm, let me think who that might be...

Another article in the same paper is more on the mark. The New York Times, from whence the article originates, runs this headline:

U.S. Appears to Be Waiting to Act on Israeli Airstrikes
But the Mercury News (again, not online there, it appears the New York Times has new restrictions on such things) has it even more accurately:
U.S.-Israeli strategy: Target Hezbollah for another week
The Tour de France is in progress right now. One of the strategies in bike racing which you sometimes see in the Tour is the block -- one member of the team breaks away, and the rest of the team goes to the front of the pack and deliberately rides slowly, blocking the rest of the teams from chasing and allowing the breakaway to get further up the road.

And this is precisely what is happening now, with two members of the same "team" (the U.S. and Israel) working to break not just Hezbollah but the resistance of the Palestinian people and the Arab masses as a whole to U.S.-Israeli domination of the region. Indeed, this strategy is more or less openly acknowledged:

The outlines of an American-Israeli consensus began to emerge on Tuesday, in which Israel would continue to bombard Lebanon for another week or so to degrade the capabilities of the Hezbollah militia, officials of the two countries said.

Then, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would go to the region and seek to establish a buffer zone in southern Lebanon, and perhaps an international force to monitor Lebanon’s borders and prevent Hezbollah from obtaining more rockets for bombarding Israel.

Beyond the desire to give Israel time to weaken Hezbollah militarily, administration officials said Ms. Rice should not go to the region until she can actually produce results.
Note that, in this scenario, Rice is not acting as some kind of neutral person practicing "diplomacy," but very much as a member of the U.S./Israeli "team" to accomplish that team's aims.

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